I just wrote a column with the title “The Winter of Our Discontent.” It had references to Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Bertha Bumiller and Regina Giddens, but it was just a little dark. Okay, it was very dark. I realized I had to rethink it when I found myself threatening to pull a Cher to slap someone out of it. And this near to Christmas. (Well, at least I saved the Bertha reference.)
Remembering that I had written a column last year titled “We Need a Little Christmas Now,” I pulled it up to see what was column-worthy a year ago. And you know what it was? Starbucks cups, combined with some references to Auntie Mame. Just a soufflé of a column.
But we’re not feeling very soufflé today. (Say that aloud and pause between the last two words to get the full gay line reading.) We’re all just a bit—discontented. A national epidemic of the blues.
Let’s break it down. Discontent is not unhappiness. It’s not losing your job, or your boyfriend, or your dog (not necessarily in order of importance). It is anxiety mixed with desire, the feeling that one isn’t going to get something one wants or is going to lose something one has. And when it is something to which one feels entitled, it’s even worse.
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump fed their supporters a healthy serving of discontent in virtually every campaign appearance they made. Several times, Trump even threw some of his excess discontent to the Bernie bots, reminding them that the system was rigged against their guy, too. Now the Clinton supporters are getting their serving of discontent along with the Sanders crowd, although I think the two groups are sitting at opposite ends of the school cafeteria.
To be sure, some of the Trump voters are discontent, too, although they only talk about it in hushed tones. “He has neither the integrity nor the dignity for the office.” Oh, my. I heard those exact words from someone who voted for him (anyway) and the same sentiment in different words from many others.
Of course, the true Trump supporters seem to be as happy as clams in butter sauce. I’ve never understood that expression—aren’t clams in butter sauce about to be served up? Well, maybe it does fit after all.
But, you know, those who fought to gain the very rights that are at risk might not have much empathy for a bunch of folks knocked down by a man with a big ego and little hands. Those who went through lynchings, police dogs, fire hoses, sexual assaults in the workplace (and every place), gay bashings, and AIDS, might look at him as just another in a long line of adversaries. They might think that struggling to keep what you have is better than fighting to get what you need. I don’t think they would be pulling a bubble wrap blanket over their heads. Do you?
So buck up, Buttercup. It’s Christmas, for heaven’s sake, and there’s no better time to get on with it. Put on your Sunday clothes (if you still have them) and a fresh face of makeup. Watch “Hello, Dolly!” Put on your own personal favorite musical number and “lip sync for your life,” while dancing and prancing around your living room like gay reindeer in a Broadway chorus. My personal choice is to shake my blues away with Ann Miller. Try Annie. She’ll make you feel like a new man. Or a new woman. Or whatever new you choose.