Former 2:24 marathoner, now in my late 40s and hoping to maximally flatten the curve of my slide into senescence and mediocrity • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on the sport of distance running since 1999 • Adviser and confidant of other perambulators • Paradoxical hater of exercise fanatics • Chihuahua whisperer Sentence-fragment impresario

Friday, February 8, 2019

My uncle the child molester is dead and other indicators of a wondrous cosmos

My mother grew up with two brothers and no sisters, which for you non-genealogists means I had two maternal uncles and no maternal aunts. I'm using the past tense because the younger of those two uncles recently died. I think he was 73. And he really was the "uncle with wandering hands" motherfucker of holiday horror-joke lore. Starting in 2001, he served a six-year sentence in the New Hampshire State Prison after his three children -- that is, my first cousins, who as you'd expect are all about my age -- learned from their own kids that my uncle had molested all eleven of them. In other words, my uncle went to prison for sexually abusing his eleven grandchildren after those kids became old enough to start reporting his behavior to their parents.

He was kind of a lifelong fuck-up even without this in the mix, so my mom was never especially close to him even though both of them never left New Hampshire. He and the mother of my cousins were divorced when I was very young (this is perhaps not a surprise given the various details already provided) and my dad used to take my sister and I used to visit my uncle, my three cousins, and whoever my uncle's new girlfriend was maybe once a month on weekends, about a 30-mile drive. We would do some things I liked, like play frisbee, and other things I didn't, like go fishing. I wish more fish were like sharks and ate the fuck out of folks. Anyway, my Uncle Fondle rented some little red shack in a place called East Sutton, which was and remains about as boonies at it gets. At one point he had a goat, which seemed cool at the time, but now who the fuck knows how that damn goat was treated and what it saw. He smoked pot that he grew himself (Uncle Fondle, not the goat) which a lot of people living out in the New Hampshire sticks did and continue to do, and it's funny to consider now that in the 1970s, this seemed the most deviant thing about him. They should be putting cannabinoids in the municipal fucking water supply by now. And this is really nothing to laugh about.

When my uncle went to prison 18 years ago, he did what a lot of convicted felons in a completely unremarkable non-coincidence do: He found God. He wrote a letter to my mom when he was about to get out, explaining this transformation and asking for her forgiveness. She ignored this, not only because she knew he was full of shit but also because even without his having sexually assaulted my mom's nieces and nephews in the mix (it's an operating principle -- albeit an unproven one -- that my uncle also molested his own kids, my cousins, when they were young), the two of them were never close to being close. And sure enough, my uncle got out and re-offended, although in this case he "only" exposed himself in public and hadn't yet touched anyone. He was old and sick in the last courtroom photo. Not someone to feel sorry for or much of anything about.

In some ways I'm pleased that people like this exist, because they represent one more piece of evidence that anyone who burbles about the existence of a deity that is both kind and all-powerful is belching obvious bullshit. If this argument weren't invariably coupled to "...therefore you must obey us," it wouldn't be so toxic, but it is, so it is. Anyone who has lived in the world for more than a couple of decades and blithely chalks up all the shit that flies in the face of the very concept of a conscious deity to "free will" or Satan or both should be hit in the head with a brick, paced under observation for 24 hours, and gently urinated on. The whole concept of the Christian skylord would be silly on its face even were the world mostly benign, but when you see someone effectively reducing himself to the level of a lower primate by trying to square the idea of cosmic benevolence with the untold number of evils that unfold thousands of times a day the world over, it really is enough to make me hunger for the annihilation of all of us. Blaming Satan or free will for horrific crimes perpetrated against innocent people is a categorical admission that "god" himself is either selectively (and perhaps entirely) incompetent or selectively (or perhaps entirely) evil. There is no third choice. It is therefore not surprising that the kind of people who howl in the most incoherent full-throated fuck-faced way about "sins" like homosexuality, porn and abortion are the most ignorant and hypocritical people in any community, just sacks of animated shitflesh that do nothing but gum of the works of a society that would be perilous enough without the extravagant breeding habits of these illiterate, innumerate, slack-jawed friggabouts.

(I'm obviously not out to impress believers with my kindness and acceptance of their worldview here, but like most realists, I really don't give a shit what kind of nonsense people adopt if it makes them feel better so long as they don't force it on others. I drank for a long time to deal with the reality of hating myself and my inability to see myself as fitting into this seven-billion-strong circus of idiocy, but I wouldn't advise it. If people want to reduce their emotional stress by downing snack cakes all day long, that's their absolute right, and I don't see any of them trying to mandate compulsive overeating. Evangelicals can't leave anyone alone, which is why the world would immediately become a better place if every one of them exploded at this moment. Actually, it would be neater if they simply vanished, but maybe the clean-up required after an explosion would force people to consider how less burdensome a place the world had become thanks to the simultaneous loss of millions of useless dipshits.)

In other heartwarming, anus-rending news, some shambles of a shitbag knocked the glass off my driver's side mirror the other night and kept on going, no note or anything. This is not a crisis, but when you're like me and continually riding a 9.7 or a 9.8 on a misanthropy scale of 10, it takes nothing to conclude that half of the population should be rounded up and shot and the rest beheaded, with whoever's in charge of enacting this punishment contractually obligated to inhale many cubic yards of cyanide gas in the immediate aftermath. One more thing I gotta do now because someone had to be a gigantic glistening turd, one shat violently from the lips of a pinworm-infected anus.

One can always offer the pointless and intermittently useful advice to "look at the bright side" and "focus on the positive." After all, this philosophy, believe it or not, is probably more prevalent among atheists than it is among religious clowns, who continually tie themselves in knots trying to explain why a cosmos allegedly overseen by a compassionate and in fact flawless god is overrun with problems, notably gays and lots of non-Christian people. If you accept that the reason some things suck is a simple combination of 1) bad luck 2) bad or unavoidable choices and 3) a bad attitude, you won't constantly have your face turned up to the sky imploring WHY IS ALL THIS SHIT SO FUCKED UP, SIR? Not that anyone I know is that extreme, to my knowledge, but it's fun to imagine it that way.

Today was my 100th consecutive day of running with Rosie. I admit to tacking on one or two second daily runs without her recently, but that's it, and I'm confident she hasn't done any solo training of her own on the sly.

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