Adulting is hard.
I’m not sure when the word “adult” became a verb, but I saw it on the internet so it must be true.
There’s a certain point in life — at least in my life — when I get overwhelmed and want to step back and let my brain coast for awhile.
My daughter was out of town with family over the long weekend, and I dog-sat for her father’s tiny little beagle. She stands under a foot tall — the dog, not my daughter, although she is vertically challenged as well — and is no spring chicken.
Suzie (the dog) doesn’t do a whole lot but nap and sniff everything within reach. She’s never been terribly good at being a beagle; she’s afraid of birds, rabbits, butterflies, some flowers, you get the idea. So Suzie and my sister and I were binge watching a show on Netflix called “I Am A Killer.”
It’s about people on death row, and the focus is on all sides of the story — from the killer, the victim’s family, the prosecution, the killer’s family.
The first show in the series really struck me. The man, James Robertson, was unapologetically guilty. He was a hoodlum with over 150 infractions in his life. He was in his 40s, I believe.
He was tired of being in solitary confinement, so he killed his cellmate so he could go to death row. “I don’t feel bad about it,” he said to the camera, and then laughed.
He wanted to be on death row, because the food was better, the treatment of inmates was better, he would get more time out of his cell and he was safer there as he got older.
Better treatment on death row.
I have thought about that a great deal.
I was in line at the pharmacy behind a senior citizen recently. She was lamenting the $198 bill for her medication. She had bare essentials of
groceries in her cart. Bread, milk, cereal — all generic brands.
I’m sure her income is stretched to its breaking point, with utilities, food, medications. I found myself hoping she has a library card, to at least be able to have some form of entertainment.
And that made me think we’re doing this wrong.
Maybe we need to take these inmates off death row and have them live as senior citizens, with a small monthly stipend, a bare minimum of food and force them to pay out of their own pockets for essentials. Call it a “gated community.”
We could house our senior citizens in an all-expense paid “death row,” where they would be safe, well fed, have medical care and have someone else to take care of things like heat, electricity, maintenance and lawn care.
Now obviously that’s an oversimplification, and I’m sure not advocating locking up senior citizens.
But doesn’t it make you think?
So many things make me scratch my head. Politicians who give passionate speeches about why “the people” shouldn’t have guns climb down off the stage and leave with their armed security. Hollywood stars praise the benefits of socialism, yet aren’t passing their wealth around to be shared.
And all the keyboard warriors who cry foul at the oil and gas industry, yet use products containing petroleum, like dresses, perfumes, nail polish, antihistamines, shoes, deodorant, roofing, toilet seats, trash bags, shampoo, cameras, motor oil, gasoline, etc.
Don’t even get me started on the cigarette smokers who throw their butts on the ground with impunity, but rant about plastic straws ruining the environment.
That show about killers gave me a lot to think about. But for Suzie? It mostly just made her tired.
She doesn’t concern herself about such things, preferring a Scarlet O’Hara approach — “fiddle dee dee” and give me attention.
I don’t know what the right approach is, but for the weekend at least, I found Suzie’s approach to be just what the doctor ordered. Although I could have done without her stealing the pillows in the middle of the night.
(Schellhammer is the Era’s assistant managing editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)