76 – old enough not to give a damn what anyone else thinks of his ideas and expressions of those ideas. That time in 1960 when one of your older brother’s high school friends was pregnant and everyone in town knew it. Dropped out of school. Just before graduation. To have the baby. Never finished high school or went to college.

Punishment for having premarital sex. That’s what I heard at any rate. The real problem wasn’t the baby. It was her immorality. It was that she was a fallen woman at 18. She sinned and fell short of the Glory of God. Back in the dark ages before women (especially popular white girls whose parents were decent upstanding Christians and part of the ruling class of a small farwest Nebraska city) had the right to care for their own bodies and minds. The father probably grew up to be mayor of the city. Never knew who he was. No one knew or cared what a sinner he was. Probably because he was her uncle or cousin or her father’s best friend.

But now in Texas we’re making sure that sort of thing never happens again. Teen pregnancy, that is. We’re rounding up and arresting all the men who have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. That’ll teach them not to fuck before they’re married. Especially if the woman doesn’t want to be fucked.

Time warp. “Ahead to the past.” Shouldn’t that be a movie? Where is Michael J. Fox when we need him? Need him to lead us back to that time when those Mexicans sneaking into our great nation and black folks who were born here and Asian Americans and Muslims and lots of other people were truly second (or third) class citizens. Laws designed to keep them from voting. And laws to terrify 14-year-old boys like me that someone – anyone – would figure out we wanted to fuck boys instead of girls. Or knew that horribly sinful word!!!

Somehow those good Christian white straight Nebraska folks never read what their Apostle Paul wrote. “. . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In the third chapter of his 40 or 50 B.C.E. letter to a bunch of his friends in Rome. And then there is the unscientific religious belief that a sperm cell united with an ovum is a human being. A belief intended to subjugate women who think it’s an absurd stretch of the imagination. No way of knowing for sure, but the folks who believe two cells make a human being and must not die are perhaps the same folks who don’t want their kids to wear masks at school so they have a chance to die.

So all of these fragments of ideas are chasing after each other in circles in my brain instead of the great ideas I should be thinking about. You know. How to find my cat’s favorite food. How to get my driver’s license renewed. Where I’ll get my beard trimmed wearing a mask. How to save the last remnants of our democracy. And rid Texas – and soon other states – from bounty hunters. Turning in women and doctors for $10,000 of my tax money. I think we have to go “ahead to the past” pretty far to arrive at the point that bounty hunters were our lawwomen and lawmen.

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