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Stinking and exploding


Talk about your emotional swings.
In just 10 days, I went from the elation of the Cubs winning the World Series to the deep depression of the election of Donald Trump.
This week’s column was going to be about my earliest days of fandom for the loveable losers. I even started writing it before Tuesday:
Dave (Buzz) Buzello and I were as a thick as thieves in our preteens.
He lived a half-dozen houses down the street. Our mutual life’s goal was to discover a secret formula that would either: A.) Stink to high heaven or B.) Explode.
Compounds and elements had to come from the various liquids and powders found about the house, augmented by an assortment of neatly labeled bottles in our chemistry sets. We tried being methodical about it. What would happen if you mixed 1/2 cup Lysol with a teaspoon of Ipana and then added a drip of Worcestershire sauce? What if we used a drip of Old Spice After Shave instead of the sauce? An aspirin?
We soon tired of that small ball approach and started swinging for the fences. Engine oil mixed with Alka-Seltzer, peanut butter, lemon and a pinch from bottle 48 of our Lionel-Porter Chemcraft set, magnesium sulfide.
Did you know they don’t make chemistry sets like they did in the 1960s? It’s true. The government started looking into it and decided it was not a good idea for kids to be given vials of Ammonium and Nitrate. Besides making a good fertilizer, they could be combined to make a bomb.
After “mad sciencing,” our other favorite pastime was the Chicago Cubs.
If we weren’t watching the game together on the television, we were listening to it out in the yard on a transistor radio. It was the era of Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and the College of Coaches. Our hope was unbounded, how could we know we were smack in the middle of the worst drought?
Our favorite, by far, was Ernie Banks. He was a great player and we loved his attitude. He rarely, if ever, argued an umpire’s call and was always ready to play two today.
But that’s as far as I got, before I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to check on the election.
Hillary Clinton was far removed from my first choice for the presidency. The single biggest problem this country faces is the money in politics. It’s why our health care system is so expensive, for example. The health industries control the votes via humungous donations to our representatives on both sides of the aisle.
It’s also why our planet is careening towards a cataclysm as the coal and oil industries fight tooth, nail and donation to keep their share of the pie. Between her and her husband, I read, the Clintons raised more than a billion dollars to fund their various campaigns.
We had one candidate that fit the bill: Bernie Sanders. He wasn’t taking the money and campaign reform was at the top of his list of things to get done. But he lost to Clinton and then the specter of Trump as president drove me to pinch my nose and vote for Clinton.
In theory, Donald Trump could bring with him the same virtue as Sanders. A billionaire, at least that’s what he says, he could conceivably be above the corrupting influence of money. I almost considered him in the early days, but then he went on his string of women bashing, mocking the handicapped, being flippant about nuclear weapons, race baiting, fear mongering, and on and on. And, I suspect, he is the epitome of corruption.
I agreed with all four of our former presidents still living: he wasn’t ready to hold office. But, I went to bed Tuesday night fairly certain that the polls were correct and Clinton would be the next president. Not thrilled about it but the alternative was just too dangerous.
All I can do now is pray he turns into a different man and he doesn’t create something that stinks, or worse, explodes.