A post by Teri Skultety

Don’t Have a Cow. I’m Sure Everything is Fine.

Okay, okay, okay, all right, alright…

We had a nice Thanksgiving this year. My son had plans, as your kids often will once they become adults, so it was just me and my husband. I made a twelve and a half pound bird with the notion in mind that I wouldn’t have to cook again until whenever. I made the complete feast. Again, big meal, a lot of good food for all week. I set the table. Make the most of it, I say. ( And it’s okay to be thankful and celebrate in the present, without celebrating, condoning, or making light of, the past.)

I had to throw out the very last piece of my birthday cake and I didn’t want to. That was really the best cake. That was the cake that there will never be another one like. But, that last piece, though wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated, had gone dry as muther-effin- bone, and so it had to go. There’s cherry pie now, that I am avoiding. Let’s face it, these are good problems to have.

Note here: Things I’ll never apologize for, enjoying whatever I can when things are going well and on the upswing, and neither should you. You don’t have to be a jerk about it when things are going well, but do not ever feel bad about it or guilty or any of that useless shite. Have you ever been down? Enjoy what you can while you can. Enough said.

As those following along may have noticed, I’ve been following the story of the protests at Standing Rock. I was thinking, what is it about this story that really got to me?

When I write, when I’m really into writing something, I tend to become immersed in it. I am capable, mentally, of shutting out the world and I can ensconce myself in day slipping into day after day of nothing but writing. I think that most of us live very much in our own worlds, whether we realize it or not. We tread the same paths over and over again ever day, interacting with most of the same people, at work, at school, at home. I am also capable of exhausting a subject, if something piques my interest, one track mind. I think that I was so immersed in my own work, in trying to get done what I’d set out to do, that nothing was getting in for a while. It was very, “What? An 8.9 earthquake in Myanmar? Didn’t even feel it.” I think that if you’re a scientist trying to cure cancer and you become obsessed with your work, oblivious to the outside world, people understand. If you’re “just a writer,” well, not so much. I’ve also had a lot on my plate the last few years in terms of trying to sort out not a few personal items post-nervous breakdown. No, really. So a lot of things were just rolling by me, like the passing countryside out the window, I got the gist of it, the general shape of the thing, but that was about it.

When I first saw something on twitter about the protestors at Standing Rock, it was likely sometime in September, 2016, and the situation had already been going on for well over a year with the protestors beginning to arrive in April, of this year, after the initial camp was set up by a woman named Ladonna Brave Bull Allard. ( Source 1, Source 2) I started researching, just googling, reading from a variety of sources, as I do. When I first learned that the pipeline was to go underneath the Missouri River, I looked up the Missouri River, my history being a little rusty and usually when I think big river in North America, I’m in Mississippi territory, or the Colorado, not up Lewis and Clark way. This is important too, because that’s “American History” which probably isn’t “Native American History.” Well, who wants to read all of that?

Can you look at a picture?

source wikipedia

The Missouri River is the longestย fresh water river in North America. Look at all of its tributaries. Look at there where it just hooks right up with the Mississippi River and scoots on down to The Gulf of Mexico.

This is what got me. I looked at these maps of these rivers and it seems obvious to me that putting a pipeline under what is pretty much the most important fresh water resource we have in the entire Continental U.S., just seems like not the brightest idea ever. I mean, they hardly ever leak, right? Except for this one, that just happened in September in Alabama when 250,000 gallons leaked and there’s this picture of this pond that turned brown from gasoline. Do you think you can drink that? I mean, how long would you have to boil that? Water purification tablets? I’m gonna guess, no. Have a look.

And that’s really what got me about this story, that’s what pulled me in. Common sense would seem to dictate that such an undertaking, putting a pipeline underneath the Missouri River, is in no way, shape, or form, worth the risk to the river and ecosystem. FRESH WATER IS LIFE. Do you have kids? I mean, what the hell are we doing? I just kept looking at that map of the Missouri River and thinking, what the hell?ย None of us can survive without clean, potable, water.

Then it became apparent that our mainstream news media hasn’t been and isn’t reporting on this story. ( Does This Look Like a News Story to You?)

I wonder if people can even grasp what it is that is happening. I fear that as greed and corruption devalue our money, our work, our labor, our land, our WATER, they will look for something else of value that they can trade with.

Will clean water be the new gold?

A lot of people do not like the book “Atlas Shrugged”, by Ayn Rand. Greed and corruption are the problems. If you can manage to listen to this and comprehend the meaning, it seems to be what is happening. The world is selling itself out from under itself in the name of greed, graft, corruption, favors, it is not the money itself that is evil.

What is happening is the product of corruption, of people trading FAVOR and FAVORS, and so and so on and so on.

That’s my opinion, at least.

โ€œMoney is the barometer of a societyโ€™s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsionโ€“when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothingโ€“when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favorsโ€“when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws donโ€™t protect you against them, but protect them against youโ€“when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrificeโ€“you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-lootโ€

โ€• Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged



But then what happens? Can you look at it anymore? Can you listen to it anymore? Can you let your heart be broken for even one more minute thinking that they’re going to run the protestors off of that land and they’re going to put that pipeline under that river?

It isn’t like they couldn’t re-route it. It isn’t like they couldn’t stop and say, “You know what, this endangers the water supply and we’re going to figure something else out.”

How much would you pay for a gallon of clean water to drink? How much would you pay for it if you had kids?

It breaks my heart.

Did you know that it is illegal to harvest rainwater in some states?


Flint, Michigan.

Then Carol Brady died. She was 82 and so what were we thinking? That she would always be there, with her strange, flipped-end mullet, and permanent smile, even though Mr. Brady turned out to be gay, and all the rest of it, Greg’s narcissism, Cindy’s lisp, Marcia’s unending perfection, would her nose be all right?, Peter’s voice changing, Bobby’s goofy charm and Jan, that wig was so not her.Well, maybe Alice is making a fresh pot of coffee and Sam just delivered a pot roast, so dinner’s on, “It’ll be ready in about twenty minutes, Mrs. Brady.” We thought she would always be there. Florence Henderson, was pretty rock and roll.


Then Detective Harris…

We wonder why so many celebrities and cultural icons have passed away this year, but it’s because so many of them are getting to be that age, our cultural parents are passing away, it’s what happens.

What does that mean for us? It means we’re getting older too. It means we’re likely long past time for being the grown ups and trying to get a grip on this train wreck of avarice and confusion about the basic concepts of common sense, common decency, and morality, before they really do leave us without clean water to drink or a proverbial pot to piss in.

Fidel Castro has died. I wasn’t a fan. It’s being reported that Cuban exiles are dancing in the streets of Miami.

Over the summer I read D.H. Lawrence’s “Etruscan Places”, which is a collection of travel writings, however, it is so much more than that. Lawrence describes the absorption of cultures into one another, which is part of why, in the modern-day, Peoples become so upset about the “appropriation of culture” because it is so often a sign that the originators of whatever it was, are being absorbed, phased out.ย  ( The other reason why is that, hey, do you like it when someone appropriates your sacred stuff without regard for the sacredness of it? Is your wedding dress just another dress to you?) Lawrence talks of how Etruscan art and culture was absorbed by the Romans until which was which? Who could say? Until everything becomes temporary and transitory and one day, won’t we all be a mystery to be discovered and solved?ย  Like ancient cities recently discovered?

I had something of a health scare over the summer that turned out to be nothing all that unusual but it reminded me of every other health scare, and every other time that laid me out. It woke me up.

Writing? I’m still working on a collection of stories for early next year. I’m also thinking about my novel, THE SLICK FURIES, and making another corrective editing pass through that. Thinking about the next books, looking forward to getting to them.

And I totally forgot to write about the weird dream I had because, I think, I’ve been watching too much “Supernatural” but, I’ll get to it, eventually.


Has the world gone completely mad?