Things Could Be Worse, but It Takes Imagination

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, January 16, 2017, 9:52 a.m.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I write.

On Inauguration Day, I shall write.

Other than that, the bookends of the weekdays have nothing in common. Writing must be the tie that binds. Writing must be the salvation of sanity. I must find comfort in writing. It’s all I know and all I know to do.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’m a bit depressed. Were I not depressed, I would be out of touch with reality.

By Monte Dutton (What? Me worry?)
By Monte Dutton (What? Me worry?)

Obviously, many Americans will celebrate on Friday. The new president represents their hopes and dreams. My view is every bit as jaded as theirs. It won’t be as bad as I think. I pray it won’t. In my mind, the country has joined a fraternity, and part of the initiation is being paddled, bare-assed, by a man who loves sadism so much that, as he wields his diabolical instrument, demands that the poor initiate say each time, a la Animal House, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”

Yow! Thank you, sir. May I have another? Yow! Thank you, sir. May I have another?

Okay. You have proved your loyalty. From here on out, things are going to be great.

There is humor. There is always humor. Laughter is the best medicine, as Reader’s Digest used to claim in  a regular section of jokes that seemed amusing when I was, oh, between eight and 12, getting a haircut. Reader’s Digest was once as ubiquitous as, oh, the new duly elected president whose landslide was an overwhelming minus-2.9 million.

Let’s set aside the politics. The new president’s politics is difficult to determine, other than the far right-wingers whom he has appointed to run the country while he doesn’t pay attention to his business interests. Or maybe his philosophy is simple. He believes only he can do it. He believes he is the best there ever was at anything ever done. He declares himself our savior. He just hasn’t capitalized it yet.

I understand that millions are in favor of what the new president wants to do. Millions are in favor of free vanilla ice cream to soften the blow of Mondays.

What I don’t understand is why people like him.

He’s mean. He’s vindictive. He’s humorless. He’s vain. He’s pompous.

In summary, he’s an asshole.

Captain of the Starship Greatness (Monte Dutton sketch)
Captain of the Starship Greatness (Monte Dutton sketch)

On the other hand, I am not humorless. I expect, if I have a chance in hell of making it through this presidency, it is humor that will save me.

Many of the same people who, for eight years, have insulted the two-term, duly elected president of the United States — who got millions more votes than his opponents — questioned his birth, his religion, his motives, his family, his work ethic, and, oh, I don’t know, his golf game, now scream that those of us who like him should give the new guy a chance. He and they demand our respect.

I respect the office. I respect that he’s in it. Beyond that, he’s got to earn it. Surprise me, please.

I didn’t agree with George W. Bush. The first sign this could happen was when he was reelected. I considered him inept, but I didn’t dislike him. I think I would have enjoyed chatting with him at a cookout. Every president of my lifetime has had a virtue I respected. For instance, Ronald Reagan would have been a fine grandfather for a little boy. Jimmy Carter would have been, and reportedly is, a great Sunday School teacher. Gerald Ford would have been a great football teammate. Lyndon Johnson would have been a great coach. I would have hated playing for him, but I expect we would have won.

There must be something I like about this man.

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.

I got nothing.

Oh, oh, oh. Got it. He’ll be better than I expect. Yeah! He couldn’t possibly be worse.


If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at (

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on sale all January as a Kindle download at

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.


(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).




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