Devastation in the Land of My Childhood

I was planning to write something light and frothy today. I was going to tell you about all the shopping I did while in Europe, and show you some of my photos of shopping hotspots, things I bought, things I wanted to buy, if only my budget had allowed, and things that were way out of my price range. I actually started writing that post and who knows? Maybe some other time I’ll finish it.

But, today I am sad. My achy, breaky heart is tormented by what’s going on along the other side of the U.S., otherwise known as the east coast. Particularly, New York, my home, my birthplace. I could cry just for my city, alone. I could sob for Queens and all it has endured. I’m sure Long Island, where I spent my teen years, didn’t fare much better, though I don’t know for sure.  All that is going on right now is hard to fathom for those of us not there and for those of us who have never experienced anything like it. Let’s hope we never will.

For that Hurricane/Cyclone Sandy sure was a menace. She wreaked her havoc on everything she touched, and slammed all that was in her path. Like Queens, where 100 homes burned to the ground, just like that, and not a soul could do anything to stop it.

But then there’s the New Jersey shore. I think of the summers I spent there, in Atlantic City, and even once wrote about it in a post called, My Boardwalk Empire. For many years, Atlantic City was the vacation spot of my dreams. I still hold that place in high esteem and shudder at the pile of heap that it is now, after just a few hours of stormy mayhem.

How many times I skipped along the boardwalk, waving with a flick of the hand, to Mr. Peanut, as I whizzed by. Memories of buying a fist-load of saltwater taffy and breathing in the salty air mixed with the scent of Belgian waffles. All the sights and sounds of vacationers by the sea, echo through time, reminding us of that which was once there.

Yes, Atlantic City. This was the place to be. After the storm, when Governor Chris Christie surveyed the damage, he reflected how anyone his age, who’d spent time there, is devastated, knowing so much of the Jersey shore has been lost, and the coast, itself, will never be the same again. I can certainly relate, stricken with grief as I am. Heartbroken for the loss and the destruction suffered by so many.

Fires, floods, pummeling winds, power outages, and even snow. Sandy brought it all. What a terrifying combination, somehow reminding me of the Ten Plagues that the Lord brought on to Egypt–pestilence, frogs, boils, darkness, etc. There were casualties, too, but early preparation was key in helping to keep those numbers down.

Yet, all the damage in the world can’t stop the faith and belief in the goodness of people. Of people helping each other through simple acts of kindness.

Nor can it stop the will to go on. In the face of hardship, resilience is a powerful thing. People will walk miles, jump through hoops and bend over backwards for a ray of hope, and the promise that this, too, shall pass.

And, while the storm is over, the rebuilding begins, as insurmountable as it may seem. How long will it take? The folks in charge seem to think it’ll be mere days for the subway system to be up and running. I wish I were as optimistic. Patience is needed, something those of us raised there have in short supply. It’s going to be a long haul.  Luckily, folks there have grit and tenacity. They will survive, they will rebuild and they will be stronger for it.

For now, being so far, there’s not much I can do. I’ve been in touch with my friends and family and know they are safe. I’ve made my donation to the Red Cross. And, next spring, I plan to go back and visit. For I wish to see it again in all its brilliance. I need to see it again.

Life goes on, after all.

Looking Good, Mr. Z!

Has anyone noticed how much weight George Zimmerman has lost lately? The man is so gaunt, you’d think he’s surviving on nothing but Slim Fast shakes. Check out the chain around his waist. It only needed three links to wrap around him completely! I bet you anything, that ankle bracelet they’re making him wear, now that he’s been released, is actually the size of a small hoop earring. Why, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say the man is fast becoming his own vanishing act!

Look out, David Copperfield!

Anyway, now that he’s out on bail, he’s going to have plenty of time on his hands. And, he’s going to need to earn the big bucks fast to help him pay for his legal team.

Which is why, if you ask me, what George Zimmerman really needs, more than ever, is a complete makeover. Starting with the name. From now on, if anyone asks, it’s George Z.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Next, we got to do something about the wardrobe. Sorry, but Mr. Z’s old clothes aren’t doing it for him anymore.  He needs clothes that fit his all-new, spiffy physique, and make him ready for primetime.

After all, I’m sure all the talk shows are going to want him—Piers Morgan, Jay Leno, and the ladies of The View, for starters.  They’re going to interview him, ad nauseam, to find out how he lost all that weight—and in such short a time, too!

So, shopping at the Big and Tall Barn will no longer be good enough for this fella from the Sunshine State, not when’s he got all this new celebrity cache. We’re talking Brooks Brothers, J. Crew and maybe even, Pac Sun. Now, that’s more like it.

He might even be able to run for office on the NRA ticket. Think of the possibilities! And, I can see him soon doing an ad for life insurance—with the tagline being, what every kid in a hoodie should have.

Here's Mr. Z with an "unidentified male."

And, Mr. Z, some advice:  You were seen leaving the jail carrying all your belongings in paper bags. What’s up with that?  Don’t you know a man of your distinction, who is going to go places, and rise to the top—maybe even get his own reality show, akin to the Jersey Shore (Florida Shore?), should be carrying Louis Vuitton luggage, not grocery bags from the Piggly Wiggly?

And you’re going to need your own posse, not someone identified as an “unidentified male,” seen leaving the jailhouse with you.  How about Jay-Z, Chris Brown, Kanye West, or Taio Cruz? I’m sure they’d love to oblige and spend some time with you. I also bet we could get Spike Lee to tweet about your whereabouts, just to help you raise your profile.

And another thing: it was reported on the news that you didn’t make eye contact with the paparazzi as you left the jail. Which is crazy, if you ask me. Those guys are going to become part of your life. Glued to your rear, every step of the way. So, you might as well get to know them and make the most of your time together.

Finally, if you ever do get acquitted, I hope you create your own line of weight-loss products. Because, whatever it is, it sure worked wonders for you, the Neighborhood Watch guy. Think about it. All that walking on your watch did nothing for your waistline, but something else did, so fill us in, Mr. Z!

What was it? Anxiety? Stress? Guilt, perhaps? Be sure to tell us!  For, we’d love to hear you confess every detail on how it went down–your weight, that is.

Oh, and by the way, ladies, hands off.  Because, if you ask me, Mr. Z could very well be my next prisoner of love!

The verdict is still out, of course. 😉