By Ben Stein on 12.31.12 @ 9:34AM
In some ways nightmarish — and what was Romney thinking?
Here it is the next to last day of 2012. This has been a nightmare year. It started off with threats of litigation which were alternately comical and astounding. Some day I’ll write the full story. Suffice it to say, yes, you can get sued for telling an unemployed person to get a job instead of mooching. Suffice it to say, you can get sued (or have lawsuit threatened) over allegations of acts that are demonstrably physically not possible. And being a tiny bit famous and a tiny bit well off (a really tiny bit) makes you a target for bad people.
I was fortunate. I had a great lawyer and a fully supportive wife. I pity those who have neither.
This was also the year that someone I love, someone close to me, as close as can be, had a nervous breakdown, extraordinary delusions and paranoia, and went off the rails of mental balance. Luckily, this person also has a great wife and loving parents and excellent doctors, but mental illness in someone close to you is no joke. It isn’t funny and it’s deeply upsetting. As far as I can tell, there is no cure, just day by day palliation.
The threatened litigation had much to do with the mental problems. I hope there is a special place in hell for those who use the legal system to torment and extort without meaningful grounds, but who knows how hell is run? If anyone does know, it’s probably lawyers.
This was also the year one of my dearest friends went to prison, breaking his mother’s heart and mine and others’ as well. The sorrow I feel at missing him is more like surgery without anesthetic than sorrow.
Again, the legal system at work. For this man to be in prison is, as the saying goes, as cruel as to kill a mockingbird.
This was also the year a woman friend had a series of mental health episodes culminating in serious religious delusions. I am sure I do not know what will happen to her, but it’s probably not going to be good.
Two of my dearest cousins are extremely ill, one with cerebro-circulatory issues (stroke) and one with aggressive cancer. My absolutely favorite uncle, a huge Korean War hero, is in assisted living.
A woman who often keeps me company while I file has some painful thyroid condition that compels her to gain weight and also to languish in fatigue and pain most of the day. When I first met her four years ago, she was thin and vigorous.
It has been a trying year.
On the other hand, Skyfall came out. Not only is it the best Bond ever, but Javier Bardem, the “villain” is the single most interesting character I have ever seen on a movie screen. He may be the most interesting character I have ever seen in any drama. The depths of his personality go on forever. The vivacity and inventive playfulness of this murderer are overwhelming.
I saw it again tonight. I would call it the best movie since Blade Runner. Maybe better. I have seen it in the theater nine times and I could see it every day. You simply cannot miss this movie.
My wifey continued to be the most stellar personality on this planet, and a true gift from God. I believe that the highest good on this earth is being loved by a good woman (I know I have said this before). If I am right, I am the most blessed of men, the Warren Buffett of love.
The real estate market is starting to revive and this is heartening, although the revival is conspicuous by its absence in most of the places where I have (modest) homes. This recession has been a stone killer. Just a killer.
The election was deeply unsettling. Governor Romney basically threw it away. Just tossed in the trash can. He totally folded in debate three and tendered the election to Mr. Obama. Benghazi should have been the tragic gift that won him the election. He handed it back unopened to Mr. Obama. When his son, Tagg, recently came out and said that Gov. Romney basically did not even want to be President in the first place, I felt sick. Why did he bother to waste all of our time and hopes and money? What is going on with him? Or was his son just confused? The whole episode was disturbing.
I don’t know what the new year holds politically or economically. I do know this:
It is vital to treat the ones who love you with respect and tenderness and reciprocal love.
It is vital to work even if you don’t need the money.
Everything in life goes better with a sporting breed of dog at hand.
The men and women who sacrifice for us — military, police, prosecutors, fire fighters, teachers, nurses, parents — are the bedrock of the nation — and the military wife is the backbone of the entire free world.
Happy New Year.
Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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