A couple of days ago, I wrote one of my periodic "I’m outta here" columns. In doing so, I violated my own rule about not writing when I’m pissed.

I could come up with a litany of excuses for being in a bad mood: Bruised ribs from a fall, a wetter-than-normal Spring with too many dark, depressing days or the general malaise that seems to grip this country when times get bad.

But none of these excuses would be valid. I simply woke up in a bad mood and used the keyboard and readership of Capitol Hill Blue as therapy — a bad move.

Yes, I’ve lost focus recently but running away won’t restore it. I’ve fallen into an "abandon hope all ye who enter here" mood that is neither constructive or productive.

Last week, I received a notice from the Social Security Administration advising me to start now to apply for the retirement benefits that start later this year. That didn’t help my mood either.

But the lady who cuts my hair stopped by my table at lunch Tuesday to tell me she’s taking a break from her job because she is scheduled for surgery Friday.


"Breast cancer."

She said it matter-of-factly without a hint or regret or remorse. In fact, her mood was upbeat.

"I just want to get the surgery done so I can move on," she said. "I’ll make it."

I’m betting she will. In the face of such odds her optimism is inspiring and helps me realize just how petty my malaise had become.

I have friends who have lost their live savings, their homes and their future in the current economic mess.  They face far more dire circumstances than I.

Capitol Hill Blue cannot help fight the problems that confront all of us by being a voice of doom run by a publisher who admits defeat.

"Never figured you for a quitter," read an email from a long-time reader.

I’m not. I just let it all get to me and started feeling sorry for myself.

Bad move. Stupid move. One that I hope to avoid making again.

I’m human. Like anyone I have mood swings. Most of the time I’m up. Sometimes, I’m down.

But I’m not out, not by a long shot.

So forget what I said…again. Say "I told you so" all you want. I deserve it.

I’m back. With luck, hope will follow soon.


  1. I do have a treatment for you Doug. Don’t take this life too damn seriously. One day at a time doesn’t hurt also. Then the biggie. Make a gratitude list.

    You may really need to get away from here also. I don’t come here near as often as I used to and, to tell the truth, I feel a bit better when I have the blissful ignorance of not knowing, LOL.

  2. Doug, do me a favor and go to some more meetings. You are way too wrapped up in this stuff. I guess you are expecting some perfect guy to walk into the White house and cure all of our ills. That ain’t gonna happen dude. We live where we live. I’ll live with the lesser of the evils, which we have now, and be happy that this economy will rebound in spite of what those idiots in Washington do. It looks like they have saved the banks, which was THE BIG DEAL for the most part. Let’s hope they get back out when they get our money back.

    If you really think one guy can walk into that place (Washington) and end the way it runs you are about naive. It’s a sick system that has to be worked in.

  3. Doug…I’m now in the throes of what you were going through. I just hope I can break out of it, shake myself off and get back in the race before it’s over…

    Welcome back.

  4. I don’t always agree with you, but I always want to hear what you have to say, to see your take on things. One of the things that I like the best about your writing is that you are anything but detached. You write passionately about the world in which you live, your emotion always present. Few others do that today, so your voice is a refreshing, authentic one for me.

    I will hang in here with you, as long as you feel this passion. If it ever goes away, or you need to take a break, I’ll understand. So I guess I think you’ll do this again, it seems to have a serial life with you, that seems to be who you are. I’ll be really concerned if you ever say you just don’t feel it anymore, until then, I’ll ride the swings with you.

  5. Doug…Glad to hear you were only at the end of your rope and decided to tie a knot and hang on. We have all had days when we’ve used a cannon to kill a mosquito. (make that mosQUITo). Judy

  6. Yeah, I know the feeling. It’s not that I’ve given up, it’s that the situation has changed so much that it requires a different approach. For years I bitched about the evils of the Bush Administration and it fell on deaf ears. Now it is little solice that everyone agrees with me, and there is no comfort in I told you so. It really doesn’t matter what goes on in Washington as long as life sucks in small town USA. Maybe, it is time to start building from the bottom up instead of the top down. Now, I find joy and comfort in doing little things for little people.

  7. Glad to see you’re back Doug, sooner rather than later. As a long time reader and occasional poster you’re pretty much the main reason I visit this site.

    I guess your previous post could just be chalked up to “manstruating.” 😉 I look forward to your next post/rant.

    Blitz Carthey

    –If Descartes’ declaration, “I think, therefore I am,” were true, then this world should be a lot less crowded!

  8. Doug,

    Your faithful readers will always be here for you.

    If discretion really is the better part of valor, then a leader knows when to take a step back. A loser, on the other hand, doesn’t have a clue.

    Keep up the good work…

    Charlie Couser

  9. It’s been a long winter for everyone. We all go there and we all come back. Such is the nature of life these days.

  10. Dammit! I wanted to seize control of this column and brainwash everyone !

    Retiring is exactly what you said. It is NOT quitting. It is exchanging one lifestyle for a more preferential lifestyle where you almost have enough time to do a lot of the things you always wanted to do, or at least try to do…

    Quitting is giving up. Retiring is moving up. Going to a higher plane before you are taken (hopefully) to a higher place. It is doing what you want before you are forced to quit because of a disease or job change or life changing event.

    I implore all my best friends to quit working and go live life. To, as Thoreau said, “suck out the marrow…” One of my pals was way ahead of me and did just that 25 years ago. Another finally was forced into early retirement and died of pancreatic cancer a few months later. Another was ‘early-retired’ but forced to take care of a wife whose health was failing. One is being operated on for lung cancer tomorrow. I quit for 7 years when I was 46, had to refinance the kitty and go back to work and finally hung it all up six years ago. Since then I have lived a life of fantasy fulfillment and contribution to society in ways I felt worthwhile.

    Platitudes aside, if writing and managing CHB is what you want to do for the rest of your life, then stay there. If it is not, go do whatever is before the rest of your life comes much more suddenly than you wanted.

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