Scoundrel Time

How It Ends: I Remember (Life before 2017)


After Joe Brainard


I remember, as a very small girl, seeing Gerald Ford lose the White House, on TV.

I remember thinking I saw him cry.

I remember then, when I believed politicians had feelings.

I remember later, when George H. W. Bush was laughed at for not understanding supermarkets.

I remember when I was poorer than other kids at college, who had credit cards. One even had her dorm room professionally decorated, with an imitation Roman bust.

I remember when I discovered I wasn’t poor at all.

I remember how Bill Clinton read a lot but thought little about poor women.

I remember “the backlash.”

I remember when Donald Trump was most famous for a showgirl named Marla Maples.

I remember when post-feminism was new.

I remember when a few female writers made their names critiquing date rape.

I remember when, all of a sudden, I couldn’t pay my rent: they jacked it up overnight.

I remember when my boyfriend bought Prada shoes.

I remember “is is.”

I remember when, suddenly, coffee was very expensive.

I remember when people started moving to Seattle.

I remember when people started moving to Portland.

I remember when people started going off the grid.

I remember when I met Arianna Huffington–she was running for Governor of California.

I remember that the child actor Gary Coleman was running against her.

I remember when, years later, I realized that election had predicted Trump, the same way Arianna herself predicted the end of paid journalism.

I remember when people suddenly stopped reading.

I remember when my obsession with books started to seem like vulnerability.

I remember when people stopped picking up the phone for reporting.

I remember when people stopped talking on the phone.

I remember when people started talking about “good television” rather than themselves.

I remember when people stopped taking Prozac and started taking Ambien.

I remember when I stopped hearing “need blind”

I remember when I started hearing “student debt.”

I remember when I stopped believing fully in debt.

I remember that a few years ago men who harassed women were called “cads.”

I remember when “combover” was a synonym for “laughing stock” or “powerless.”

I remember the protest sign that read We Shall Over Comb.

I remember when a man with a combover harassed women.

I remember when he was elected president.

I remember 2017.