Handsome, and deeply flawed, men.

Not really. But kinda. The title I mean.

Look. I can’t even remember the last time I posted about this Johnny Cash book. It’s just so goddamned detailed. I mean I feel like I personally knew the man at this point and I’m only like halfway through. And I have to tell you. Growing up with an addict for a parent makes reading about addicts rough.  I can’t read this straight through. It’s not like just ripping off the band aid and getting it over with. It’s more like “Yep, my mom did something like that once and three cars ended up rear ending a semi on the freeway as we rolled by going about 25 in a 55 nearly taking two of those drivers out after they’d gotten out of their cars. I was like 13 or 14. I can’t remember. No one helped me. The police never stopped her. How did no one get her plate number?” And I can’t decide if it’s harder to read now that she’s dead or not. Do I really feel like I need to keep trying to finish this book? I just don’t know. Also that might be as personal as I’ve ever gotten on this bloggy thingy.

The thing is, Johnny Cash was a very interesting and deeply flawed man. I love his music. Well. A lot of his music. Some of it’s just. Meh. Whatever. Didn’t you already do this song and call it something else? Which even the book points out was a thing when he was deep in the throes of drugs drugs drugs.

Much like with my mother, I both love you and hate you, Johnny Cash.

But there’s a lockdown in week eleventy ordered through questionable authority and motivation and I looked at it, sitting on my nightstand for over a year and picked it up again.  I feel like this is a book I’ll be reading for the next ten years. Lockdown or no lockdown, I can only stomach a few pages at a time. I guess I’ll report back in a few years and let you know how it’s going. Right now he’s about to do his live from Folsom concert. He’s semi-sober.

I can’t even comprehend living your life that way. And then when you do sober up you’re suddenly some kind of hero. I’m maybe a little bitter. Let’s move on to the other book I’ve been reading for three years.

My favorite historical nutball.

Here’s the thing about Andrew Jackson: Aside from his totally racist and bigoted motivation behind the genocidal push of Native Americans off their land and into the West, he would have been a pretty brilliant president. Also he was a total badass. Dude was in more than 100 duels and walked around with a bullet permanently lodged in his person from one of them.

And here’s where I encounter a perpetual dilemma. Can you ignore the bad actions of otherwise decent men (and women) and look to the good they’ve done? I mean Ted Kennedy is a prime modern example of this, right? Montstrously dickish human. Never suffered any consequences for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. But devoted Dems far and wide loved that man. They don’t care about that poor woman who might be alive today if not for his drunken ass. Not to mention the countless other women who suffered for being near him. Actually, never mind. Ted Kennedy most certainly was not a decent person. Probably you can think of other examples. Oh, Obama. How about all those drone strikes. But y’all loved that man. “Still miss him!” Right? Extra judicial execution of innocent American citizens be damned! Shit like this happens all the time. Jackson’s actions unquestionably caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people. And I’m not bringing up examples of prominent Democrats to excuse that. I’m just trying to make a point, and not doing a very good job of it. But anyway, he also did great things for the country. Like getting us 100% out of debt – to this day, the only American president to ever do so.

All that aside, this book is written in a painstakingly detailed fashion, much like Cash. And I am slogging along through ENTIRELY TOO MUCH DETAIL. But this one also will, in the middle of talking about Jackson’s inaugural speech, suddenly jump to years later and Calhoun and some detail seemingly totally unrelated, but perhaps we’ll understand later. How is it that this is the kind of writing that always wins the Pulitzer?

P.S. It’s PULL-its-er, NOT Pewlitzer. Stop saying Pewlitzer. You’re saying it wrong. Trust me on this, if nothing else. You Pewlitzer folks drive me batty.

Also Andrew Jackson totally looks like this guy I went to middle and high school with and was one of the “cool” kids but I haven’t seen or spoken to since then because I was never cool enough to be friends with him for real. I think he’s an opera singer now. No joke. Crazy talented.

Anyway, this post is lacking in my usual humorous take on why I can’t finish shit, but you can blame it on my mother. Or not. I don’t care. This current way of life has me perpetually seething just below the surface, on the verge of giving up on reaching out to people, and generally just quietly cranky. Fuck it.

Look how skinny I was. I miss skinny me. Tellin’ secrets to giant Andrew Jackson’s head in Houston in 2013.

I fully condemn Jackson’s order to force Native Americans into the West. But I do find his life fascinating. We’ll see if I ever finish this one, I suppose.

I don’t know what y’all are reading, but if you’re in the Read Death Book Club, I fully expect it to be Being Mortal!