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The “back end” of a WordPress blog site, where the posts are written before going public, and various other administrative tasks are performed, keeps some fairly detailed statistics. For example, I can see not only how many people visit each day (I’d rather not say, but put it this way, not enough to fill the Rose Bowl), but also when the visits occur, and what countries the visitors hail from (most from Canada of course, but with small numbers from almost every corner of the globe, a product of clever “tagging” and other “search engine optimization” measures that lure puzzled Google searchers the world over to this strange, irrelevant page with its picture of a fish). I can tell you the average post is about 1,300 words, and that the statistically most probable time for somebody to visit is, for some reason, Wednesday at around 3 PM. I know how many posts I’ve written thus far – 315! – and exactly how many words I’ve written since I began, right now pushing 400,000, plus about another 200,000 in the other site pages, where a couple of my very wonderful books (like my Domus memoirs!) and a few other objectively brilliant essays are posted.

This is enough to provide a scientific sample, and upon conducting a review of the output to date I can now provide with some confidence the self-diagnosis that I suffer from Trump-induced Bi-polar Relapsing and Remitting Anxiety Dysfunction. I named this sickness myself, though I doubt I’m the first to suffer it. It’s a debilitating affliction manifested in my Trump-related writings by great bursts of florid optimism punctuated by intense bouts of fear, depression, rage, and invective redolent of crushing despair, tending as well to trigger Irritable Bowel Syndrome (that one was already named).

Thus, you may have noticed, one blog post will express my cheery conviction that Trump is a passing thing, that he doesn’t have a chance of lasting beyond the end of 2019, that his misdeeds will catch up with him in due course, and we therefore have nothing to worry about. Not a thing! Take it to the bank! Then in the next, often written after committing the repeated error of watching more than a couple of minutes of a Trump speech or press conference, I’ll be certain beyond any doubt, and absent any lingering hope, that the death of Western liberal democracy is upon us, and Trump is on the cusp of installing himself as dictator for life. I notice that at my lowest ebbs, usually occurring after viewing news items in which Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats have expressed their thoughts and opinions (I cross-checked with the dates of the relevant YouTube clips) I sound almost suicidal, like I’m about to chug down a two-litre jug of chlorine bleach. Not at all, dear reader, not at all! No worries! At those moments I’m far too depressed and apathetic to even bother.

Here, watch this and see if your psyche comes out the other side in one piece. To improve your chances, I picked a short one, with no red hats.

Yup. I’m bummed too. I didn’t even need to watch it.

I anticipated riding this emotional roller coaster. Right from the start. I knew it could happen. I felt it coming on. This is why the front page of The Needlefish contains a warning that violent mood swings may be encountered, and why I always keep handy my images of happy needlefish:

and gloomy needlefish:

one of which I’ll sometimes include at the end of a post to telegraph my state of mind. In case you couldn’t tell.

A few worthwhile conclusions can be drawn from my review, including that while the reader should, of course, eagerly and regularly devour every word I write, just because I’m so very entertaining and eloquent, anything that purports to understand where this Ungodly Trumpstorm is headed and when it will all end can be safely dismissed.


Look at it this way, one way or the other, I called it.

Also, prognosticating aside, all opinions expressed on The Needlefish are absolutely valid and 100% correct. This is the other important finding of my review.

Since my fan base, while vanishingly small, is loyal to the point of being rabid, I will continue to plug away. You’d have to pay me not to!

Seriously, you could pay me and I’ll stop.

Please send all certified cheques, bank drafts and money orders to The Needlefish, c/o Humphrey Armiston-Mudge, Treasurer, 14 Mossy Granite Crescent, Ecum Secum, Nova Scotia B4X 0A0.

One comment on “Retrospective: The Needlefish So Far

  1. I had the nerve to watch the clip. Bad idea. You keep at it, I dont have the money to stop you. From my last comment [on All this Time] you will see that you might as well not worry about it—or about anything— because, in the words of Howland Owl [?] it ain’t no how permanent. I am off to meditate.


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