Phil Garber
5 min readAug 23, 2021


Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

Eyes Open

Ears Peeled

For insight into the American mind, simply keep your eyes open and your ears peeled as I did today.

I went to a place in Annandale today where I was fingerprinted as a requirement for working for the Arc Hunterdon. It was fine although I think fingerprinting is probably not very effective because what pedophile or other miscreant with a criminal record is going to have his fingerprints taken so he can work with kids, and wouldn’t you think that the pedophile would realize that the fingerprint check will show he’s a pedophile but I guess maybe these people might be dumber than I can imagine.

But I had my fingerprints taken and that was no problem until the older guy working there who was taking my fingerprints mentioned out of the blue that in the last hour 25 people had been shot to death in Chicago because Biden is letting undocumented people flow unchecked like a river into the U.S. and because Chicago is a sanctuary city where criminal illegals are coming in droves to sell drugs and kill people and I asked if he was retired from law enforcement and he said no but that he reads a lot. I didn’t question what he reads but it’s strange that people won’t believe one lie but they will believe 100 lies and I guess it’s the theory that where there’s smoke there’s fire, even if the smoke is part of a scam. So I didn’t argue with him for several reasons, including I knew it would be futile because he is immersed in so many facts and because if I pissed him off maybe he would monkey around with my prints to mimic the prints of a mass murderer and then I wouldn’t get the job as a mentor to people with developmental disabilities.

And while waiting to have my fingerprints taken, there was one other person in the waiting room and he happened to be someone I had gotten to know ever so slightly at the gym where I used to go but stopped because I’m concerned with contracting the delta variant even though I’ve gotten my vaccinations. So to make small talk, I asked this guy who I spoke with only occasionally whether he still goes to the gym and that opened the verbal flood gates and I remembered that he was overly talkative at the gym but only about matters that involved him as he left no room for any real give and take conversation. So he said he hasn’t been to the gym in many months because he pulled muscle in his shoulder while moving a ping pong table and that his arm blew up so big that it looked like Popeye’s arm and that he was getting fingerprinted for a job as a school bus driver, not that he needed the money because he was very successful making a lot of cash off the books as a contractor and then he checked his paperwork and realized he was a week early for his fingerprinting appointment and he left without asking me anything about my life.

Some people are like that, they have no filters to remind them that other people don’t care about the minutiae of their lives and that other people really don’t want their political opinions but they go on and on as if under some illusion that others, me in particular, really do care and I assume the fingerprint guy must have thought I was a sympatico conspiracist or why would he talk so much.

So there’s a house down the street with five “Jack” signs on the lawn, that’s all they say as if everyone knows Jack, although some might think it was referring to Jack and the Beanstalk or Jumping Jack Flash or Little Jack Horner. I am politically aware enough to know that “Jack” actually referred to Jack Ciattarelli, a Republican running for governor who hopes to defeat Gov. Phil Murphy and has as much a chance of winning as I have of being named ambassador to Vanuatu, an island in the South Pacific that was settled more than 3,500 years ago and was visited by the legendary explorer James Cook in 1774. And I have no chance of getting that ambassadorial appointment, believe me. But regarding the campaign sign, wouldn’t it make more sense to actually have Ciattarelli’s full name and not to assume that everybody knows “Jack.” How about “Jack Ciattarelli for Governor” but maybe that wouldn’t fit on the lawn sign or they’d need bigger lawn signs. Not unrelated, the same home has a trump 2021 banner hanging from the roof in the back yard and maybe that’s a very sly way of showing that trump belongs only in your back yard, but probably not.

Here is one of the best Facebook posts I have seen in a long time, written by someone called @TheFortySeverners:


You learned about Helen Keller instead of W.E.B. DuBois.

You learned about the Watts and L.A. Riots but not Tulsa or Wilmington.

You learned that George Washington’s dentures were made from wood, rather than the teeth from slaves.

You learned about black ghettos but not about Black Wall Street.

You learned about the New Deal but not “red lining.”

You learned about Tommie Smith’s fist in the air at the 1968 Olympics but not that he was sent home the next day and stripped of his medals.

You learned about “black crime” but white criminals are never lumped together and discussed in terms of their race.

You learned about “states rights” as the cause of the Civil War but not that slavery was mentioned 80 times in the articles of secession.

Privilege is having history rewritten so that you don’t have to acknowledge uncomfortable facts.

Racism is perpetuated by people who refuse to learn or acknowledge this reality.”

And now for two of the Facebook posts of the day that show what some people are about and it ain’t good:

Unknown poster:

“As of 11pm last night, more than FOUR HUNDRED public school employees have emailed and said they will be plaintiffs in a suit against Murphy if he moves ahead with the mandate.

Strength in numbers! You are strong!”

And a tweet from Candace Owens, a conservative talk show host who loves trump and hates the COVID-19 vaccine. Owens once falsely claimed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proposed “putting high risk people into camps to ‘shield’ low risk people from them.”

“Donald Trump is acting like the president of the United States right wow while @JoeBiden hides like a little bitch and waits for his Beijing handlers to tell him what to do.”

Owens said she will run for president in 2024, of what planet is unclear.