The King Must Die

And sooner or later
Everybody’s kingdom must end

They misdiagnosed the cause of my car overheating.

I’d just been on the phone with them earlier in the day, scheduling an appointment for major service two weeks hence, then I was ascending the hill on the 405, from the Westside to the Valley, and my car started to overheat. This was not my BMW of the seventies, which was not made for hot weather, which went into the red when you drove up a hill in hundred degree heat, since the day I bought it my Saabaru’s temperature gauge has never moved, it heats up to a certain level and stays there, but now it was jumping near the red, and if it gets into the red you must shut the engine down, but when I took my foot off the gas, the engine got cooler, but when I went downhill into Sherman Oaks it got hotter, which is against the principle of a low gear in a standard transmission, so I drove it to the Subaru dealer the following morning where they diagnosed the problem as a failed radiator cap.

This did not sound right to me. And I’m somewhat knowledgeable about cars, because I grew up in the era when they didn’t work, when no one had one over 100,000 miles, when everything in my 2002 broke, including the steering wheel. But today cars are so much better, they’re kind of like computers, you used to have to know how they worked, now you just press a button and they run, seemingly forever. That’s another issue, do you need a new car? Of course you can lease, but that’s a bad use of your money, I own, but at what point do you bite the bullet.

I should have bitten the bullet that very day and ponied up for a new car, because after they said it was only the radiator cap I paid $1500 for said major service. And after dinner at CUT with Peter Shapiro, the damn automobile overheated in the same damn place on the 405, so I drove it to the dealer the very next morning where my service writer was unavailable and I tracked down the head mechanic, Darryl. Now, you’ve got to know Subaru is burgeoning, they used to have one and a half service writers, now they’ve got five. Used to be Darryl was easily located in a corner of the one and only shop, but now you have to canvass multiple buildings to find him. But I eventually did.

Now you’ve got to know, Darryl is the best mechanic I’ve ever encountered, there’s no problem he can’t diagnose, and after describing all the details of my problem he told me it was a blown head gasket, and when I told him the car was thirteen years old and had 92,000 miles on it he looked me in the eye and said “Get rid of it.” Which I would have done, but I was $1500 upside down, damned if I was gonna get burned, especially when I found out it would be $3500 more to fix the damn thing.

That’s right, I knew what a blown head gasket was, Darryl described it as “luck of the draw,” saying I’d done nothing wrong, and my nephew is the number three BMW salesman in America, but he’d only give me a grand for the machine, and there was no way I could get it to his place in Irvine, so…

They gave me a Crosstrek to drive. I was stunned at how good it was, especially the blind spot warnings, but despite the excellence of Darryl, I do not want another Subaru, they’re noisy and technologically antiquated and mine was far from trouble free. That’s what they told me, I could make a trade on a new Subaru, which I didn’t want. I made it easy for them, they could do one of two things, give me my $1500 back or buy my car from me.

They said they did not buy cars, I said the service center was owned by the same dealership that sold new cars.

They came back and said they’d give me twenty percent off the repair.

I told them it was very simple, they could honor my original offer, cash return or purchase, or I would either cancel payment on the credit card or sue them in small claims court, and I would win, I’m an attorney, it’s a clear cut case.

I was shitting a brick, I was in shock, there was no way I was fixing the car for that price.

And that’s when Paterno told me to hold my horses, they were already NEGOTIATING!

I didn’t get it. But Peter said they’d come down already, to wait to see their next offer, the game had begun.

I was anxious, I saw no way I could win, they held most of the cards, and my car and my cash.

But an hour later they called with an offer. How about if they charged me for parts and they ate all the labor?

I said yes.

Now ultimately my car is back on the road, I authorized a couple of more repairs, since they were not charging me labor on anything they did, and there was trouble taking the engine apart, they had to send it to a machine shop, which I had to pay for, but right now the car is in tip-top shape, but I still should have bought a new one.

But that’s not my point.

Last night, on Fox of all places, Trump said not to impeach him because the economy would tank.

He’s starting to negotiate.

I know, I know, it looked like he was gonna serve out his term, he’s survived this long. But as Frank Rich said last year, it took two years for Watergate to play out.

But, you say the Congress will never authorize impeachment.

It probably won’t get to that. Because if you know your history, the Republican Senators told Nixon he had to go. Ultimately the Republican Senators are gonna tell Donald Trump to go, if he doesn’t declare victory and leave early.

Oh, 25% of the public still supported Nixon when he resigned, that’s not the point, it’s a game, and Trump just blinked.

It’s been a bad week. Trump keeps trumpeting all the good he’s done, but so did Nixon.

At some point the camel’s back breaks.

And it’s kind of how you lose a fortune, very slowly and then all at once.

But most people did not live through Watergate, they’ve got no perspective. And the news is all about the horse race, who wins or loses the pennant is irrelevant to them. And this week especially has proven there are two teams, I checked the Fox site Tuesday and Cohen and Manafort were not even close to the top. Still aren’t. Which makes you think that Trump can survive in this topsy-turvy world, but he won’t.

He’s begun to negotiate, he’s playing defense, which is a bad place to be. Just ask Hillary, just ask the Democrats, they’ve been playing defense for decades, because the Republicans play offense, all the time. The right wing defines the issues, to the point that Democrats are running away from the demonized Nancy Pelosi.

But now Mueller is defining the game, by sticking to his guns, by being a Republican to begin with.

I’m so afraid your courtiers
Cannot be called best friends

So Trump demands loyalty, believing the government should be run like a Mafia family, but Sessions says no go, he’s already running from the stink, there comes a time when you defend yourself, like John Dean, because you realize the man in charge is not looking out for you, and you don’t want to go down with the ship.

And if my hands are stained forever
And the altar should refuse me
Would you let me in, would you let me in, would you let me in
Should I cry sanctuary

No one wants to save Trump other than himself.

Congresspeople want to save their jobs, first and foremost, they blow with the wind. They’re afraid of being primaried, they’re staying the course, believing their constituents are behind them, but they’re not.

The polls were wrong about Trump’s election, they’re wrong about his support. A certain number will support any right wing President. The rest are delusional. But in between there’s a coterie who have a sense of right and wrong, and in a country of hard working people falling behind they don’t want to believe the game is rigged, that you can get away with bad actions with impunity.

And now David Pecker has turned state’s evidence.

And rather than talk to the portraits in the White House, like Nixon, Trump is talking to his minions at Fox, at rallies, but he’s stumbling, he’s lost his self-confidence, he’s on the run.

Life is a game, some know how to play it, some don’t. Some learn through experience, others repeat their mistakes. You succeed with a village, Peter Paterno told me how to play my hand. Donald Trump has only listened to himself, demanded loyalty and breached the compact on a regular basis, the only supporters he truly has are his family, and already some of its members are on the run.

While the juggler’s act is danced upon
The crown that you once wore

You think you can bend the game to your will, but it’s been around too long, you’ve to play by the rules or support the new game. Bad actors always get caught, via their own acts, karma may not be instant, but it comes eventually and it is real. The highway is littered with politicians whose careers ended by their own hands. Can you say Gary Hart? Can you say John Edwards?

The king is dead, the king is dead
Long live the king

Life will go on, there will be a new king, in this case Mike Pence, maybe even a Democrat two years hence, because no one is bigger than the government, no one is above the law. That’s part of the premise that Trump ran on, the game was rigged and he was gonna drain the swamp, but it turns out the quicksand is gonna consume him, and the more you fight it, the faster you sink.

Sure, the Republicans could triumph in November. There’s a chance Trump could survive.

But history repeats. We’ve seen this movie one time already. And we all know you live or die, succeed or fail, based on your team. Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen to win, and LeBron couldn’t carry a second-rate team all by himself. And the NBA reflects the modern paradigm, while football programs are rife with out of control coaches disrespecting their players. That’s what the #MeToo movement is all about, it’s a backlash to mistreatment, to male power. You could get away with it before, but not anymore.

My car will not last forever. At some point I’ll have to replace it. Maybe sooner rather later.

But I’ll get a new automobile, I’ll survive.

Just like our country.

It doesn’t need to be run by Trump.

P.S. The lyrics are from Elton John’s “The King Must Die, the closing track on his first American album from 1970. Art reflects life, art reflects truth. No one quotes their bank account when they’re looking for answers, they play music, they look at art, trying to gain insight into humanity.

P.P.S. No one is immune, everyone gets their comeuppance. Be a student of the game, maybe reinvent it, but know there’s a cost for those who cannot foresee what’s coming down the road, just like with Facebook, Zuckerberg and Sandberg were venerated leaders, does anybody want to lean in like Sheryl anymore? No, and the funny thing is she’s not even aware of it, just like Donald Trump.

“The King Must Die” – Spotify

“The King Must Die” – YouTube

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