My wife woke me Friday morning with her usual greeting.
“You won’t believe what he did now,” she muttered.
Not bothering to answer, I lifted my phone from the bedside table, scrolled through my newsfeed, and found the article that was the source of this morning’s agitation: “Trump Moves Press Corps to White House Basement.”
I re-posted the article on my feed with a one-word introduction: “Ugh.” Then I hit the shower.
The drive to work was predictably slow, as traffic threaded past several rear-end accidents that were likely due to people posting updates and checking their “likes.” Self-driving cars can’t get here soon enough, I thought.
“Trump’s an idiot,” my coworker, Josh, declared as I settled into my office cubicle. “He is a horrible, horrible human being.”
“Yeah, I heard about the press corps,” I replied.
“No,” said Josh, dabbing his nose with a well-worn Kleenex. “I’m talking about the executive order declaring ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ as the new national anthem.”
“Ridiculous,” agreed Kathryn, popping her head above the cubical wall, wide-eyed as a frightened prairie dog. “This has got to stop. Who voted for this guy?”
“I voted for him,” Adam said, swiveling his chair toward us. “And it’s time for a new anthem. Lee Greenwood has done a hell of a lot more for this country than Francis Scott Key ever did.”
“Great news!” Jenny said as she breezed past our row. “My daughter just got accepted to Stanford!”
“Good for her,” Josh said with a snort. “A college degree will mean a lot when we’re all working the salt mines for the Chinese.”
We went to lunch a little earlier than usual, it being a Friday and all. After posting pics of our entrees on our respective newsfeeds, we returned to lamenting Trump’s latest tweet about election fraud.
“I know, right?” the waitress chirped as she handed us a fresh basket of microwaved cheese bread. “He’s such a psychopath. Shaking my head!”
The afternoon dragged on at work, as it usually does, but I was proud of the 240-word post I wrote about freedom of the press and the looming national tragedy. By the time I left the office, it had garnered 24 “likes,” and seven “loves.”
Glancing down at my phone as I merged onto the highway, I never saw the Peterbilt truck that sideswiped my Prius, sending it rolling over a ditch and into the trees that lined the road.
I woke up hours—maybe days—later, in a hospital room bathed in sunlight.
“You hear what Trump did today?” a nurse asked as she checked my chart.
“I know,” my wife muttered, peering at her phone. “What did we ever do to deserve this crap?”
Stephen Roth is the author of the comic novel A Plot for Pridemore, which won the 2012 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction.