The Checks Won’t Be Signed by a Narcissist

A small reminder of the big insanity of the last four years

Treasury Check | PC: William Sawalich | Alamy Stock Photo

You never quite know when you’re experiencing madness until that madness is over. It’s only when it’s done and it all gets quiet, when life settles down, that you finally get the chance to look around and say, “What the fuck was that all about?” Today was one of those moments, when it was announced that President Biden will not be signing the relief checks that will be sent out to millions of Americans as part of the American Rescue Plan. In any other universe but the one we’re living in, this would not be news.

But it is. Because it is a black-to-white contrast to the former guy. The toxic relationship metaphor continues to serve us well. Life under Donald Trump — living under his warped reign — was like being with an abusive boyfriend. When you’re in it, you just need to get through it. It’s only when it’s over, when you finally summon the courage to yell, “Pack your shit and go!” that you get to reap the reward of your bravery: the calm that follows the door slamming. And then the realization — bam! — of how truly insane it all was.

To be clear, no one actually signs the checks. But a year ago, amidst an international crisis of epic proportion, as tens-of-thousands of Americans were dying and record numbers were losing their jobs, as major cities went silent and our economy shuttered, the sitting president literally stopped the presses to make sure that millions of checks cut from the United States Treasury had his name printed on them. Election-year stunt or not, can you imagine the twisted mind that wastes time, energy, resources, and money to make sure that he is given credit as you open your mail?

Today’s news was news because it wasn’t news. And there are many more moments like this to come in the Biden presidency that will continually remind us of the utter nonsense and pure insanity of the last four years. Biden’s history is yet to be written, and he may prove to be less than the progressive dream so many hope for, but one thing is clear: he is not a raving lunatic.

Julio Vincent Gambuto is a writer/director, based in New York City. He wrote that Medium essay about the pandemic that went around the world to 21M readers. Follow on Twitter for small thoughts, or here for Medium ones, or his website for large ones.

“Giulio” (It’s Italian.) Writer/Director. Weekly: where the personal, pandemic and the political meet | juliovincent.com • Tw:@juliovincent

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