Just before his eighty-ninth birthday, my father was watching a Viagra commercial on TV. It ends with the warning, â€œIf an erection persists for more than four hours, contact your doctor.â€
He called up his clinic and got the nurse. Heâ€™d taken some Viagra, he said, more than four hours ago and his erection still wouldnâ€™t go away.
â€œMr. Palast, you shouldnâ€™t have done that! Youâ€™ll have to get to the emergency room immediately.â€
â€œI canâ€™t go,â€ he said. â€œI havenâ€™t shown all the neighbors yet.â€
In 1930, when my father was an eight-year-old kid in Chicago, he askedÂ his older brother why people were outside in the cold snow waiting in a longÂ line. His brother Harold said, â€œItâ€™s a bread line. They donâ€™t have anything toÂ eat. …more