Monthly Archives: November 2016

Coupla thoughts on the election

There was a time – and it just wasn’t all that long ago – when the President-elect’s thrice-married status would have been the big news. The thing people would have tsked-tsked about, the aspect of his character that we would have found – or been told to find – concerning. Ha. Ha. Ha. Gee, that sounds like the Good Old Days.

You know what I never liked? When two or more people have some kind of knock-down, drag-out, ugly-piece-of-business fight, and then afterward, somebody either makes them or tells them to “shake hands and make up.” That’s always hit a false note with me. And that’s how it feels now. Shake hands and make up. Right. Now.

I remind myself this country has been far more divided than it is in this moment. Blood relatives shot and killed one another in the Civil War. The phrases you often hear are “brother against brother” and “families torn apart.” This isn’t like that. I know. And– we kind of patched that up too. It’s not like there’s a border guard at the Mason-Dixon line where you have to show papers to cross to the other side. There aren’t two governments, North and South. I guess I’m saying – I’m telling myself – if those folks managed to get themselves back on some kind of track as roughly one country, we should be able to as well.

I also remind myself – because I must – this is the same country that elected our current President not once but twice! And recently at that. But, but…. I’m a might confused. How can we be BOTH? Are we really that fickle a country? Is it as I fear that we are a child-like people who want – demand – instant gratification? Who are never satisfied with our lot, whatever it may be? Do we constantly insist somebody “fix” everything and when they don’t/can’t/won’t, jump to the next person or faction who assures us they will?

Do we really as a people want to talk about “tough tines” and our hard lives when many of those people who lived through the Great Depression still walk among us? When people who were subjected to a segregated U.S. – and all the atrocities which came with it – are still here to remember?  I mean to say that as a nation we seem to run from one thing to the next, we seem to always want more than what we have; no, insist we deserve more. (Ironically, it is the very flamboyant existence of high-profile individuals like our President-elect who help create this very dissatisfaction – this very American dissatisfaction.)

My sense of humor is at low tide this week but hasn’t entirely escaped me… If you don’t know the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” let me share something from it that’s been going through my mind. There’s a wedding scene that turns into a killing brawl. To patch things up between the aggrieved parties, the father of the groom says, “Now now, let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who, this is supposed to be a happy occasion!”

Right. This is supposed to be a happy occasion.

(Note: I’m currently having internet woes and may not see or be able to respond to comments right away, my advance apologies.)

Childhood stories best forgotten (if only I could)

My childhood was full of religious books and stories. Some of them I liked well enough and others I found very odd, even horrifying. I really did NOT like the stories about Christians being fed to lions. Because of stories like that I would seriously ponder whether I’d “renounce Christ” in order to be spared being used as lion bait. There were beheadings – John the Baptist’s head on a plate – crucifixions – of course – and all sorts of macabre tales for an impressionable child. This stuff messed with my head.

Not all were quite so dramatic as those I’ve mentioned. In fact, there were stories intended to hit closer to home. A whole series of them with illustrations. These were kept in our house and, as a kid who read constantly, I remember reading them mutiple times. Most are long forgotten (though likely still making hash out of my unconscious mind) but one in particular I remember. I’m going to tell it the way I recall it, which is to say generally, but if a few specifics are forgotten, the basic idea is intact.

A Little Girl lived with her parents in a fancy house with servants. The kid had everything she could possibly want. But did she appreciate it? No. She was a brat, sassed her parents, and was unkind to the servants; Cook, Maid, Gardener, and so on. So an Angel shows up to give Little Girl a tour of her future in heaven. Off the pair go. They start down a fine road. I’m a bit fuzzy here so let’s just say it’s a gold brick paved road for the sake of creating a picture for you. The first house they come to is a palatial spread (picture an antebellum, columned mansion if you need something to work with). “Is this my house?” asks Little Girl. No, says the Angel, that’s Cook’s house. Little Girl figures if COOK gets a crib like that, HER own house is going to really be amazing.

Angel and Little Girl continue down the road. They come to another huge, fancy house. “Oh that must be my house” says Little Girl. No, says the Angel, that’s Maid’s house. They go by one or two more fancy houses, made of the finest materials, each of which belongs to a servant. Little Girl is starting to get concerned. Why do the lowly servants get grand houses?

The road begins to deteriorate. It’s no longer paved. The trees by the road have no leaves. It’s getting creepy and downtrodden. There might as well be a “I’d turn back if I was you” sign. But the angel continues to take Little Girl down this path. Why, Little Girl wonders, are they going down this unpleasant road? Finally, they come to a pathetic, clay, one-room hovel. Little Girl is sure there must be some mistake. Whose house is that she asks? That house is yours says the Angel. Little Girl begins to sob uncontrollably beside her clay hut. How could this dreadful house be hers?

Angel explains that this is the house Little Girl’s crappy actions on earth are building for her here in heaven. But there’s a ray of hope. If Little Girl straightens up her act on earth, she might build a better house in heaven and move out of the clay district. Little Girl is all for that. She goes back to her home on earth and immediately commences being a sweet, Little Girl who gives nobody any problems. The End.

Short Thought 171 (Halloween)

At home on Halloween night, after the trick-or-treating hours had wound down, I heard a group of kids passing outside soon followed by the cry of a straggler, “Wait for meeee!” How charming I thought. What a universal plea. Haven’t we all said that at some point in our lives, if not lately, somewhere in the past?

These light-hearted musings were promptly followed by another. Gee: I hope they didn’t just vandalize something.