Insisting it cannot be true

By David Grima | Dec 19, 2013

Saturday, Dec. 14, a bright and very cold morning, barely a cloud to be seen. I am beginning to regret leaving my Christmas tree stand outside all year where it fills regularly with water and now is frozen solid, and am concerned that it will never thaw before I try to use it again. This will require chipping and cracking, which will require a degree of physical effort I have not budgeted for.

At the dump this morning I had to explain to the Guardian Of All Trash that I will need a new sticker for my new(ish) car. (See last week for some uninteresting details on the car situation, although I really wouldn’t bother.) I was told to register the new car first, but was at least allowed dispose of the week’s trash. What there is of it. Being only a solitary dweller in these concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, I do not really produce a whole lot of trash each week, and what I cannot burn for heat the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse usually pick over for breakfast.

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Later Saturday morning I went into St. Bildad’s By The Sea to check out the noise coming from inside, and found two people rehearsing a duet in Latin for the Festival of Carols and Lessons planned for 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 22. (Shameless plug.) Asked to make observations about their dramatic presentation, I noticed their Yuletide Latin pronunciation was not quite in agreement. Everyone knows Latin is hard to pronounce because nobody knows what the rules are any more, because all the Romans who knew how to speak it properly are long dead. Bloody Romans.

At issue was the word “Te” which means “You”. One singer sang it like “Tea,” as in the phrase “the Tea Party is ruining our poor country with a self-righteous agenda of bitterness, selfishness, and petty dispute.” The other sang it like “Tay,” as in the phrase “the River Tay in Scotland drains into the Firth of Tay where it joins the North Sea just beyond Dundee, which might be a good place for the Tea Party to spend the holidays.”

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As I sit here on top of the south tower inside a hollowed-out mountain of snow, sort of like an igloo but badly made, I find myself asking questions about global warming. Are these concrete towers the best place for me to ride out the effects of it? How high will the waters rise, and will the top of my towers be swamped? Stuff like that. I suppose I might remain dry by a few feet, but what would be the point of surviving alone up here if everyone else I know and love has drowned or (even worse) fled to Appleton?

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Reflecting on the weird denial of belief in global warming that has overtaken so many fellow humans, I began to see the dim outline of a possible explanation. You notice that much of the denial arises in parts of the country which are at most risk of suffering if global warming continues. I suggest, if only tentatively, that perhaps these people are in a state of denial because they are actually in a state of despair. You know how this works. If something is so awful, so difficult to accept, many of us react by locking up our minds and insisting it cannot be true. I heard of a man who went to bed when W was elected, and didn’t get up for eight years. Personally, I do denial 20 times a week on all kinds of subjects including denying that I ever needed a new car, an act of self-delusion I was able to sustain for a long time, though not quite eight years. So I know what I am talking about.

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I am told it is now 240 years since certain men of Boston, possessing neither television nor Internet, and with nothing better to do on a cold December night than cause trouble, dressed themselves up as Indians and tossed tea into the harbor. If only they had lived today, poor souls, surely we could have found them some more interesting ways to pass the time. And there would have been none of that fuss that followed.

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I hear Peter O’Toole is dead, which is a great pity. I was about to invite him to my rooftop Christmas party. I wanted him to wear those robes he wore in “Lawrence of Arabia." I had such high hopes, too. Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and now O’Toole; I waited too long to invite them over, and now they are gone. I am told that Burton was buried wearing red socks because he was a Welshman.

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Spanish Bob wrote to say he went recently to a cemetery in Granada whose wall is riddled with bullet holes. During the Spanish Civil War, Republicans were lined up against the wall and shot. He said he went and stood against their wall and saw that the last view the poor prisoners had of this sinful world was truly beautiful.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at

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