Suitable for pondering upon
I saw a British movie on TV many years ago involving a flock of sheep in a field in springtime. All the sheep were lying down and rolling in agony, and their owner did not know what to do, or even what was wrong.
Then a farmhand stepped up, a fellow who claimed some knowledge of the fleecy beasts. As best I remember, he explained they had eaten something that tasted good at first, but which did not agree with them. It had swollen their poor sheepie tummies and was now causing severe regret and agony to spread flock-wide.
I think his cure involved creating some kind of vent in the sheep (use your own imagination – I couldn’t believe it, either) that allowed the bloating gas to escape, resulting in much happier sheep.
This is how I normally feel immediately after the holidays, such as we have apparently come through yet again. They always seem sweet at first, and we fill up on this annual confection of the soul. Soon, however, the effect turns in another direction. It is suddenly plain as the nose on your face that it has all been a bit too much, and people are like sheep suffering from psychological or spiritual bloating. (Isn’t “bloating” a wonderful word?)
One problem, I suppose, is that whosoever prepared the recipe for Christmas wildly overestimated the amount of sugar that should be used. Indeed, one could argue that none is needed at all for the recipe to work to our best advantage.
The Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse did indeed try to observe Hanukah and Kwanzaa this year, instead of Christmas. All I can say is that they seemed perfectly content until they realized about Monday evening that neither holiday has much use for Santa and other similar confections. Then, revealing their true commercial souls, they suddenly tried to revert to Christmas, but it was too late.
That particular sugarland express had left the station.
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Even the dear people of St. Bildad’s got into the confectionary game this year, for as the Christmas Day service ended and the music struck up for the recessional, we realized it was not one of your normal church tunes. One by one, you could see people breaking into smiles, as they figured out the pianist was playing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” rather than something more liturgical.
However, I have to say "Rudolph" went down rather well with those of us who recognized it for what it was. I am sure many others did not figure it out at all.
It reminds me of a Christmas Eve service at St. Bildad’s a decade ago, when the priest got us all to sing “Joy to the World,” in the version by the band Three Dog Night that came out in the fall of 1970: “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, etc.” It was quite the innovation, and went down rather well with the vast crowd gathered in the pews those years ago.
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Here are some words of wisdom suitable to our times: “Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.” The idea is found in a novel called “The Manticore” by Canadian writer Robertson Davies, and I thought I would mention it as highly suitable for pondering upon.
As I understand it, the phrase tells us that people who are overly serious about certain kinds of things are really nowhere quite as sure about them as they pretend to be. Wherever we find fanatics, we are really looking at people who are riddled with doubts and uncertainty, but who are afraid to reveal it. Indeed, the strength of the fanaticism demonstrated can perhaps be seen as a measure of how uncertain the parties actually are, or how afraid, which I think is the real point as it applies to modern times.
People who are particularly strident, loud, angry and demanding, especially in the field of politics – are they actually dealing with fear and doubt which they dare not show? Perhaps you will have your own opinion on this.
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I don’t believe completely in anybody’s powers of prediction, let alone newspaper columnists who are trying to fill space when their heads are empty. But despite this rational observation, I cannot help but express one possibility, which amounts almost to a fear: that Lord President Trumpleton is actually lining things up to run the United States for his own personal economic advantage.
For example, I understand the Army is to be laid off and the job offered to the lowest bidder from the private security field. No doubt these security contractors will have to hire most of the laid-off soldiers to fill the vast number of openings that have suddenly become vacant, but at about one third of their current wages. Trumpleton will require the federal government to rent offices from his hotel and real estate empire, thereby enriching himself from the public purse.
In this he will become a kind of reproduction of Wicked Vladimir, Emperor of All the Russias, who long ago found out how to run Russia for his personal monetary gain. This would be why the pair of them seem to get along so swimmingly, although clearly Vlad has the upper hand over us at the moment.
It is to be hoped that I am wrong.