Just a reminder that Jan. 6 is the annual Feast of the Epiphany, the traditional date in the church calendar when the Wise Men showed up at the Manger at the instigation of the Evil One, and attempted to take over the stable where Jesus was born.

It seems the goal of these insurrectionists was to prevent the news of the holy child’s birth getting out.

According to the sacred tradition, the Wise Men then got into an altercation with the Shepherds, who had been waiting in the Inn with a bag full of weapons. This is why there had been no more room at the Inn, by the way. Anyway, a huge fight broke out leading to that well known and highly famous painting of the Little Drummer Boy hitting an ox over the head.

In the painting, the Drummer is standing directly in front of the ox, so that it seems the poor boy has horns coming out of his hat.

As a result of that legend all reference to the Drummer Boy was removed from scripture, as you can prove for yourself because there is no mention of him there.

Some people also believe that the Shepherds were responsible for trying to steal the ox and the ass, but I think that is just the kind of silly legend that grows up around these things after a few centuries.

Anyway, in the end it seems a Heavenly Host had to intervene to restore law and order in Bethlehem on Jan. 6 all those years ago, and the Evil One was last seen slinking out of town in an armored chariot, complaining that his rightful kingdom had been stolen and demanding a re-match.

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Speaking of the Prince of Peace, I have noticed something weird about photographs of Prince Harry, who is said to belong to a filthy rich family that no longer runs Britain, or even has much else to do but feud in the modern American reality-show manner.

He is almost always fiddling with the top button of his suit jacket. Not in absolutely every photo taken of him, but quite often. It is almost as though he is trying to signal something important to the waiting crowds, but nobody can seem to figure out what.

Well, I seem to have lost track of where I was going with this, so on to something else instead.

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Maine was among the most popular states to move to in 2022 says the Bangor Dreadful News, and as this is some kind of newspaper, I will assume they are right.

Certainly, there are almost no homes left for the more humble among us to live in, with rents being boosted through the roof by people moving here to escape the plague that was contagious in all the big cities a while ago. As a result, you can be asked to pay upwards of $2,000 a month for an unheated garage basement in Searsmont, and most new mortgages are now payable only in fresh blood.

This leads me to the inescapable idea that if you can’t beat them, copy them. I am announcing the planned development of a retirement colony for wealthy people who want to move to Maine.

These sumptuously modest tiny luxury accommodations will be built out of cardboard and canvas on the shore of an island I will create in the middle of Lake Chickawaukie, and will be known as Covid Cottages.

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For a long time I have been receiving large amounts of unwanted mail, all of it maliciously intended to point out that I will be older this year than I have ever been before in my life.

Thousands of letters have been reaching me at the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. There seems to be some sort of agreement among my correspondents that I desperately need to be specially insured in some strange way because I am soon going to be so darn old.

It all started, I suppose, in my early 40s when AARP wrote to say that without them my life would not be worth a red cent for much longer. I thought I had got away from them by using the brilliant tactic of ignoring them, but this last year the health insurance agencies seem to have found me instead, along with countless other unknown well-wishers.

If anyone else out there has ever experienced this unwanted degree of concern from absolute strangers who assume that 65 is some kind of meaningful age to reach, I would like to know. Something should be done!

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Several years ago, a gentleman from Rankin Street bought a Chinese teapot from the Goodwill store, and tells me he later identified it as an 18th-century thing worth a couple of hundred dollars.

It’s not a very brilliant anecdote, I agree, but once I had found out the details it seemed churlish not to mention it.

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Sitting in a Main Street coffee shop last week, I happened to glance at a poster taped inside the window. Because the poster is intended to be read from the street side of the window, what I saw from inside the café appeared in reverse, and for a moment I thought it was advertising a place called O hell, O hell, O books!

As I am a friend of bookshops, I interpreted this to be a place selling marvelous books; one hell of a bookshop.

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On account of advancing age (see bit above, etc.) I am getting used to the occasional creaks and groans that go with this new stage of life. When well-intentioned people ask me casually, “How are you?” I find it expedient these days to answer, “Good enough, thanks,” and avoid the facts altogether.

I no longer say I am “perfect” or “living the dream,” as many others do when greeted. It seems to me now that being good enough is actually good enough, something I wish I had known all along. It avoids having to admit to long lists of minor concerns or petty triumphs, which nobody really wants to hear about anyway, and when I explain all this to the people greeting me they seem rather relieved.

So, it was with some amount of interest that I read the other day an essay encouraging us to be satisfied with having simply what we need, and not grasping forever for more, which thereby potentially deprives others of what they need.

In other words, although talking about the national distribution of wealth is a giant leap from talking about greeting people without claiming to be as fit as a Greek god, it does share an underlying idea that it’s not necessary to be at the top of the human heap. In fact, being at the top of the heap is probably as much a cause for suspicion as anything else. After all, how did you get there, and who did you tread upon on the way up?

For example, it is widely known that a tiny percentage of Americans own a vast percentage of all the money that is swilling around in this fair country. At what point, then, does this national elite decide that it owns enough?

Probably never.

Along these lines, we read that it was the novelist Joseph Heller (“Catch-22,” etc.) who, while chatting to fellow novelist Kurt Vonnegut at a party, compared himself to very rich people by saying he has something they do not seem to have. Enough.

Certainly, it can be difficult to calculate just how much we need, just how much is enough. But it seems easier to know when some people simply have too much, potentially to the point where they are indeed depriving others of what they need. It is even easier to tell when some people do not have enough. And there are so many.

Another writer, George Orwell, once criticized yet another writer, Charles Dickens, saying Dickens wrote stories in which individual lives are improved when another human being decides to intervene and treat them nicely. Think about “A Christmas Carol,” for example, or “Great Expectations.”

Orwell argued that relying on the generosity of individual human beings to fix other people’s problems is a stupid way of hoping society can be improved. What we need are effective social systems that take on the problem and solve it for everyone, not just a favored few.

These hard questions and suggested solutions are at the root of all politics, and although very few people seem willing to admit it, I believe they are the root of the problems we face today in the USA. How we respond is, of course, not easy to agree on. Politicians globally have taken a few cracks at finding a solution, and it has been suggested from time to time that our current system is far from brilliant.

For example, we know that the collectivized use of national resources has been tried, only to prove how hard it is to decide what it is the people of any given country will need. A million agricultural tractors produced each year, but no butter? Rockets to the moon, but grinding urban poverty?

From the other end of the playbook, directing vast resources to a few has also been tried, on the equally peculiar assumption that concentrated wealth will naturally drip down the social ladder into the pockets of those who genuinely need it. But as far as solving the problem of addressing need is concerned, this seems to have been no more helpful than the general problem experienced with tractors and butter.

A recent US president got himself into quite a pickle by promising to improve the lives of both the rich and the poor in this country, but it soon became clear he was capable of neither and did not seem to care in the end. Promising the world is one thing. Knowing how to deliver is quite another.

So, the question is still before us. How do we make things better for people? Not how do we make everyone a billionaire, but simply how do we make things good enough for as many people as we can?

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com.