All the difference in the world

By David Grima | Feb 14, 2019

For once it’s not the weather that is making me shiver uncontrollably, huddled over a flickering candle here at the top of the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

What terrifies me this particular day is the new Trumpletax form that is spread out before me on the tree stump I use as a desk.

Will I come out ahead with my taxes this year, as I have managed to do (if ever so modestly) for all these years, or will I find myself owing the IRS my very last cent? It’s the question preying on everybody’s mind these days, or at least all the people who are as poor as I am and who still have a mind left.

Already people are lining up to take sides on this, the most pressing issue of our times. Lord Prez Trumpleton’s most devoted fans are already trumpling loudly about the marvelous benefits of last year’s tax reform, praising the Lord Prez to the skies.

Meanwhile, his resolute opponents are broadcasting tales of terror about how ordinary people are suddenly finding themselves drowned in perpetual debt, bondage and chattel slavery in order to pay off their tax bills, as demanded by the revised Trumpletax law.

Which is the truth? Which way will it go for me? Will I live or will I die?

Suddenly the nervous tension generated by this tax-time horror becomes too much for me. Already a thousand pencils lie, chewed into a soggy, fibrous mass, on the floor of my cardboard refrigerator box, the result of my many failed attempts to fill out the Deadly 1040 Form. I cannot take this any longer.

I reach for the juice-can-and-string telephone that links me to the Oval Office. There is only one way to deal with this tension, I assure myself. I have to talk to the Lord Prez (a dear friend) in person. He will surely tell me whether I have anything to fear, other than fear itself.

The conversation goes a little like this:

“Trumpleton here!”

“Lord Prez, it’s me from Rockland.”

“What can I do for you? By the way, it wasn’t very funny when you complained last week about not having that Wall along the Canadian border. I’m doing my best, you know. A little flexibility would be very, very appreciated.”

“I am truly sorry, Lord Prez. I have done that which I ought not to have done, and have left undone that which I ought to have done, and I most humbly repent.”

“So, what’s up?”

“It’s about my Trumpletaxes this year, Blessed Lord Prez. The very thought of doing them is making me extremely nervous right now, and I was hoping you could give me some pointers, and perhaps let me know if they will come out the way I hope.”

“What do people say?”

“Some say all is well, that in the midst of this wicked world you are still looking out for we little ones upon whom your many blessings are normally expected to fall.”

“Huh.” (At this point I could hear him yelling to somebody in another room.) “OK, go on.”

“Others say this is the day when the final Turn of the Screw will crush us all, and Eternal Darkness will descend upon our broken bones, heralding the End Times and forever cutting us off from your Glory. Which will it be, Oh Lord?”

“Hell if I know. I haven’t had anything to do with taxes in decades.”

* * * * *

Now for a philosophical gem, the sort of thing that occurs to me once in a while, and which in this case occurred to me last Sunday night.

If you know what it is you trust in, then you will be free to accept that the details of what exactly you believe about it can change over time, as you grow to trust more. It is the ultimate kind of freedom.

The only problem with this insight is that, apparently, it applies to both Good and to Evil.

If what you trust is Good, you will soon come to realize there is no need to be dogmatic about the exact details, because Good things cannot produce evil. Trust what is Good, and you will be Free.

Likewise, but somehow in the opposite way, if what you trust in turns out to be Evil, then it doesn’t matter a fig what you believe about it. It will eventually destroy you, never mind what you say you believe about it.

This idea came to me after many years spent pondering on the subject. Here is an example of what it might mean in practice.

Take the frequent diatribes contained in the strange column that normally shares this page in the newspaper. It worries me that the sort of stuff they write (and other stuff like it that appears all day and every day in this modern world) could eventually prove to be disastrous.

The long, accusatory harangues and the obscure political arguments, which are printed here and in a hundred similar places, don’t really amount to anything much in themselves. But they might possibly lead to Evil and to a Bad End.

You see, it’s not what they say that really matters so much. Not primarily, anyway. It’s the substance of where they have chosen to place their trust, the unsafe foundation upon which they have chosen to make a stand, which makes all the difference.

All the difference in the world.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 15, 2019 13:15

Wow! David you are sooo profound!



If you wish to comment, please login.