Refusing to be comforted

By David Grima | Dec 21, 2012

Brothers and sisters, please stand for the annual wintertime Liturgy of Economic Priority. You will see before you in the pew an Order for the Service of Bills as follows.

1. The sacrament of Heat

2. The blessing of Food and Water

3. The rite of Gasoline

Following the service there will be an Order of Remainders, which in most parishes is not considered to be canonical but is rather seen as Apocryphal, except on days of absolute obligation:

1. The telephone

2. The internet

3. The TV

* * * * *

I have been asked why I do not move into the grain tower, rather than attempt to survive the coming winter on top of it. Indeed it is a thing I have often contemplated. The trouble is, there is no actual inside other than the basement floor, which I would have to share with rats and expired pigeons. All else is open to the ceiling.

Anyway, the view is better from up here, except during rain, fog, snow, dark of night…

* * * * *

The other morning I experienced a cultural shock. It was as though I had suddenly landed a parallel twilight universe in which Germany had won the war and then said sorry, the Indians discovered Europe, health insurance was a human right, the United Nations was headquartered in St. George, Owls Head had street signs warmly welcoming people to all its dead-end neighborhoods, and Rockland was the capital of the world. Yes, it was a shock of this magnitude.

It began when I showed a friend a joke photo (you may have seen it) featuring a doctored image of the "Star Wars" movie character Han Solo wearing a yarmulke, and a caption saying “Put the Han Back in Hanukkah.”

She stared at the photo, and said I just don’t get it. I was baffled to begin with, then astonished at her failure to immediately understand.

Come to find, this person whose name I will not reveal to protect her in her innocence, has never seen the movie "Star Wars." Never, not once, in her life. I had no idea there were such culturally destitute people left alive in America. The effect of this discovery upon me was as described above.

Nevertheless, in the space of five minutes I found two other women nearby who have never seen "Star Wars" either. “It’s not exactly a chick flick,” one of them told me, as though that explained anything.

Appealing to the others in the room, I found one gentleman who dates the unraveling of his first marriage to the day he dragged his first wife to see "Star Wars."

Maybe I needed to have my perspective on my fellow human beings rearranged in this way. But it was a brutal experience, and I think someone could have broken it to me more gently.

* * * * *

I saw a man wearing his torn summer clothes on Union Street the other day. Later I saw a woman in the library wearing the thinnest of old summer shoes, carrying her possessions in plastic bags.

Where do the homeless go when the homeless shelter is shut and empty? It was not the best place to put a homeless shelter, out there in the empty Rockport countryside, but at least it was there even if operations did begin to unravel in these last years and the board members who were supposed to oversee things seem to have vanished into thin air.

* * * * *

There has been much rumpus of late about the way the Supreme Court decided that corporations more or less have the same rights as human beings, including the right to pour huge wads of cash into electoral and legislative politics.

If I were a member of the Supreme Court, which would naturally be based here in the world capital of Rockland, I would introduce a simple legal test to see if corporations should indeed have the same rights as human beings.

Real people bleed.

* * * * *

In my eternal vigilance over state government websites, I noticed recently that the Maine Film Office touts Portland Headlight as a potential location for making movies.

I presume the Portland Headlight is located somewhere at the front of the Portland Automobile? As a washed-up former newspaper editor, I could not avoid mentioning this.

* * * * *

It would not be Christmas without Fabulous Bob wearing his corny old button, which consists simply of a letter L with a strike mark through it.

If you don’t get the joke, and I have seen many people wrack their brains and scratch their heads in a vain attempt to crack this Yuletide Code, then maybe I’ll explain it later.

* * * * *

I was told last week that a certain baby being born in Manhattan this month cannot be visited for three weeks by anybody who has not had a full course of shots.

There is some fairly pointless debate about when exactly the Three Wise Guys visited our baby Lord and Savior, whether ‘twas in the stable itself or some time later when the family had gone back home. Imagine if they had been obliged to line up for vaccinations before being let in to see the manger and give their presents.

* * * * *

Speaking of that time long ago, the recent news of wanton death in Connecticut puts one in mind of the Slaughter of the Innocents, which is supposed to have been committed by a king anxious about his royal privilege and the threat that one tiny child was believed to represent.

"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

However I have resolved to say nothing more, nor even to engage in discussion, about this terrible thing. It is beyond my ability to say or do anything helpful, because it is already too late.

* * * * *

There are useful doubts, and there are damaging doubts. If we could only understand the difference it would be very helpful, I think.

* * * * *

It means Noel. No L. I am sure you get it now.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at or in the capital of the world.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 25, 2012 09:49

Although tongue and cheek comments seem innocu

ous, the depth behind is certain. Merry Christmas David, you will always find love and warm welcomes from all of us, your EFM family! Missed you at the gathering.

Mickey +:)

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