We were never as clever as we thought

By David Grima | Nov 23, 2012

Last week I was able to pry open a small hole in the roof of my old house, the one that sank below street level into the mud last spring, and was able to get my hands on a few supplies for the coming holiday.

I am resisting the notion of celebrating Thanksgiving by roasting a seagull. Not that I would actually eat such a stringy and greasy beast, but that it might remind these uppity gulls that live with me in the grain towers just who has an opposable thumb and a highly-developed brain.

To my way of thinking, the gulls have been getting a bit obnoxious lately. Matthew Gull even had the cheek to try and get me to admit that the president is not Irish. The other three gulls just looked at me disdainfully, until I threatened them with a spell of duty in the hamster wheel. They soon took off.

Anyway, as I was burrowing my way back into my subterranean house on Linden Street, I reflected on how those Plymouth Brethren of yesteryear were at first obliged to dig holes and cover the tops over with branches, just to avoid living outdoors in that bleak winter of 1620.

If ever you doubted that England sent over its least qualified citizens aboard the Moonflower, you only have to ask why it never occurred to them that it might have been better to arrive in the New World in the spring of year, instead of late fall.

I mean, they didn’t get here until November, and by the following February half of them were dead. And these are people we look back on with pride as our glorious forefathers, etc.? Forefathers they might have been; foresight they had not. Daft as brushes, if you ask me.

* * * * *

Speaking of trying to understand strange things, I was speaking to a young gentleman the other day who had just voted in his first presidential election, he not being of age for the previous one.

Nevertheless, although he could not vote in 2008 he said had he felt compelled to read the Book of Leviticus, in an attempt to understand certain political rantings commonly being made back then by people of a certain political bent.

I told him I thought that was an admirable attempt to come to terms with what people were arguing about. He said it didn’t help him understand a blessed thing.

* * * * *

Wandering a little off course between my grain tower and the sunken house, I came across a tree that has apparently been planted quite recently near the South End beach. It still has its $175 price tag attached. I hope it survives its first winter in the neighborhood.

* * * * *

It was an interesting apposition of stories that caught my attention on the front page of the Big Deadly News the other day.

The left column was occupied with news about Maine voters’ approval of marriage for all sorts of humans. (“Let them marry and be as miserable as the rest of us,” is the most memorable comment I heard on that subject. Can’t remember who said it, though. Wasn’t me.) The right column on the page was given over to the news that the head of the CIA, David Petraeus, had quit his job because he’d been “taken in adultery.”

Now, to my way of thinking, this would have been the perfect moment for all those people who insist we should model our laws and customs on the Old Testament to stand up and demand that the Silly Goose be dragged to the public marketplace and stoned to death.

And yet – not a word. Nothing. Not a single demand for a public stoning, not even from Alabama. What can have gone wrong? Have we suddenly lost our moral compass?

* * * * *

Talking of silly geese, I hear that Bonnie Prince Charlie of Wales now drives cars that are fueled by such esoteric fluids as wine residue and used cooking oil.

One report gives out that he has an Austin Healy that is fueled by wine, while another claims that it is the Aston Martin that he was given for his 21st birthday all those years ago. Not sure which is accura(te). (Figure out the pun for yourselves.) He apparently has several Jags, Audis and Range Rovers, too.

Anyway, I suppose we can be glad Charlie drives cars that consume wine residue and used cooking oil, and not the other way around. Cars fueled by used wine would not be my ideal choice for an environmentally-friendly award.

* * * * *

Have we reached the end of an epoch, with the closure of Hostess, the company that has given the world the unique gift of Twinkies? Everything changes and nothing stays the same, as I have heard, but to live in a world without Twinkies… It’s what seagulls like best.

* * * * *

I hope Thanksgiving finds you with something to be reasonably thankful for. I hope to be dining with friends and others, in the Independent Republic of Owls Head. (Motto: Just Go Away.) Among them, my old pal Dreadful O’Meara of the Bangor Disgraceful News has been invited.

There was a time, when we were oh so younger than today, when O’Meara and I used to gather on Thanksgiving Eve to drink whiskey. I don’t think we actually had the wit to drink Wild Turkey brand, but then we were never as clever as we thought we were.

We still aren’t.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com, or by dropping a note into the hole in his backyard.

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