Animadversions.

The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Exegesis.

March 25th, 2005 · No Comments · Misc., Politics, Rants

I hate when it rains on Good Friday.

It spooks the reptilian bits of me that were basted in Catholicism as a kid. Makes me consider skipping dinner… ya know… just to be SAFE.

11:30 last night. Someone grabs my arm as I leave the bookstore near my office (the only place still open late on a Thursday in this little village of polite, suburban consumerism that served Hot Caffeinated Something). I wheel around, ready to dump a half-gallon of skin-peeling “get-the-hell-off-of-me” onto what my fevered brain immediately assumes is a drunk or a mugger or worse. Instead, a doe-eyed kid is staring back at me, a stack of cards clenched in his hand.

“Ticket?” he asks.

“Pardon?”

“Ticket. You got a ticket?”

He thrusts one of his cards in my face. I take it without thinking and, before I get a chance to look at it, an oafish fireplug of angry Fatherhood is dragging the kid away from me by the back of his jacket.

“What did I tell you? Stop standing where they can see you from inside the store.”

He shakes the kid, who nods and stares at his feet.

I look at the card.

Do you need a ticket to Heaven? If not, tear this one up.

Followed by the standard Christ-brand salvation gimmicks. At the bottom, in small print: DO NOT LITTER.

Cute. A modern commandment for this fearsome Year of Our Lord, 2005.

I put the card in my pocket and step out into the wind and the rain. The kid - now safely away from the prying eyes of Chain Bookstore Employees and other Enemies of The Faith - is loping awkwardly toward other exiting patrons.

“Ticket?”

His father stands off in the shadows. Watching.

***

These are strange times.

It’s been hard to calibrate myself as of late. Tracking the news these days is like swimming in cotton. It gets in your mouth and your eyes and your ears. Makes it hard to see. Hard to speak. Hard to hear. Whenever I try to think Big Picture, it feels like waking up from a pleasant dream in an utterly foreign place. Not hostile - but wildly, disorientingly strange. Inscrutable. Dangerous.

The following thought has been rattling around in my head for a while now, trying to go somewhere:

George W. Bush will be remembered as an American god.

This is neither good nor bad. Just a fact. Time will pass. Wars will end. And my fellow citizens will let the cotton build up until all that’s left is Bush the Conquering Hero. Liberator of the oppressed. Peacemaker. Beloved avatar of veritas and aequitas. An unfaltering caricature of the REAL man, forever remembered as one who brought Light to a Dark World.

We like to remember things in broad strokes. Lincoln freed the slaves (but didn’t tread recklessly upon the Constitution). FDR ended the Depression (but didn’t undermine the delicate balance of power in our nation by packing the bench or wildly expanding Federal authority). Truman won the War (but didn’t kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people to do it). JFK was our Crown Prince (but didn’t bring us within mere hours of The End). Nixon was a monster - all Grendel and Shylock (but not the man who opened the impenetrable doors to China and set the stage for the end-game against Communism that Reagan would randomly inherit).

One day, when there’s enough cotton to go around, Bush will join the ranks of the New Divine. Like high fashion, low art and television all rolled into one. Right up there with Honest Abe. Bigger than the Gipper. In time, certainly bigger than JFK or FDR.

This fact doesn’t worry me so much as it makes me feel profoundly nauseas.

I wonder how much of what I think (or THINK I think) is real. Knowing the score now but seeing where things are headed makes me wonder what the hell the point of paying attention actually is in the first place.

In a week, the Church of Bush will have a new Saint - a martyred woman who crippled herself with vanity and then became a slop-trough for our nation’s ravenous fringe. Add her to the pantheon of brave airline passengers repelling foreign invasion at 20,000 feet and of football players bravely mowed down by friendly fire and of carefully selected hyphenated [whatever]-Americans proudly rallying to the Cause of Freedom and cheering this week’s military “intervention.”

Yep. That’s good company. She’ll be a magnetic bumper ribbon by this time next month. Never Forget her and her brave struggle.

Support Life, whenever it’s weird enough.

***

So what to do? Stay home and fast? Tear up the ticket? Crawl back in bed and let the cotton pile up and keep me warm and happy and safe?

Sometimes, when it rains on Good Friday, I don’t know, but today, I think I’ll get up, go out and have a steak.

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