The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

WINTER TIME BLUES: My apologies, everyone, for the lack of posting since this past Tuesday. As you may have heard, the northeastern United States, in which section of this our Great Republic you will find our happy little burg situated, has had any number of problems with precipitation this past week. I would not mind this so much; I ordinarily take such problems in my stride, treating them with an aplomb that astonishes and amazes all those around me; but this week the shear pins on my snow blower took the eponymous opportunity available to them and sheared right off, rendering my blower useless. It would have made little difference if they hadn’t; the snow, followed by icy rain and then more snow, was as hard and heavy as an IRS agent listening to a tale of financial woe, and subsequently I had to chop nature's own concrete up before shoveling the vile stuff away. After several hours of this, I had aches and pains in places I would have thought too small to hold such a large collection of agonies, a condition that left me largely devoid of the necessary spirit of humor and whimsy needed to pump one of these screeds out.

The Sanitation Department, however, is doing its usual bang-up job when it comes to removing snow from the city streets. Having called five times to ask them when they were going to plow my street, I’ve learned that they are now officially thinking about plowing out Main Street, if they can get around to it before August. As you might imagine, large numbers of the citizenry are not happy with the idea of cross-country skiing in an imported car and so have taken to shoveling the snow out the streets on their own. I noticed one such more or less unsuccessful attempt at the local Reformed Church yesterday. The Reformed Church used to be the Dutch Reformed Church, before a synod decided that maybe salvation was not a condition limited to Dutch people in particular or Calvinists in general. So they have dropped the ethnic modifier and are now merely Reformed, and when they are not busy reforming themselves they are busy pushing the snow out of their parking lot and into the middle of the street with a backhoe. I don’t think they were actually trying to do this; I think they were trying to find a way of clearing their parking lot and the street at the same time, but found, to their chagrin, that there was no way of having their meteorological cake and eating it, too. There was no way of clearing their parking lot without dumping the snow in the middle of the street, and no way of clearing the snow without putting it back in their parking lot, thereby defeating the whole purpose of moving the snow in the first place. Complicating this, of course, was a good healthy dose of Calvinist guilt, which came from these good folks wanting to be selfish and clear parking lots for themselves at the expense of others, and Christ’s command to love your neighbor as yourself, which doesn’t explicitly forbid dumping the snow from your parking lot in the middle of the street, but does seem to frown on the practice.

What was especially interesting in all of this was the sign in front of the church, which announced to all who passed by that they should wear the colors of the Cross. I found this fairly interesting, in that while I’ve heard many debates one way or the other about the philosophical, theological, and historical meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, I’ve never heard a debate about the event's meaning in terms of fashion. In fact, I’d never heard that color coordination was theologically relevant to the Crucifixion at all; I suppose this is one of those dogmas, like predestination, peculiar to the Calvinist confession. I know that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which are usually pretty mindful of fashion trends, don’t have much to say one way or the other about what to wear to crucifixions, although I am told that the Church of the Nazarene holds that one should always wear a seersucker suit and Argyll socks to a hanging, and that the Assemblies of God think that a nice navy blue blazer is the thing to die in if you’re going to a lethal injection. I haven’t heard about any other denominational preferences in terminal fashions, but I am sure that the one thing all Christian denominations would agree on theologically is to make absolutely sure that if you are going to an execution, make absolutely certain that you are wearing clean underwear.

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