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)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Devil Walls

Well, here I am safely ensconced in the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily bread and it is snowing outside. The snow started slowly at first, as snow is wont to do, and now the stuff is falling at a good clip and I am wondering when the powers that be in this place will make the decision to send us all home. Some of my co-workers have already slipped out the back, Jack, as the Paul Simon song says, but I fear that there will be no slipping for me, see. I am stuck. I am stuck because not only is it snowing outside, inside there is no access to the information superhighway, so that the public we serve with all our hearts can no longer use our computers to search for job sites, computer games, and free porn, and to ensure their access to all of the above, I must stay here in order to let in a computer / online services technician who is coming today to solve all of our digital access problems, providing, of course, he can get through the snow. So all is not well in my world, given that I would really like to get out of here before I have to cross-country ski my way home, but duty calls and I must remain. Frankly, that bites the big one.

Therefore, I must find ways to keep my mind occupied as the snow falls and the technician wanders blindly around the countryside following the instructions of an inferior GPS application and wondering why he didn’t listen to his mother and become a dope smuggler. Granted there are problems with the government-sponsored retirement system—not everyone can look stylish in orange, after all—but the work is incredibly remunerative and you can get rid of irate customers simply by blowing holes in them with automatic weapons and then leaving their bullet-ridden carcasses in the middle of the street, thereby informing any other disgruntled customers that they had better readjust their collective attitude and undisengruntle themselves quickly or else.  Gruntlement is a wonderful thing, you understand, especially if you know what’s good for you. He will, no doubt, still be thinking these charitable thoughts about his company’s customers when his inferior GPS application tells him he has arrived at his destination and the road signs tell him that he has arrived in New Canaan, Connecticut, which is not even vaguely close to where he is supposed to be.

In any case, everyone in this our Great Republic is talking about walls these days. I am not kidding; walls are all the rage now, the way Pet Rocks and gluten-free peanut butter waffles used to be. You can hardly turn on the television anymore without hearing some hoary old pol screeching that walls are ineffective, unpopular, and worst of all, immoral. This last is somewhat odd, or at least I think so; I went to parochial school for eight years and no one, not one priest, not one Christian Brother, not one nun ever said anything about walls being immoral. How could they? Monsignor O’Malley could hardly denounce a wall as being the equivalent of Communism or masturbation as threats to a good Catholic boy’s soul when the nuns charged with teaching us how to be good Catholics lived in a convent with a fifteen-foot wall topped with broken glass around it.[i]  The only walls that were even vaguely immoral, so far as I can remember, were the Berlin Wall (built by godless Red Communists, as if there were any other kind) and the walls around the city of Jericho, which fell because the people inside were ungodly (but not godless) heathens who did disgusting things with their neighbors and their neighbors’ cocker spaniels, things the nuns could not discuss in religion class, but that were definitely evil in the sight of the Lord, things so evil that the Canaanites deserved to have Robert Moses knock down their walls and push a six-lane freeway right through the heart of Jericho’s business district in order to connect Jericho to the Staten Island Expressway. In short, they had it coming. And all of God’s children said, Amen.

Since it appears that no amount of biblical exegesis will support the contention that walls are by definition malum in se, the amateur theologian must needs look to the motives of the people saying such a thing. Here we come across an interesting point: the most visible person making this contention is the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. The Speaker is, by her own admission, a devout Roman Catholic. However, the Speaker is also a well-known advocate of abortion rights, which puts her in conflict with the teaching of the very church whose doctrine she professes to believe. Since there seems to be no way to reconcile these two belief systems logically, the amateur theologian must therefore come to the conclusion that logic is not involved, that the only way the Speaker can reconcile the inherent contradiction between one set of beliefs and the other is to conclude that she is one of those politicians who would gut her own mother with a dull fish knife to get re-elected and whose political position and power is more important to her than any church dogma or political belief. In that context, then, we can understand her statement that walls are immoral. That which diminishes or threatens to diminish her political position is immoral, that which enhances her political power is moral; it’s not exactly Kant’s categorical imperative, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it works for her and what more can you ask of a philosophical system?

[i] The walls, in case you were wondering, were that high because an order of contemplative nuns originally owned the convent. The nuns—I think were French but I could be wrong about that—wished to live apart from the world and dedicate their lives to prayer and work, which was easier to do when the Bronx was part of Westchester County than it is nowadays. A century later, the Bronx having voted for inclusion in Greater New York in 1898, and the city having grown considerably since the founding of the convent, the nuns moved to a new convent somewhere near the Finger Lakes, it being easier to contemplate the mysteries of Christ’s suffering and dying for the sins of humanity when you don’t have to listen to the police sirens blaring at all hours of the morning, noon, and night.

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  • At 2:45 PM, Anonymous ETat said…

    Your captcha is malfunctioning! I tried and couldn't post a comment: have been redirected to endless crossings, streetlights and motorbikes.

    Aaanyway: wanted to recommend wordpress platform, due to upcoming closeout of the Blogspot. They have an import option (I archived all my LJ posts in 3 yrs).

  • At 12:01 PM, Blogger Akaky said…

    I didn't know about Blogspot; that really bites the big one.

  • At 12:49 PM, Anonymous ETat said…

    Yeah, Google is trying to economize...just like they did with Flikr. I had to pay for Profi status - just didn't have time to find out how to transfer my 10K photos out, before they erased them all.

  • At 1:17 PM, Anonymous ETat said…

    Wait. I think I alarmed you prematurely. They closing off Google+, not blogspot.


  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger Akaky said…

    Ive been paying for Pro status at Flickr for a while now
    Don't use it as much as I should.

  • At 9:28 PM, Blogger Akaky said…

    I just use the Google account. I can't stand the captcha thing

  • At 1:20 AM, Anonymous Dick Stanley said…

    So did you ever get home on that snowy day? Did you have to ski?


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