There’s a story told of a man named Dwight Morrow who was on his regular train ride when the conductor asked for his ticket. Apparently Morrow was a bit absent-minded and couldn’t find it.
The conductor, who knew him well, told him not to worry, just mail it in when you find it.
“I know I have it,” Morrow said, “but I need it. What I want to know is where in the devil I’m going.”
Despite all the reassuring words being plastered upon us, as if from a whipped-cream dispenser, about our recession (nee depression), there’s a lot of us can relate to Morrow’s dilemma. The dilemma was heightened when a newscast revealed the depth of the recession, reporting 70,000 factories have closed in China in the last year or so. That’s much more definitive than the whipped-cream language, which is about as helpful as this Archie Bunkerism: “What was, was; what is, is; and what’s gonna be, is gonna be.”
A saving grace may be an injection of some old advice from Aldous Huxley: “A little ruthless laughter clears the air as nothing else can do; it is good for us, every now and then, to see our ideals laughed at, our conception of nobility caricatured; it is good for solemnity’s nose to be tweaked, for human solemnity to be made to look ridiculous.”
Disorder in the Court, for example. A book which tells some of the exchanges recorded, word for word, by court reporters working in our legal system. Imagine having to keep a straight face while recording these exchanges. Oh, and if you’ve been wondering about our justice system, perhaps these will help in your deliberations.
1) Q: What is your date of birth? A: July 15th. Q: What year? A: Every year.
2) Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice, which I sent to your attorney? A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
3) Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people? A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? A: No. Q: Did you check for blood pressure? A: No. Q: Did you check for breathing? A: No. Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? A: No. Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor? A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless? A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law somewhere. (Careful, Doc!)
Maybe our children, in their naivety, really do have a better grasp on things than we do. A Grade 6 history class somewhere in Canada gave us these versions of history, some as relevant and entertaining as many of the current crop of “home movies” on our television networks.
1) Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
2) Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.
3) Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.
4) In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits and threw the java. (A recession-style Olympics idea from the mouths of babes, wot?)
We live in hope that these tales are merely tales and not an indication of the current state of our world and the people on it. But, hey, not to worry. A special day, “National Pizza With the Works except Anchovies Day,” is coming – soon!
A tip of the hat to George Carlin, his insight, and his incite. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Another tip of the hat to comedians, and thinkers.
May the thinkers prevail, and be listened to, while the comedians keep our spirits up as we the people work together through this dilemma with our share of life’s moments to take our breath away. Actually, where we live can do that every so often – so we should be OK!