Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

COAL IN OUR STOCKINGS

A Christmas Meditation

          In old Depression times the above could have two meanings: for being so poor that a lump of coal (a precious commodity then) was all a kid could expect in a holiday stocking; or punishment for being bad before Christmas—both harsh lessons in life for youngsters.

          Today we’re putting it there ourselves. We’re bad to the bone and soon will wonder why our lives have become impoverished due to attitudes and actions of recent years, for we are in blessed denial of the current pandemic. Yes, there was some resistance to doing the smart thing during the one of some 100 years ago, but nothing to the extent of today. Or take the later Polio epidemic: remember how no one, but no one, wanted to end up in an Iron Lung?

          Today, half the population thinks it’s smarter than Fauci and all those who actually know a thing or two, and are following their own lies, hunches and jack-leg news sources to avoid needles, masks and close contact amid concerts and athletic events.

          Dare we think to get away with this? Our muddle-headed behavior will bring more “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 and its emerging variants as well as new spikes in death among the un-vaxed. We are literally headed for a holocaust from a Beast that long ago could have been neutralized save for our recalcitrance.

          We resist the simplest measures to save ourselves and others via immunization, masks, hand-washing and keeping our distance. But, oh, what a burden we feel the experts have laid upon us!—meanwhile grown men still wear ball caps uncomfortably turned around, and butt-crack jeans, while kids sport backpacks themed with all sorts of  trendy video heroes. Kids’ COVID masks would be an equally easy sell but such would be an imposition on “freedom” and a concession to “government” that would be an offense to God and our precious egos.

          Not to mention the fear of needles. Even big, strong athletes wreck their future health in the pursuit of fame and fortune, but are fearful of a pin-prick.

          In a life and galaxy now very far away, I was very hard on the so-called Me Generation, which I declared to be a pandemic of its own in the making—you know, the Coming of the Millennials–who pounced on me like jackals. I merely asked then what I’m asking again: Did we think we’d get away with that ridiculous notion of self-ness that at the time permeated everything from gurus of the day, therapists, preachers and vote-seekers?

          Well, it’s here, and it’s why we are where we are with COVID. But you can’t tell us what to do because we’re all Einsteins.

          Ronald Reagan, America’s pet cowboy in the day, piled on, telling us that government was our enemy, so he’s to blame for that lasting part of the equation. Of course, he said it so he could get elected, run the government, and drive the national debt to new heights amid conspicuous consumption—all in the name of Rugged Individualism.

          The Bagavad Gita is an ancient tale of a warrior standing amid a vast plain on which two great armies are poised for mutually assured destruction, when he notices that beloved friends and kinsmen are on both sides and he desperately wants to call it all off. But his charioteer, the god Krishna, lays on him the daunting truth—that everything they’ve done before has led to this perilous moment that now must be endured.

          It is a tale of the journey of the human soul, with the lesson that to change an effect we must change the causes of it. That’s karma.

          We’ll soon want to call off this pandemic, but it’ll be too late. To avoid another, we’ll need to change our ways.

          It’s an old story: while “things” may change, human nature does not. It is our greatest enemy, and the big lump of coal in our stockings.

         

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