October 20, 2020

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan


Judged by celebrations of prior years, this Christmas and New Year have been among the most festive . The Doodlebug Island town council ordered new lights which arrived just in time to turn the Island into a fairy land. Tinsel, bunting, and a live Santa perched in a real sleigh decorated the Plaza, and the latter never failed to elicit a good deal of merriment, for the sleigh was pulled by eight goats who proceeded to eat whatever amount of hay was brought for the manger scene, and who individually and collectively demonstrated the herding qualities of Tea Party members imbued with the illogic of ‘birther’ complications or fantasies of such rich varieties as to boggle the mind of more rational people.

Now, the joyous mood of Islanders was, it must be acknowledged, in contrast to that of November when, like other thinking countrymen, we wondered what had happened to the America we thought we knew, and worried about an order based on incivility and arrogance. But such pessimistic views enjoyed only a brief shelf life before an innate sense of optimism and good humor returned, and we began finding the fun in the situation, making book on such matters as when impeachment proceedings will become the order of the day, and how, in ‘making America great again’, nothing substantive will get done.

To our dismay, many visitors who came to see the Island so beautifully decorated brought with them regrets concerning the election, apparently from the awkward position of being unable to digest it or spit it out. Why, a psychologist could have earned enough to buy an unstained tie and wear it home in a new Toyota Camry, while a psychiatrist could have gone home in a new tie, a Bentley, and the ability to afford the services of other psychiatrists in helping him deal with his own delusional reality.

One religiously over-wrought lady kept assuring herself and anyone unable to escape that “God picks our leaders.” But she’ll be alright. The fellows in white coats were understanding and kind. They sedated her and transported her to the mental facility in Phoenix where her family is encouraged to visit at irregular intervals and never bring up the subject of elections.

It’s entirely possible that each of us may stand in need of his own gurney ride from time to time, given the stresses of life, but the probability rate appears to go up when we consider the attitudes and actions of others. Winslow Osborne, for example, holds a benign phobia with regard to Christmas lights, and he retreats to his bedroom for the duration of the season. Much less benign is the phobia of Gustave Fleming whose belief is that a series of misdeeds in his probative years of late adolescence made him an enemy of God, and he labors to undo those mistakes through overt acts of kindness and a penitence bordering on the tiring redundancies of Saint Augustine whose ‘Confessions’ would inspire a thoughtful reader to murder him in his sleep if he weren’t already dead!

Well, in the inexorable way time has of consuming our lives, another year has rolled round, and we are reminded that it may be appropriate to take stock of our accomplishments, or the lack of them, and to make new promises to ourselves—something undramatic, easily forgotten, and non-guilt producing in omission. In short, the same resolves as last year and those of a goodly number of others. The simple truth is that we grow comfortable with our habits and our outlooks, so ideas of change are likely to undergo the same fate as time itself.

Now, before we put too sharp an edge on such philosophical excuse-making, there are a few changes in attitude or behavior I would urge on friends, but tact—together with pointed reminders from my wife—suggest (read that demand) a certain reticence, a trait that would, in all probability, take first place on a list of genuinely desired character improvements vis-a-vis New Year resolutions. Of course, a change I would like to effect involves those wifely reminders already mentioned, but here I really do practice reticence having learned that criticism seems to possess gender preference, that is, it appears to be rather heavily weighted in favor of those better angels to whom we’re married and whose efforts are intended to make us better husbands. This can be taken as a veridical, deserving a simple assenting ‘amen’ from those whose sex qualifies them to lift and fix things!

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