Rendered Fat Content


According to Sotheby's: Cats being instructed In the art of mouse-catching by an owl
Looks more like: A cat orchestra/choir directed by an owl, with sheet music made of little drawings of mice
Oil on canvas, circa 1700

"Yea, we can hear you now."

Each conflict seems to encounter its Midway Moment, an event that, while not fully resolving anything then, clearly presages an eventual outcome. I believe that this late July week just might have provided this cue. Though we're far from through with This Damned Pandemic, we seem to finally be taking it as seriously as it had been taking us for months and months. I see clear signs that we're no longer hawking bleach or hydroxychloroquine, and even Floridians and Texans seem humbled as their ICU beds fill to overflowing. Pandemics famously continue until. Until what is never obvious, but Damned Pandemics can be damned insistent, heartlessly continuing until we somehow catch on. Then we're playing catch-up for a long while. Few seem willing early on to trust mere knowledge or experience, and most want to rely upon their instincts, which have not yet evolved to fully understand the previously unexperienced challenge. We initially reject historical analogies as preposterous. We learn, painfully slowly, then we begin engineering a reckoning, a ReOpeningUp. Something seems to need to change within us before the changes we strive to engineer around us can come to anything but naught. This was the week that prefaced something different coming.

Extremism in pursuit of anything inevitably produces the opposite of its intention.
This seems to be the lesson experience teaches every extremist politician and every overly-evangelical Christian. The extoller's rhetoric eventually undermines itself. Promises passionately made and long unfulfilled kill themselves, usually with whimpers. The growing embarrassment yields a quiet confession. The hero turns cowardly. The outspoken eventually shuts his big yap. Many will insist that I'm ahead of events when I declare that the winds changed this week. Four years of unrepentant belligerence began collecting its comeuppance and a luft of fresher air first became apparent. I acknowledge that COVID-19 cases continue to exponentially rise and that our Repuglican Senators and Representatives remain publicly intransigent, but even they now know that they've painted themselves into a corner with no escape except to leave some very unsightly footprints on their painstakingly painted foundation, their legacy certain to be one of tacky ineptness. Good riddance!

The 2020 Major League Baseball Season opened last night with every player and manager on every team kneeling in humble acknowledgement, each uniform sporting a Black Lives Matter patch on the sleeve. Most would have not believed such an event possible with teams owned by the clotted cream of the top one percent of the most elite one percent, people with decidedly conservative bents, but the players, well-paid though they might now be, quietly insisted and apparently remembered from whence they came. Respect for our inherent diversity might still become an integral part of our creed. I hold this event as unprecedented and strong evidence that we're learning a certain humility. I might gratefully acknowledge the damned COVID-19 for tutoring us so diligently in the gentling arts of acceptance, that we're not necessarily in charge just because we're famous or rich or more politically-connected. It demanded respect and commanded strict punishment for those unwilling to yield, even on a freshly groomed playing field. An amended season with spitting strongly discouraged, masked managers mumbling instructions, and nobody in the stands because The Damned Pandemic demanded it.

Curiously, human agency never approaches its fullest possibilities until after acknowledging its actual authority, never without more properly accepting its natural limitations. No man can command the sun to rise or set according to any whim. After accepting where agency might begin, one might properly exercise it to engineer a win. Without this necessary concession, commandments amount to just so much expended wind. We have far to go before anyone will be able to declare a win in our ongoing competition with this fresh force of nature, but we have now successfully expended much of our initial foolishness and hubris. Now the real competition can begin. I find myself feeling grateful that we suffered a particularly awful presidency as this great challenge began, though I fully acknowledge that it produced a genuine human tragedy. Let us never forget the price of such hubris here. Let us now humbly accept a President not set on making provocative headlines, someone who might toil effectively in some basement producing perfectly reasonable responses to the continuing perturbations confounding us. We deserve no less.

For those former true believers, we might borrow a page from Lincoln's playbook. We might understand that they felt genuinely desperate and that their passion got the better of them, and that they're unlikely to sign up with another obvious charlatan anytime soon. We might welcome them back into the fold, and though some ever-smaller portion of them will continue to insist upon following those who have always lead them astray, we might find reason to tolerate a belligerent minority so long as they can no longer pretend to represent the decent majority. Another trickle down dream turned itself into its inevitable nightmare. Another armed insurrection melting back into the shadows from whence it came, representing an America in quite a bit less than name only. Now, we're poised for recovery, ReOpeningUp.

The following months will severely challenge each of us, but we're listening now. The next few years will hardly cheer us on, for what's been so long in coming will certainly be at least as long in going away, and many of us will probably not live long enough to see our renewal completed. We've begun. The sorcerer's spell no longer compels anyone to do anything, and we rightly wonder why we ever believed it could. Would that we could have been wiser sooner, that we might have come to know without going through such painful learning. Many suffered way too much and way too many died for our folly. We hear a better future calling us now, one we might prove worthy of concocting now that we've learned the terrible price of refusing to listen. Our Damned Pandemic screams, "Can you hear me now?????" The World Champion Washington Nationals, each team member on one knee, just before Dr. Fauci threw the ceremonial first pitch, seem to say, humbly, "Yea, we can hear you now."

Another Friday, but not just another Friday this week.

My writing week began wondering when we might finally go on something resembling a
WarFooting, though my readers resoundingly rejected that notion. "What we go to war against produces more of what we went to war to avoid," BJ Gallager insisted. Okay, I get it. The last thing we need is another war against anything.

I next considered all the crumbling conspiracy theories and conspiracy certainties surrounding me in
ConSpiriting. Some days, I swear I suspect myself.

I then attended a
Gathering, and left reminded of the limits of so-called social distancing. Not everything can happen via a Zoom call and we need not go all belligerent to connect or to ReOpenUp again.

I slipped into some philosophy when pondering
AnEcologyOfUnknowability. This Damned Pandemic has offered fresh opportunities to consider the limits of knowing and what gifts those limits might be offering.

I caught myself channeling my Junior High self, when I used to refuse to agree to take on unreasonable challenges, in
ChickenShit. We've been offered many opportunities to accept unreasonable challenges lately. I'm reassured that more and more are offering ChickenShit responses.

I recognized some space I long ago gained experience in with
LongDistance. I am not flitting around much anymore.

I ended my writing week by reflecting upon how difficult grocery shopping's become in
Backlisting. I seem to be adapting nicely, thank you. You probably are, too,

As I said above, we're not nearly through even the worst of this Damned Pandemic yet, but we seem to be righting the ship. I expect the accustomed insanity to continue to slip into well-earned ignominy, and a tangible sanity to slowly overtake us again. It was as if our body politic contracted COVID and lost its breath and some essential cognitive function for a while. We may well be hobbled as a result, but recovery now seems necessary and few deny the need for genuine treatment. We've finally encountered our Midway Moment.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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