23 February 2011

"All God's Children Got Hemoglobin"*

I admit, I'm plumb wrung out.  This winter has taken the measure of me.  I'm not in that "The Shining" frame of mind I was in last year (remember the 38 inches of snow in one wallop? I do. Grrr.), it's not that wound up.  No, this winter, it's a global feeling of running out of gas.  There's been a lot of change, upheaval and such in the fair Republic of Gumbolia in the past 365, and I am most certainly not a clocker.  I'm tired in body and mind.

When I get in this frame of mind, my view of humanity tends towards more jaundice than usual.  The antics and yammerings of human beings, great or small, tend to get even deeper under my skin, plucking my last damn nerve like it was the Devil's banjo.  Through gray-tinted glasses, the peeps, they bug me.

In all candor, I yell a lot more on my commutes.  I mutter, and comment on others' shortcomings, real and imagined.  It's a reflex action, one I am hard pressed to damp down when fatigue has unlatched the gate that keeps my reptilian, brutish self safely in its pen.

This troubles me, because at heart, I am not a ill-tempered lout.

Today was not an easy workday.  No terminal crises, but plenty of petty stresses and problems that wouldn't stay solved.  I left the office in bad humor, trailed by a little black cloud swirling over my head.  When I arrived home, I treated myself to the luxury of a beer before dinner, carefully imbibed while slumped on the couch to take in a little news.

Not the best way to lighten up a bad day, I know, and I was all set to start fuming and hurling epithets at the parade of idiocy on the tube.  But that's not what happened.

What happened was a terrible earthquake in New Zealand, with the city of Christchurch front and center in the disaster reporting.  So many buildings fallen, so much damage and the victims!  All those people killed, injured and missing...The videos were painful to watch, with the smoke, rubble and blood.

Something else I saw was a quiet story about yesterday being the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, a man whom I regret to say I do not know nearly enough about.  I do know this: he was a human being who made some mistakes but also had some big realizations, and tried to change some things much bigger than himself.  He believed in people making things better for themselves, even when that meant telling the truth and atoning for for one's mistakes.  And for that, somebody murdered him.

Taking all of this in really took the starch out of me.  Perspective granted.

I understand that disasters happen, and people can be vicious; none of that is new information.  But sitting there and trying to wrap my head around the enormity of the one and the evil of the other, I flashed on one thing for certain:  all God's children got hemoglobin, and it is up to us to keep it from being spilled.

*I borrowed this from "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman.  A terrific work of science fiction (on my top ten all time favorites list), it is also one of the best anti-war novels I have read.


  1. The Forever War is most certainly a cracking book and one of those sci-fi novels that I can't believe hasn't been given the Hollywood treatment by now. I lent my copy to someone. Can't remember who. Bugger.

  2. I have had, and do have, those days where I want to curse everything in sight. I admit that sometimes I purposefully ignore a phone call or email from a particular friend because I know what she has to say isn't going to be positive or uplifting at all. Sometimes I can't take in one more bad thing on top of my own.

    It is startling to hear or see something far worse than my own problems. It puts things in perspective sometimes. While we hope it doesn't happen, it could always be worse.

    For some reason I love All Quiet On The Western Front.

  3. Amen on that! I highly recommend the autobiography of Malcolm X. It is a stunner and really shows his metamorphosis from angry young man (and justifiably so) to peacekeeper and the uplifting of his people.

    Yes, events in Christchurch shook me up a bit, too, and gave me that certain knowledge that at least for now, I am safe and life is steady. 20 years ago my area suffered a 7.1 quake which caused wide-spread damage. I put together emergency supplies and kept that up for about 10 years. I'm thinking now it's time to do that again, because one never knows!

  4. I love when people say they are in bad humor. It's very fabulous.

  5. crikey..ill tempered lout, took the starch outta me, bad humor, plumb wrung out, Devil's Banjo....those Dukes!


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
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-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

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