Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Indeed, when the whole nation becomes a grotesque and gluttonous parable--a cheap, high tech, imitation of ancient Rome--it is best to simply let yourself be carried along in the wind rather than stand up to it.
Let's face it, this is the time of year when vast numbers of the hoi polloi will turn violent in the blink of an eye. Tens of millions believe the situation is desperately urgent. Fantastic deals on all manner of stuff are ripe for the taking. The alma mater's warriors have taken the field and are facing ancient and intractable foes. Yes, there are no harmless slights when this sort of hysteria takes hold. So, stay mum and happily wallow in all the uniquely American decadence along with the rest of the vulgus--the truth is a conscience can take you only so far during these hectic days.
Friday and Saturday I did my best imitation of an indolent member of the Senate by gorging myself with left over fowl, bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and wine. The only things missing from the setting were a toga and a couple of tasteful slaves procured from Gaul.
The early news was encouraging. Nation wide, Black Friday casualties were reported to be light. One cop in Illinois had been dragged through a Kohl's parking lot by a car under the control of a suspected shop lifter. The alleged criminal was shot in the arm by another officer. In Vegas a customer walking to his car with a newly purchased TV had been stabbed during an attempted robbery. In Rialto, CA another policeman was injured during a melee at a local Walmart. A man was slashed with a knife after an argument over a vacant parking space in Virginia. Another was stabbed during the initial rush at a mall in Carlsbad, CA. There were other minor incidents of lax crowd control--you know--pushing, shoving, cursing, and vicious snarls. All in all though it was a manageable level of violence and an acceptable start to the season during which Christians celebrate the birth of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ--aka, The Prince of Peace.
Of course I avoided the malls and madness altogether. I sipped at my glass and smoked cigars while I watched college athletes play American football in coliseums filled with hundreds of thousands of howling fans. Most of the games yesterday were breathtaking. Ohio State beat Michigan by a single point while a second quarter gang fight between the two teams was judged, by most, to be a draw. Duke beat North Carolina by two points and Oregon knocked off Oregon State by a point. Alabama and Auburn whaled away at each other for a couple of hours. The outcome was finally settled during the last second of the contest when an Auburn player returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown.
Today, in the aftermath, the Alabama place kicker who missed two field goal attempts and had another blocked began to receive death threats and other ugly messages in the extreme from distraught, inconsolable, and quite frankly, psychotic, Crimson Tide followers.
In addition, Hoover, AL police reported a woman had been shot to death at a party where fans had gathered to watch the Bama-Auburn game. Police would not confirm if the shooting was game related, but did announce they had taken a second woman into custody.
Finally, I learned my old pal Paul Crouch had passed away. Crouch was the founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, a television empire designed to spread the gospel and pass the collection plate. Because of the lonely and weepy nature of his audience and their generous love gifts the original single studio operation grew into a multi national conglomerate which includes a Christian entertainment center outside of Nashville, TN and a biblical theme park in Orlando, FL, among other venues.
Unlike fellow TV evangelist, Jim Bakker, Crouch was relatively untouched by scandal. His only real brush with trouble was when a former executive of the firm claimed he had his staff pray for the death of a man who was attempting a take over of one of the TBN outlets. Crouch was utterly unapologetic for making an appeal to The Almighty for the mafia style hit. In fact, he promised he would never hesitate to pray for God's divine assistance when it came to offing those who were attempting to destroy his ministry. That's right, baby, protect your turf and go all Old Testament on their asses when you do.
Personally, my favorite TBN moment came years ago on the night Crouch and some cohorts were attempting to prove the satanical backward masking they claimed was hidden on rock and roll records. I sat there in a stunned stupor that bleary night for two hours as they played one rock single after another in reverse, by hand, on a turn table--all the while claiming they could translate what amounted to gibberish into evil and fearful exhortations by Satan himself.
Well, the old boy is gone now and and is in possession of the ultimate truth. I really do wish him the best in the after life.
So that was the weekend. My family consumed enough food to keep an entire village in Somalia fed for a month. Americans charged through the aisles of places such as Walmart like hordes of crazed Vandals. Young and heavily armored gladiators raged and hammered at each other all across the land while the masses roared their lusty approval. Paul Crouch walked off into that good and ever lasting night. And--in all truth--for three days absolute sloth never felt better.
Hey, these things happen. After all, it is the season.
sic vita est