Many years ago, a dear friend shared an observation that I’ve yet to shake. She was an author, intellectual, teacher, opera singer, mother and observer of life. We were chatting about an age-old question: “Who are we?” Of course, at the central core, is that perfect, divine, immortal Twinkle. Covering that identity are deep, psychic caves. My pal said that we ARE our lowest common denominator. You can have a cavern filled with perfect 100s and a single 1.
Our identity is that lowball 1.
What is your lowest common denominator?
(Notice how I deftly redirected the conversation from “me” to “you?”)
What is that worst, heinous, terrible act of which you are capable? Most of us wouldn’t steal — a large amount. Maybe not even a penny.
But, would we take an office pen, covet a postage stamp or heavenly perfumed body with a Come Hither Smile missing from the list of Things That Belong To Me?
That of which we are capable can dive to frightening subterranean depths. Pushed, driven, cornered — tempted — we can visit places far worse than murder.
There are sins darker than homicide.
I’ve a few. On the bright side, I’ve removed a ton. I’ve tons more to go.
Lately, I’ve had a distant craving. For a human head.
No. Sorry. That’s disingenuous. I’d like — several — human heads.
In my defense, I don’t want a human head to display above a fireplace mantle. Don’t want to whack someone’s noggin with a mallet while on horseback, playing polo with Afghan warlords. Don’t see me sipping wine and having my own, personal, “Alas, poor Yorick!” moment with a skull that just yesterday lovingly housed a court jester’s skull.
I caught myself doing the backstroke in the smarmy swimming pool of the self-righteous.
Lately, I’ve been more than fed up. It has nothing to do with flu quarantines or even that 2020 is an election year. I’m sick in the soul after years of growing oppression, from the government and institutions that are supposed to be unbearably beautiful gems that protect the glowing “We-ness” we call America and humanity. Fed Up? Left it six train stations back. I’m tired of an institutionalized hypocrisy and, frankly, more so, staggering stupidity. I’m beyond weary of a two-tiered justice system that is mind-boggling and insane.
I shouldn’t be. It just reflects the present collective American consciousness.
In a diatribe like this, it’s necessary to offer a tedious and traditional “blah-buh-blah-buh-blah” caveat about the FBI, Justice Department and other government agencies and American institutions that are just happily brimming with decent people.
But this You Really Shouldn’t Go There question keeps wiggling to the forefront of my so-far-so-good attached head:
You can be 99.99999% cancer free.
That is not necessarily a good thing.
Members of government — strangely, ours —have been caught in acts ranging from rape to extortion, multi-million-dollar graft to treason. And, yes. I think anyone seriously involved in overthrowing the government, be they from the Left, Right, Lutheran or Rastafarian, is guilty of treason.
Over the last decade-plus, I’ve watched as uncountable government scandals with a “gate” as a suffix erupt. Lois Lerner’s IRS targeting conservatives. The GSA scandal. Fast & Furious. The Iran Nuclear deal sending billions to the world’s leading terrorist nation. The Pigford Scandal. Scams atop plots atop scandals atop atrocities. Anything involving Hillary or the Clinton Foundation.
How do you destroy federal evidence of servers and cell phones — WITH HAMMERS AND BLEACH! — and get off with an FBI hand lightly slapping the air around your wrist? How does Michael Flynn, a decent man, get targeted, destroyed, jailed, ruined and bankrupted by the FBI and a cult of U.S. intelligence agencies in a plot to get him Just Because?
Under what forest of identical desks are hiding the great majority of these supposed good — and curiously silent — FBI and government employees?
Here’s an unasked-for parable for staff: What you hide — you keep.
How are the hundreds and hundreds of crooked perps involved in the smarmiest of schemes — including an attempted coup of the executive branch by law enforcement — handed the most inhumane of sentencing of early retirement, a fat pension, six-figure part-time professorships, TV shows and book deals? Why, after tens of millions of dollars in investigative expenses, are the crooks punished with a pursing of the lips and a “Tut-tut-tut-tut-tut?”
Dear me heavens.
Disgraced former FBI head James Comey was fired, he taught a course at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. The subject? Ethics in leadership.
So you can see. I’m more than a little in the throes of self-righteousness.
I’d like to send a message to all aspects of growing American government. Something succinct. Final. Primal. No billboard advertises “Think About What You’re About To Do” better than human skulls picked clean by crows and leaches, dangling from a great, disfigured jungle baobab tree. If all the hosts of heaven were to stand next to me and ask: “Do you think you could at least wipe that toothy grin off your face as you stare at yonder skulls blowing in a hot desert wind?” I’d come back with: “Give me a minute…”
So. that’s my lowest common denominator. I’m pedantic. Holier than thou. Major self-righteous. I’m bad. I know it. God kindly suggests, “ …Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
I want to yell: “But — they DESERVE it!!”
Cripes. One of Us has got to be wrong.
Why does it always have to be me?
John Boston is oft pedantic. And, a local writer.