Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Fish, A Pope, A Clown and an Etrog.

The other night, I got to read a bedtime story to Little Miss. Junior Son suggested THE RAINBOW FISH, adding, "It's a story about how to buy friends." I was intrigued.

Beautifully illustrated, it's about a fish who has sparkly rainbow scales but doesn't seem to interact with the other fish at all. One day, a little blue fish asks he if can have a scale. Rainbow Fish declines. The upset blue fish tells all other fish, and soon they are shunning Rainbow Fish. Rainbow Fish goes to the local wise elder for advice, and the octopus tells him if he wants to play with the other fish, he should give them his scales. The little blue fish comes back, and Rainbow Fish starts handing out scales....until he has only one scale left. And then....he gets to swim with his new "friends."  

Surely, Marcus Pfister thought he was writing about learning to share. I am sure he meant well, judging by how many people love this book. But I could not get this story outta my head. There was something so wrong about it that I went on-line and found Ernest Borgnine reading the book aloud on StorylineOnline. I followed along using closed caption, so I knew I was getting the text right. 

There are a bunch of odd messages. Rainbow Fish has to go to a cave out in the middle of nowhere to get advice. And then the advice he's given is to give away his colors so that others would like him. The octopus doesn't mention that Rainbow Fish's aloof behavior might be the root cause. Instead he tells him, in essence, to give up his natural appearance in order to fit in. Appearance is everything, and who you are is completely irrelevant. 

This is not a book about sharing. No one else shares anything in this story. In fact, it vaguely reminded me of the stories about inner city kids held up for their name-brand sneakers and team warm-up jackets. No one ever accused the robber-bullies of being in it to teach a moral lesson. Maybe this is Kiddie Maoist Theory: everyone should look the same, have the same, individuals need not apply. Nah. There was no re-education camp near the octopus cave. This is not a message I want to give Little Miss. 

And speaking of re-education, Pope Francis tried that over at Congress the other day. Gave a great speech, too. He scolded our dear leaders on greed, climate change, poverty and the death penalty. Assuming you can put aside that even with all his scientific learning and leaning, he is still against marriage equality, a woman's right to control her own body, and the role of women in the church, he's a pretty cool kinda guy. I'll admit I like him. I'd probably enjoy meeting him at a dinner party where the wine and the conversation freely flows. I also understand he's in charge of one giant ship that cannot turn on a dime. 

Wanna know what I wanna know? What exactly did the Pope say that is making Speaker Bonehead sit down and shut up. Permanently. 

Perhaps, in their private conversation, the Pope told Boehner he was an amoral, reprehensible sonofabitch and that he was going to burn forever in the fires of hell for throwing the other 92% of We, the People under the bus. I would like to believe that. But I don't really. I think Boehner got a good look at what was coming down the pike and decided to bail before they hoisted his petard on the nearest yardarm. Kinda like Cromwell's head outside Westminster. Interesting though, that both Republicans and Democrats consider him a traitor ....but for vastly different reasons. 

What concerns me now is that the fight for the position of Speaker is going to be a bloody brawl between the lunatic Tea Party and the rest of the Republicans. The further splintering of the GOP does not benefit We, the People in the least. We need reasonable choices in the voting booth. And so far, we're not getting them. This is potentially really scary stuff. 

At sundown, the Jewish world begins the observance of Sukkot, what some Christians call Tabernacles. Basically, a sukkah is three sided hut in which the harvesters used to live while they were harvesting. It's a harvest holiday, as is Pesach (yes, Passover) and Shavuot (aka Pentacost,) discussed at length in the Torah. It might be worth remembering that this is harvest time in both north and south hemispheres, and that without a good harvest, people do go hungry. 

So even if you don't get to hang out in a sukkah for a week, do go outside and look around. Go to the grocery store and look around. Go to a city street filled with restaurants and food trucks...and look around. Then ask yourself, what if there is no harvest?

If you can answer that question, maybe you want to run for Congress. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Hey, kids! Don't toss that old, used etrog!
Make marmalade!

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