Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sell my clothes, I'm goin' to heaven.....

Every once in a while, my wife uses the above expression.  It usually happens when she has just taken a bite of an extra yummy dessert, or a sip of an unusually fine wine.  I don't know where she got it, but I suspect it dates back to her childhood years on Martha's Vinyard.  It does seem to have a kind of 'New England-ish' ring to it.

 But, when Abby says this nobody jumps up to gather up her clothes and put them in the garage in preparation for a forthcoming garage sale.  It's just a joke.  So, it really boogles my mind to hear that apparently a number of people cashed in their retirements, spent their life-savings, otherwise 'sold their clothes'....all because this old fart with a radio program said the end of the world was coming as of last Saturday.  The report I saw said that these people are now very pissed-off that they did all that.....only to have the anointed hour come and go without incident.  The wizened--if not wise--old preacher now says he made a mistake in his calculations; the end will actually happen in OCTOBER.  Ah, no wonder we waited for nothing.

I am beyond being simply amazed that people can be this obtuse.  They actually threw away their entire futures just because this elderly fool said something hugely unlikely was going to happen.  Did they not know that this is like a hobby among far-right Christians?  People have predicted the 'end of the world' countless times.  They have gone to the mountaintop....and sat there waiting.  But, nothing has EVER come to pass....not ever, not once, has there been a single event that would give any of these inane, hair-brained predictions the merest shred of credibility.  So, I am struggling to understand what kind of a glitch in a person's mind would cause them to think, "Ah-ha, this time it's for real." 

I actually think that anybody who is willing to 'cut off their nose' in this fashion DESERVES what comes out of it. Stupidity on such a monumental level should have consequences.  We see it in other situations: a person steps in front of a bus without looking....and they die.  A person lets a stranger into their house because he says his car broke down....and they get attacked.  Life is a rhythm of actions taken...and consequences that result. It is NOT an act of faith to do something potentially disastrous all the while depending on an outcome that is so unlikely.  This is the realization that if you jump off the high-rise, and expect someone to reach out and hand you a parachute on the way down.....you are going to go SPLAT.  Testing your idea of God in this fashion is almost always going to end badly.

Maybe I should be more sympathetic.  These people were, after all, acting out of trust; they were practicing their faith as they understood it.  But, they were also acting against all common sense.  They were acting in complete denial of what any right-minded person would say was a given.  Sure, life as we know it might have ended.  I think the old parable about Chicken Little has some basis in human nature.  But, acting as these people did and then being angry because the most highly unlikely scenario in human history didn't happen right on cue......now that is just plain STUPID.

I have a feeling that we may be nearing the bottom of the 'stupidity scale', that the 'dumbing of America' is nearly complete.  By God, I sure hope so.