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Monday, July 24, 2017

The Have’s and Have Nots

I detest alcohol and do so principally because of two haunting images in my mind.  One day when I was about twelve years old, I was walking on the sidewalk next to Highway US 301 as it passed through my then hometown, Ellenton, FL.  Directly in front of me a car was parked by the sidewalk.  It was a hot day. The car windows were rolled down and I could hear distressful screams of children coming from within the car.  The car was next a tavern.  It hit me that the children could be excused for wondering in lonely hours whether they or alcohol mattered more to their parents.

Years later I carried a carload of children from Saint Petersburg to Anna Maria Beach.  On the way we stopped in Bradenton to pick up my mother who had prepared a picnic lunch.  On our arrival, the children hit the beach while mother and I found a table in the shade under Australian pines and began to set up the picnic.  Further over was another table around which sat a family with children and adults.  The adults were drinking profusely.  Suddenly…the visual that will not go away…a tipsy woman with beer can in hand attempted waveringly to embrace a child.  The child at once cowered and drew away.  It occurred to me the child may sometime find it troubling and difficult to discern alcohol induced mawkishness from the genuine caress of love.

Another visual now comes to mind—a scene from the play Death of a Salesman written by American playwright Arthur Miller.

First a trailer:

Next a Little Bit of Truth:

We know that life can level on all of us strong measures of unjustified pain.  But there is a sense in which some pain is more enduring and inured from redemption than others.  It is crucial to remember that in the Death of a Salesman even if Willy and his sons had stuck it spectacularly rich, the problem of veneered pain and the desperately driving need to assuage it would not have abated.  Piles of money in such cases mask symptoms rather than treat causes. 

I am aware that many Christians who share with me an old-time religious heritage can express some measure of support and encouragement for Donald Trump. Partly I think this is because we have been taught to sense those in pain and pray for them.  Notoriety as a snake oil elixir for deadening unendurable pain should always be quaffed from a chalice emblazoned with skull and bones crafted by the very hand of Satan himself.

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