Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I've never liked miracles; they seem to violate the natural order of things. But sometimes, an account of a miracle does more than that; it makes me mad.
For instance, there's a miracle recorded in the Bible. Seems Jesus and some of the Apostles are walking past a man who was born blind. One Apostle asks, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" The answer was that no one had sinned. The man was born blind so that he might help demonstrate the power of God. Wherewith, the blind man was healed, and could see again.
This miracle is often quoted to prove a theological point: a person can sin before he or she is born -- ergo, they lived before this life. Because I focused on this point, I for years overlooked what is now to me the salient point of the story. It's this: A man was forced to live for about 30 years in darkness, unable to run or play as a kid, unable to learn or ply a trade, unable to see the sunrise or the sunset, to read, to recognize the faces of his family -- all this so that someone could pull a stunt and impress the rubes.
This strikes me a both callous and a bit of an overkill. I mean, couldn't he simply be born with a wart on his face, a not unattractive wart, that could be removed miraculously? I can see the scene now: "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born with a not entirely unattractive wart?" The answer, "No one. He was born with a wart so that the power of God could be manifest in a non-cancer-causing operation."
Same result -- the rubes are impressed, the guy gets better looking, and all is much more humane.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Imaginary Friends

When I was growing up in Palmer, Alaska, there was a kid in school who had an imaginary friend. He'd walk around the playground during recess talking to this friend. He'd talk, then listen, then shake his head or nod or gesture, and reply. This is supposed to be a harmless aberration in kids, but an aberration nonetheless. In adults, it's considered to be not so harmless (Unless it's some guy talking on a bluetooth).
But, 'cha know, I have a host of imaginary friends. Everybody does. We talk about them as if they are real, and I think we realize only dimly that they are not. My friends include Sherlock Holmes, for instance, Long John Silver, Mary Poppins, Hamlet, Elizabeth Bennett, Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, Tugboat Annie, Harry Bosch, Bertie Wooster, Frodo Baggins, James Bond, Little Dorrit, Huckleberry Finn, Uncle Remus, The Scarlet Pimpernell, and Lord Peter Wimsey.
I care about these people. I worry when their lives don't go right. I rejoice in their triumphs. I read "Pride and Prejudice" once every two years or so, and am always tickled to death when Lizzy and D'Arcy finally get together.
I mention this because I'm worried about one of my favorite TV characters. She was shot at the end of the season last year, and it looked like she died -- right there on camera. I'm pretty sure it was a cliffhanger, but I can't be certain. What if she's really dead?
There's a part of me that realizes she's a figment of someone's imagination; that the actress speaks the lines she's been given. But there's also a part of me that wonders where to send the flowers.