They are our friends and neighbors, and even members of our
family. They look just like the rest of us. They smile and laugh with us, and
chat with us about inconsequential things. And they can be delightfully
charming. Unless you knew, you might
never know, not from just from looking at them, anyway. Most of them hide it
You all know some of them. You may even be one of them. They are the bigots, the haters. They hate those who are
unlike themselves. Whether the difference be that of color, race, religion, nationality,
sexual preference, political party, or economic status, anyone who wear that
difference so that it shows will be at risk of suffering their bigotry.
They breed and they raise their children to see the world as
they do, to hate as they do.
They vote for people who share their hatred.
It terrifies me.
When people I once respected open their mouths and
vitriol spews forth, I feel loss.
When my country's elected officials legislate based on
hate, I feel shame.
When I see the result of all this hate every day in the
newspaper, on the television, and on the streets, I feel fear.
As Goethe said, “There is nothing more frightful than
ignorance in action.”
You know that old saw that goes "bad things come in threes"? Yeah.
I am generally not a superstitious person. I've broken more mirrors than I can count with no ill effect. I might avoid walking beneath a ladder, but it'd be because I know how hard it is to get paint out of your hair. Not only do I not fear that black cat walking across my path, I'm likely to call him over so I can pet him. I'm smart enough to know that the fourteenth floor on the hotel is really the thirteenth, but it doesn't bother me. And Friday the Thirteenth? Not only is it not a bad thing; evidence shows that it's my lucky day. I was promoted three times during my working career on Friday the Thirteenth. So, no, I'm not superstitious.
I admit it. The whole "bad-things-come-in-threes" thing creeps me out. Think about it. It seems that too often, when you hear about a disaster, within hours, you hear about two more. Plane crashes, celebrity deaths, your friends' divorces. The list goes on. I'm sure you have your own list of threes in your life. It happens often enough that when Bad Thing Number One occurs, I find myself waiting for Bad Thing Numbers Two and Three to follow. It's kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the shoe after that.
Example: Since 1996 when an airline safety website started paying attention, there have been three (and sometimes more) plane crashes occurring within a few days of each other every year but one. Given the infrequency of plane crashes, this seems notable.
Example: Within the last month, The Sopranos bad guy James Gandolfini, Glee singer Corey Montieth, and just this morning, long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas all died. Yes, people die all the time, but the only one of these three whose death might be expected was 92-year-old Thomas.
I tell myself that this phenomenon is coincidence. I see disasters in threes because I look for them. OK, that makes sense, right?
A couple of days ago, another of those "bad-things-come-in-threes" hit, and I definitely wasn't looking for it. If you are a Facebook junkie like me, you know the sorts of things you see on your wall are as varied as your Facebook friends who post them. You see everything from cartoons, photos, rants (political and otherwise), and cute kitten videos to "I burned my toast this morning." So, when in less than 24 hours, I read heartbreaking posts from three of my good Facebook friends (and folks, I don't have all that many Facebook friends) that his or her beloved dog was horribly ill, was dying, or had already died, I took notice.
I'm not superstitious, but some people believe these things.
At least all three shoes have dropped.
Native Americans believe the number is four, and the Chinese five.
The challenge is to write a 33-to-333 word response to a prompt using the third definition of the prompt word. This week's prompt is "idle."
lacking worth or basis : vain
occupied or employed: as
a : having no employment : inactive
b : not turned to normal or appropriate use
c : not scheduled to compete
3: a : shiftless, lazy
b : having
no evident lawful means of support
Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. That was Mam’s favorite, the one she kept right in the front of her over-stuffed mental filing cabinet of Life Lessons where it was handy when needed. I’ve fought Mam’s homilies all my life, and won the battle with most of them. I no longer worry if my underwear is clean enough – should I be hit by a bus, don’t you know – or feel like I’m at death’s door if I miss my daily apple. But idle hands thing? I just can’t seem to silence Mam’s ominous-sounding warning, and it scares the daylights out of me. I guess it must be the Devil’s personal vested interest in any pause my hands may take that makes it so terrifying. I picture him there, hovering, just waiting to swoop in and seize my tarnished soul the minute my hands stop doing, doing, doing. And, oh, the things I’ve done to keep him at bay. I raised children and kept house. I cooked and baked. I gardened. I painted and threw very lop-sided pots. I crocheted and macraméd. And as I grew older and my hands less dexterous, I knitted. And knitted.
I knitted Christmas
and birthday gifts and presented them to my family and friends. I knitted baby blankets and caps, and donated them to hospitals. I knitted scarves and hats, and took them to homeless shelters. And I knitted mittens, endless pairs of mittens. I knitted so many mittens that I can no longer find anyone who will take them. I have the grandest wardrobe of mittens any old lady could want. My hands are gnarled with age now, unable to wield the knitting needles anymore. I know the Devil is just there, a step behind me, preparing to claim his prize. At least my idle hands will be warm while I wait.
It occurs to me that perhaps I should tell you why you're not seeing me around much. No, I haven't fallen into a black hole. Nor have I run away from home, though I have been tempted from time to time.
For the first time, I am attempting NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It's a daunting prospect, but friends have done it, and they survived. I'm taking heart from that.
It's day five of this thirty-day challenge to write 50,000 words before the month is done. I'm already behind. According to the NaNoWriMo gizmo that one uses to keep track of progress, at my current rate, I'll finish on December 6. Not good. But I also know that of the 256,618 participants (worldwide) in 2011, 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the deadline. So I won't be alone if I don't make it.
Anyway, this is where I am, and why I'm not coming around to visit much. I'm sitting at my computer, plugging away on my great American novel, which is currently called "Untitled." Wish me luck!