A Funny Thing

When I woke up this morning, my outdoor weather station told me it was -30 degrees. Well, it didn’t actually tell me that. It’s what the LCD screen reported. Again, it didn’t actually report anything. I read the number. Language is funny, isn’t it? I went out to my mailbox and put a couple bills inside for the mail person to take, little realizing it is President’s Day, a federal holiday, which means no mail delivery, and no mail person. It is also the birthday of my late wife Ann. Late, not as in, late for an appointment, but late, as in deceased. She died of cancer more than 3 1/2 years ago. She shared her birthday with Gallileo Galilei, the famous astronomer, born in1564. He was a thinker, who in today’s idiom would be said to think outside the box, as if there was a box. He dared declare that the sun did not in fact, revolve around the Earth, but that the opposite was true. For that, he was threatened with death by the Pope, but who eventually settled for complete sanction of Gallileo’s work, and a public declaration that he was wrong. He was held under house arrest for the rest of his life. So much for telling the truth. The truth is a funny thing, isn’t it?

It’s interesting to note that the Church believed that the sun revolved around the Earth because of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Chapter one, verse five of said book reads: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.” That’s all it took to condemn a man to death. Today we would see that phrase as an expression, we know the sun doesn’t actually rise or set. We know that the Earth spins on its axis and makes it appear that the sun is moving around us. But back then, the church had no such knowledge. They believed the Bible and therefore, Gallileo was refuting the word of God. People are funny, aren’t they?

I recently read, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, by Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. It is a frightening concept novel about religious zealots who take over the United States. They kill the president and all of congress and institute laws which completely subjugate women. After living through the presidency of Donald J. Trump, it’s not hard for me to believe something like this book suggests, could happen here. We very nearly had our very own dictator. All it would have taken, would be to have military backing. We need to keep in mind that 70 million people voted for Trump in the last election; more votes than he received in his first election. 70 million people looked at the last four years and said, yup, I want more of that. People truly are funny, aren’t they?

Since I retired, I’ve gotten out of the habit of looking at the calendar. I have one, tacked to the wall of my kitchen. Just for clarification, I have more than one wall in my kitchen, but language, well we’ve already agreed, is funny. But back to the calendar, (calendar is a hard word to spell. I’ve made mistakes all three times) not looking at it is easy when you don’t have anything planned. That’s why I didn’t realize it was Presidents day. President’s day started out as George Washington’s birthday, but we don’t want to be seen as neglecting all the other president, Trump included, so it had to be changed to President’s day.

The virus, Covid 19, has kept me isolated. I don’t go anywhere except the grocery store. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing touch with the world. For all I know, it may not be there anymore. The entire world many consist on my multi-walled kitchen. Life revolve around the kitchen, does it not? I get phone calls every so often from friends, but not having seen any of them for months, for all I know, they may not even be real. It’s entirely possible that I may have lost my mind, and am imagining everything. Life is a funny thing, isn’t it?

There is a story by Ray Bradbury in his book, “The Martian Chronicles” about men who go to Mars in a rocket. When they get there they meet Martians, who look just like humans. They are taken to a building where there is a big celebration for their arrival. The next day they find that they are locked in the building and it’s an insane asylum. The Martians cannot believe anyone could actually fly to Mars on a rocket and so the “Earthmen” must in fact be Martians who are insane. That’s how I feel sometimes, like I’m locked in my own asylum. I wonder if I’ll get out one day. Life sure is a funny old thing, isn’t it?


  1. Only Butch can bring Galileo, Trump, Martians and Margaret Atwood into the same musing exercise. This was a nice essay, though, and no you are not the only one feeling that way. Thanks for the reminder of Anne, who also would have some wry comments there days for the way things seem to be “turning out.”


  2. Oh Butch you made me laugh–I don’t look at the calendar anymore either. What’s the point? Nothing’s really happening. I *did* write myself a note not to go out for the mail, just because, well, you know.

    I was very moved by your Facebook post about your wife, Ann. (As you know, my wife’s name is Anne also, so there’s that). So much general loss this past year, and then, of course, specific losses. Two members of my congregation have become widows this past year, one COVID death and one cancer death. And one member’s husband is home on hospice.

    Life is a funny thing, isn’t it? If you told me a year ago that in 2021 I’d still be home, not going out, not eating in restaurants, not traveling I would have never believed you. And yet here we are.

    And yes, The Handmaid’s Tale is a pretty scary book. It was scary when it came out, and it’s scarier today. I read it when it came out, and quite frankly, although it’s sitting on our bookshelf, and I’ve thought about picking it up, I’m almost afraid to read it now. What folks do in the name of religion is horrifying for those of us who take our religion seriously.

    FInally, if it’s any consolation, and it probably isn’t, you aren’t any crazier than most of the rest of us. Do I really have friends, or have I imagined all the people I used to see on a regular basis? I see them on Facebook but we haven’t actually *seen* most of them in a year. Wow!

    Peace to you my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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