Sunday, November 27, 2016

Grievances (Social Satire)

     Trudy Grassmeade was bombarded by things that offended her.  It started when she stopped for coffee.  Washington, Jackson, Franklin.  Slave owners all.  What were they doing on our money? 
     Trudy carried a great many fives.  She could trust good old “Honest Abe”.  But even he had now fallen under suspicion.  She had recently read what Lincoln had said of a former girlfriend, “I knew she was called an 'old maid,' and I felt no doubt of the truth of at least half of the appellation; but now, when I beheld her, I could not for my life avoid thinking of my mother; and this, not from withered features, for her skin was too full of fat to permit its contracting in to wrinkles; but from her want of teeth, weather-beaten appearance in general, and from a kind of notion that ran in my head, that nothing could have commenced at the size of infancy, and reached her present bulk in less than thirty five or forty years…”  As a former girlfriend herself (an experience she enjoyed on many occasions including the present one), Trudy could tell that Lincoln didn’t respect women.  She would have to look more closely into his record.  Maybe he didn’t deserve that big marble monument.  
     As Trudy walked down Thomas Jefferson (TJ) Avenue she made a note to ask the Neighbors and Friends Association why they named a street after the sexual harasser of underage girls.  This street should be named after the victim, Sally Hemings, not after someone who belonged on a register of sex offenders.  And then there was St. Anselm’s church.  She knew what was in there.  Stained glass windows depicting Roman soldiers walking cheerfully through the streets of Jerusalem on their way to the Crucifixion.  Roman soldiers!  The Roman Empire was a military tyranny that oppressed people for a thousand years and yet someone in that church thought it was a good idea to put their likenesses in the stained glass windows.  She could never go into a church that had depictions of Roman soldiers in the windows.  The thought made her cringe.  It may have been two thousand years since the Romans burned the ancestral village, but Trudy kept the memory green. Romans belonged in museums, not in church windows. 
     And so it continued as she made her way down TJ Avenue and up Poplar Street, getting angrier and angrier.  There was the post office sporting an American flag.  So militaristic.  All of that “rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air”, stuff.  Why couldn’t the country’s flag convey something more positive?  Maybe happy faces instead of stars, and multi-colored stripes instead of boring red and white.  There was that awful Porky’s Barbecue Pit, which sold sugary drinks that would make children obese.  And here up the street came that poor exploited rooster Machiavelli, who had to work for chicken feed while H.C. Clarke raked in who knew how much money because of Machiavelli’s efforts.  This walk was like Trudy’s own personal march to Calvary (minus the Romans of course).
     Finally she reached the Del Boca Medical Arts Center and the office of her therapist Dr. Humphrey Smothers.
     “I am so angry Doctor Smothers!” Trudy began.
     “Oh, I know, I know,” said the sympathetic Doctor Smothers, “shall we start where we left off last time.  You were telling me how angry you were because Turner Classic Movies had the effrontery to run the movie “The Littlest Rebel”, starring Shirley Temple.
     Trudy began spewing forth in a torrent all of the pent up outrage and anger of the previous week, occasionally interrupted by Dr. Smothers interjecting a sympathetic, “Tell me more,” or “I know, I know.”
     While doing no actual good Dr. Smothers, to his credit, was doing no actual harm.  He was performing the same sort of service that any friend would perform, he was being a good listener.  In his case, of course, he was being very well paid to listen.
     Dr. Smothers knew, that like many other people in Del Boca, Trudy Grassmeade actually enjoyed being wedded to her grievances.  She found comfort, purpose and identity in her righteous indignation.  What Dr. Smothers longed to say was, “Get a grip!  Opinions are like a**holes.  Everyone has one.  Yours are no more valid than anyone else’s !”  But then that would be killing the goose that laid the golden egg.  So instead he said, “Oh, I know, I know.”
      “So you see Doctor Smothers,” said Trudy, “if I am ever to be happy and know peace everyone else in the world is simply going to have to change!”
     “Oh, I know, I know,” said Doctor Smothers, nodding sagely, “but now I see our time is up. Shall we continue next time from the same place?”

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