Friday, February 10, 2012

let's pretend

I wonder how many other aspects of life are subject to the same strictures as the Massachusetts embalmer who gave some graphic and unflattering remarks about the subjects of his trade.

Premise: Death is spooky and provokes grief and Troy Schoeller's confession that he hated embalming fat people or that a baby's body reminded him of a "bearskin rug" crossed a professional and human boundary. Schoeller lost his license and is appealing that decision.

A faceless corpse and a smile
Pick a profession, any profession, and its practitioners are likely to address it an a light that is not in line with the fantasies or hopes of those who may benefit from that profession. Professionals know the particulars of their profession and are less given to imaginative, glowing portrayals.

Is there a mandate in life to accede to the hopes and dreams that others may hold ... something along the lines of I-won't-yank-your-chain-if-you-don't-yank mine? For example, I have noticed that older people who knew each other in an earlier time make a fine point of not mentioning how 'old' their friends look. "Jeez -- how'd you get so old?" The evidence is apparent, but adducing that evidence seldom is. It's polite, I guess.

A friend of mine who used to work in prisons once told me about a newly-minted Catholic priest who was horrified when, after applying a holy-oil cross to an electrocuted man's forehead, he noticed that there was blackened human ash on the finger that had anointed the corpse.

The fantasies and philosophies are 'x.' But the realities are 'y.' Sometimes the fantasies and philosophies fall victim to the fact that the facts are even better than what was imagined. And sometimes the facts are profoundly and compellingly worse.

I have often wondered what those who believe in God might feel if they took the trouble to become professionals -- people who knew the particulars and not just the fantasies and hopes. Would it be better or worse that their hopes were upended or corrected by the realities? And the same goes for those who claim to hunger for "enlightenment."

I guess it all boils down to the old advertising punchline, "Leggo my Eggo!" Rocking others' boats is up to them, not up to me. As Charles Williams, author of some nifty metaphysical thrillers, once put it in a novel, "People believe what they want to believe."

What they 'want' is just what they want ... so ... Leggo my Eggo.

We're all kids finding something to do on a play date: Let's pretend....

Later, we can get down to cases and 'do lunch.'

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