May 5, 2019
I sometimes wonder whether horses have an easier time going uphill than they do going downhill. As a young ranch hand in Wyoming, (1958, Jackson Hole, on the White Grass Ranch) I rode a lot of different horses going both directions and the horses all seemed to me to be more sure- footed going up rather than down the hills. Hubris didn’t seem to mind which way we were going as long as he got a flake of alfalfa hay when we got to our destination. Regardless, we got safely down the mountain and back to the horse trailer and then to our little ranch in Corrales without incident. I figured that I had a month or two before I should go back to see my friend who I considered to be wiser than an old owl.
I do my best thinking immediately after I feed Hubris and then make a hearty breakfast for myself and a very short window of time after a very light lunch which ends before the little nap I take in the late afternoon, just before cocktail time. I’m not much good at problem solving after dinner because I usually fall asleep very early in the evening. Since I was dealing with a very serious matter, I took my yellow 8-1/2 by 11” note pad off of my desk, and sharpened my Wallace pencil (with eraser), and put them on my card table with six straight back chairs (perfect for our poker games when it’s my turn to be the host and keeping my mind “on-subject” when I was dealing with a serious issue). I don’t try to do any serious thinking in my recliner. That chair is reserved for reading the local newspaper, naps, and relaxation after dealing with a serious problem.
I decided to start by outlining the “big picture” of our current social dis-order and see if that led me to any sensible conclusions as to how solve it. At first my note pad stayed solid pale- yellow with light blue lines. Then, the problems started to come into focus but with no sense of order-of-importance. I soon realized I was dealing with our electorate, not our government. The first element of the problem that came to me was: Morality, -as in the lack thereof, quickly followed by Lust,-for power and privilege, Avarice-as in a unrealistic love of the accumulation of money, and Greed, -for the accumulation of more “things” than one’s neighbors, at any cost. Then the big one hit me like a ton of bricks, Responsibility, -as in the fact that everyone blamed the ‘other’ person for the state of our decay. I looked down at my note pad and realized that I had just written a five word outline describing our electorate. Then I remembered the great political cartoonist Walt Kelly, who in trying to explain how the electorate had selected a guy named Richard for the position as Chief and he had selected a real character named Spiro as his Vice, had one of his cartoon characters say, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” That was such a sobering thought that I decided I needed a drink.
I came out of my little kitchen carrying a water glass filled to the brim with ice and Uncle Jack’s finest. I didn’t pick up my yellow pad and pencil on my way past my card table because I thought I had enough totally disturbing “factors” to deal with for the next several days or weeks ahead. What I needed now was time to reflect on those factors and determine whether or not they were truly the cause of our social and political dis-order. I immediately realized, if they were, all of us “peoples” had a much bigger problem than an old Curmudgeon and an even older “Owl Man” could ever hope to solve.
Of course, one good drink deserves another and the more I thought about the immoral condition of our society—which so closely matched the immoral character of our new Chief—the more depressed I became, and the more depressed I got, the more important “one more drink deserved another” until I woke up in a totally dark room with an empty glass on the cocktail table next to my recliner, my yellow pad up-side down on my lap, and Hubris whinnying to tell me it was long past his dinner time. Neither Hubris nor I were going anywhere tonight.
Copyright, Louis J. Christen, May 5, 2019