"How many crows a crowin’ in the wind does it take to know it’s just a bunch of crows a crowin’ in the wind?"
"A Crowin’ in the Wind” by Rob Killin’
Shorthand Ed didn’t smell it at first, but many of his friends had given up, resigning themselves instead to powers out of their control.
It drove him up various walls and even down a few halls of Montezuma to commit acts of ridiculousness up noses with rubber hoses as someone used to say more than once on TVs in the Seventies when bells rang at the bottoms of trousers of those who would stay alive in those disco nights of long, long ago.
It was funny (the “up your nose with a runner hose” bit) because the network laugh track told those glued to TV screams that rubber hoses up noses were funny.
Well, Ed admitted to himself as well as to those who would listen (and almost no one did) that it was indeed hilarious...rubber hoses and noses and other things laugh tracks told us were funny when it was...laughable, that is.
But what Ed’s friends were doing these days was unnerving precisely because life was seen by them as happening instead of their making good things happen to take the stink out of the things that happened that were causing some if not most of the stink of outrageous carnage.
To sum it up (with a calculator if you like), Ed was becoming more and more testy as his friends gave up more and more of their human turf to faceless forces beyond their control simply because events were increasingly (or so it seemed) becoming as they were becoming merely because they were as they were.
To make matters even worse, his friends began to throw up their hands, exclaiming as they fell to the ground in self-inflicted pity, “Retinue, retinue! Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” the rough translation of which is, “Oh, well. Things just happen, and not even Eli’s llama can stop it.”
So, armed with little else in his lamentably short hands (and he was a man of not a few lamentations, not to re-mention his short hands), Ed pricked up his dumb phone and rang his chief of smarts, Big Timothy, who was so immense that his overall largeness exceeded (or at least gently equaled) that of every single being on and behind the many faces of the Earth as well as a number of planets, most of which are in our solar system as that system is presently known by those who keep up with such things (and there are more than you might imagine who do).
But Big Tim was not available at the moment, and he had turned off his foamed phone (as well as his nubile mobile) to, you might say, have a life, which he sorely wanted, with sweet Vicki of the House of Sampeck, who would in the end have something wise to say about all of this...but we are not yet at the end of this overdrawn account.
Resourceful as he can be sometimes when pressed, Ed called in his privy council and asked them for their sage advice, of which he noted before enjoining them to answer once and for all the question of why so many are wringing their hands instead of grappling with things that just happened and instead obnoxiously a crowin’ in the wind like, well, crows.
After all, things have been happening ever since Eve and Adam, Abel and Cain, Rogers and Hammerstein, Lennon and McCartney, Burns and Allen, Smith and Wesson, Abbot and Costello, Moses and the obnoxiously never-ending burning bush, Laurel and Hardy, and all the rest of the binaries. (And don’t forget Noah and Joan of the Ark of the Covenant, not to mention Jason and his many Argonauts, some of whom still interrupt traffic on Interstate-75 from time to time.)
So the privy council sent out for pizza and drew up a report for Ed’s scrutiny, a succinct white paper revealing that the world is not as bad as it seems (though it has never been that good), but that it SEEMED worse than ever because:
1.) People have always been mesmerized by bad news, especially bad news involving anyone but themselves. And they tend to be bored with good news, which seems to most (unfortunately) that it is hardly news at all if it is not bad.
2.) Long before clocks, people had always been genetically prone to the Rubber Neck Effect (not to mention rubber hoses up noses). This is why there have been endless rear-end collisions ever since prehistoric dinosaurs (are there any other kinds?) stopped to rubber neck, thus causing other saurs to rear end down to the very crack of doom, thus making more bad news to vampire upon ad nausea, ad nauseous.
3.) People are more aware in post-modern times than in former centuries of how out-of-whack the world is because of hand held devices that now form the minds and souls of men, women, and children of both sexes, as well as those of any given age who are of sundry genders other than the dried and cut variety.
4.) Finally, this holographic consciousness many of us accept as the only perception in town is much more susceptible to dread than former types of consciousness. Our postmodern world, which is a zombie-like “cyberworld,” is less aware of the delight that has always been with us because we are obsessed with digital “trees” as opposed to the real “forest” of humanity, an authentic place and expanding time that empowers us to be enamored with actual living and loving.
In a “cyberworld,” one that so many have chosen, instead of holding hands, we now hold “devices” that keep us carcinogenically connected with virtual, not real and actual, life and reality. Fully-actualized reality is, by its nature, overflowing with mind, spirit, flesh, blood, and other human and divine substances that cannot be replicated through programs because they are ephemeral mystery and imprecise Grace, not mere algorithms.
After examining the report, Ed inquired of the council so privy as to why the immediacy and sheer volume of bad news, rotten weather, and myriad things that just happen to go bump in the night cause us to be passive hand-wringers stuck in an interminable rut of worry and depression, impotently transfixed like deer in headlights, immobilized by panic and dread, and often reluctant to do something (even a small thing) to actually help the unfortunate and even our very selves instead of rubberizing our necks, which helps no one...except, of course, rubber corporations and their shareholders.
The council reiterated what it had already patiently and fully reported to Ed, all four points of it. They shook Ed’s short hands, each saying unto him in so many words, “We don’t make the news, dear Ed. We just report it.”
As the counsel finished filing its frank findings to Edward (though he disliked his full name), he exclaimed quite pronouncedly, “If it does little good to fret and wring our hands when bad things happen out of the scream and beyond our best (pest?) control, what should we do to aid and persist our fellow human beings, regardless of their various and sundry genders, races, religions, etc. instead of reflexively flying around like redundant crows a crowin’ in the wind?”
At this point, Large Tim and Vicki of the House of Sampeck burst into the council (chambermaid and all) to check on the state of affairs only to discover Ed’s vexation with little representation and a lot of taxation on the floor and in the air for the consideration of anyone who would like to consider it. (And many wanted to.)
Ed seemed at a loss for words, as he had indeed misplaced more than a few a moment before Tim and Vicki appeared in their cloud of thunderheads and other atmospheric effects, which had quickly filled the room to the astonishment of some.
Without so much as a word (because actions speak louder than orations), Tim the Immense pointed one of his large fingers toward his sweet fiance, Vicki of the House of Sampeck, who noted succinctly, “We must do what we can, even if it is small. For anything we can do, even if it is tiny, is immense to those who need it. As for the rest, there is nothing more or less to do about what is beyond our control but to live this day as well as we can under whatever the circumstances.”
Ed finally had his answer, and his friends finally had the choice we always have had and will always have. Thus, Ed, short hands and all, proclaimed to those who wanted to hear (and especially to those who plugged up their ear holes):
“When bad things happen, we can either take action and help by doing whatever we can, whether it is small, large, or somewhere in between. Or, we can freeze like deer in headlights, impotently wring our hands and fool ourselves that we are being compassionate by doing nothing. Instead, we must do what we can, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it is. And praying to higher beings is far from insignificant because it is action. No action, no matter how small, is insignificant.”
Summing up his pronouncement, Ed added, “We can either be like bothersome crows a crowin’ in the wind or bluebirds whose songs bring sweetness and Grace to all that happens and inspires those who are moved to help, no matter how small or large the effort.”
As Ed was leaving the hall of his privy council, Large Tim asked him where he was going. Ed turned and said, “Me? I’m headed to the Waffle House for eggs, bacon, hash-browns with cheese and onions, and black coffee. Would you and Vicki care to join me?
They declined, having unfinished business of the private kind to consummate, or at least begin.
Ed understood their desire and smiled. After all, bluebirds understand that kind of thing.
They said she was all wrong for him, that she would destroy his life...but he thought she was his cup of coffee. When the cup had been drained, he returned to his family and friends, but they were gone. He looked for her, but she was gone. Good cup of coffee though. Perhaps he should have had another, but it was too late.