Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here He Comes Just a Walking Down the Street

The pope arrives tomorrow. Will he come on a rope?

I was out in New Jersey tonight having dinner with my sister and her family and the local news was all about the pope coming to town.

Children were being interviewed. They exhibited the behavior of kids awaiting Santa Claus. Of course, their parents did this to them.

Earlier today, I was walking down the street in Queens to the subway station and in the last block, coming down the steps from one of the many dentist and doctor offices of brick row houses, was an older man with a cane and he started to fall off the steps onto the sidewalk. My stride was such that I was placed right next to him as he was falling. I caught him, easily (he was a little man) and he was so appreciative. He had lost his balance, terribly, his cane not placed correctly on the step beneath him, in the opposite direction of my approach, so he didn’t see me coming. He was very surprised and relieved and so happy to be captured before he landed on the sidewalk. He lovingly said, “Gracias amigo.” And I squeezed his shoulder and he squeezed my arm. It was human warmth as it needs to be.

And I thought, with my sinus infection, “We are all falling off stairs all the time. And it just seems so normal to catch people as they are going down.”

And so tonight, I was thinking, while I was driving back to Queens from New Jersey in Megan’s car Stan (Thanks Megan), why the hell do we need a pope? Or anyone like that?
Sure, people need to be reminded. But why? Why aren’t people just naturally caring? It seems absurd that there needs to be a leader for this kind of thing.

We are animals, sure. And we will do anything to insure our own survival, and even more, our own pleasure, which, in practice, does include enslaving and mistreating others, wittingly or unknowingly. So, consciousness had to be raised. And religion of yore did some of that. But still? Now? After Voltaire?

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