Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Been There, Done That (April #10)" by Mackey Chandler

For those of you without an ad blocker:

And for those with ad blockers running, a link to the book.

And now, it's story time, with Papa Pat! Gather around me, O my best-beloved, and I will share of my treasure of experience, that your life may be long in the land and your refrigerators full of food.

Lo, long, long these many years ago, long before YOUR time, O my best-beloved, when Mr. Carter lived in the White House -
- What's that, Dougie? You remember Mr Carter in the White House? Well, yes you do, Dougie, for you and I are nearly of an age.

Well, back in that day -
-What is it this time, Dougie? You remember Mr Ford and Mr Nixon and Mr Johnson, too? Yes, Dougie, but that isn't the time of which I speak.
-What, Dougie? You remember Mr Kennedy and Mr. Eisenhower? You're PUSHING it, Dougie!  Now unless you need to go to the bathroom, sit over there and don't interrupt me again!

Now, as I was saying, there came a time back in that day when your Papa Pat was appointed as a Youth Shaman, to oversee the spiritual welfare and training of copious youths, ranging from 12 years old to 18 years old. And yea and verily, Papa Pat was sorely perplexed in those time to reach out to the dingbats and knuckleheads with whom he was entrusted. (For, you must know,  O my best beloved, he was not yet Papa Pat in those days, but merely Pat.)

And it came to pass that on one evening he desired greatly to teach them of responsibility and leadership. And he chose Jimmy, the most knuckleheaded dingbat of the group as his demonstrator. 

Papa Pat brought forth a black robe, with the appearance of silk (but it was really paper; he had graduated from college in it); and he bade knuckleheaded dingbat Jimmy to stand forth in front of the group, and he said,

"Jimmy, I am ordaining you as the Head Shaman over all the people. And they shall come to you when they need comfort; and they shall come to you when they need advice; and they shall come to you to perform their weddings and sacred ceremonies and funerals. And in time of war, they shall come to you and ask for your counsel."

And behold, as Papa Pat was saying these things, he took the black robe, and he laid it on Jimmy's shoulders, and he placed Jimmy's arms in the sleeves, and he hung it over Jimmy's frame, and he fastened the robe on Jimmy, and as he was speaking his last words, he knelt down in front of the knuckleheaded dingbat Jimmy, and fastened the hooks of the robe at the bottom,

And he remained kneeling in front of knuckleheaded dingbat Jimmy, and he looked up at Jimmy's face, well aware of the silence that had come over the group, and he saw the slightest hint of tears in Jimmy's eyes.

And, as he continued to kneel, he said to Jimmy, "How did that make you feel?"
And Jimmy replied, in a small voice, "Like I might be worth something, for once."
And then Papa Pat said "And what would you do if someone came to attack your people?"
And young, knuckleheaded dingbat Jimmy tightened his face, and gritted his teeth, and said in a resolute voice, "I'd FIGHT 'em!"

And this, O my best beloved, is the end of that story. No, Dougie, I am not going to tell another today. Now, y'all go someplace else and try to stay out of trouble; I have work to do.

Which is writing the Amazon review for this book, and MOST of what follows is in that review, which can be found here. Vote helpful!

What is the relevance of this (true!) story to Mackey Chandler's excellent work, 'Neither Here Nor There'?
Just this: knuckleheaded dingbats like Jimmy do not, and could not, exist in the society that April and her companions have developed. There is no room for 'spare people.' Young folks, like knuckleheaded dingbat Jimmy, are not shoved into a classroom and expected to behave for 8 hours a day, then released to their own devices until they are compelled to show up again the next morning. Instead, there is PLENTY of meaningful work, and no one cares that they are young. What matters is whether or not they are competent. And they ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a chance to feel like they are worth something. Not just for once, either. Their contributions are vital to the well-running society.

It's NOT like sending kindergartners off to the coal mine; there is plenty of time for recreation, and education isn't neglected, either. However, if someone has a useful contribution to make, they are allowed to make it, and the money is theirs. There are various ways in which their rights may be protected, should a parent decide to take their income for themselves; however, they don't just jump in and rip kiddies from their mothers' arms, either.

It's a good time to be in this world. There is plenty of work to be done; anyone who wants to can find work, but no one has to grind themselves to death just to pay for food and shelter for the day.

Much of this can be attributed to April's own experience. She had a dreadfully hard time being taken seriously when she started out, and whether it was her intent to prevent that sort of foolishness from happening again, that has been the result of her efforts.

Okay, this post has great symbolic value for me. It's NOT a very good review of the book; I only touched upon one CENTRAL aspect of the plot. There is MUCH more going on. HOWEVER! It's the first book review I have been able to write since September 25. and I'm not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the completed.

Peace be on your household.

No comments:

Post a Comment