JIM STOCKTON: I’ve heard until I don’t hear


By Jim Stockton • Last Updated 11:31 am on Thursday, February 02, 2012

Jim Stockton

A troupe of snowflakes danced lightly on the window sill this morn while the wife shoveled off the sidewalk behind them. I tried not to notice or feel guilty, but not too successfully. Their extended family, a myriad of cold, lacy wafers, had carpeted the walk and driveway simply to give her something to do.

Meanwhile, the dancers, Cecelia, Celeste, Celine, Ceria, Cerise, Cicily, Sabrina, Salome, Stacy, Sybil and Sylvia, had come to distract me with graceful pirouettes and seductive high kicks. I am especially fond of high kicks because of the architectural revelations.

In days of old I did the shoveling, but advancing age, with symptoms of senility, shunted me to the “endangered” list. My sense of balance had deteriorated, proven so by the checkbook reconciliation. Agility had declined, as well. Gee whiz! I might trip on a snowflake and break my geekophonium bracket or some such accessory, so it’s better to sit back and specialize in thinkology. Who would have guessed that the muse of laziness might drift me into daydreams?

The winter doldrums are not conducive to productive thought, especially in the turbulence of electioneering. While Thrust and Parry skewer the Newt and rockets of epithets light the night, the political machine behind them grinds on as programmed. I vaguely remember something about principles and cycles, that a storm once in motion will run its course regardless of who grips the steering wheel. I am utterly bored with talk about deficits and who caused them because we all caused them, turning a deaf ear to predictions and warnings given 40 years ago.

I’ve become accustomed to the tintinnabulation, the vain jangling of political discourse. I’ve heard until I no longer hear. We’re not going to fix the roof until it caves in anyway, so why stress out over it? Why, I’ve become so jaded as to find solace in HLN, now an electronic pulp magazine and its hokey “mystery” exposes. They typically stretch 10 minutes’ worth of content into an hours’ worth of endurance, but I am at least not expected to take them seriously.

For a while this morning I absorbed an insightful commentary from Sen. Joe Lieberman concerning Iran and its you-know-what program. Sanctions, he said, are not working, the nuclear facilities are buried deeper and deeper into the ground, and it’s a matter of time.

“Then,” blurted I, “the Iranians can unleash havoc and describe it as self-defense because we have pushed them into it.”

But that’s not for me to say, so I won’t. Let Ron Paul say it.

I returned to reverie and the days when John Query was running for President, the “flip flop” candidate. He had changed his mind about the war in Vietnam. We have trouble with mind changers, no matter how valid their reasons. In private life we change our minds in the light of new information, most forcefully if we learn that we have been hoodwinked! So it is, in this day of voice recordings, that our candidate quarrels not only with his opponents but with himself, as well. He sang a different song yesterday.

The unanswered question is, “Has Candidate actually changed his position or is he just telling us what we want to hear today?”

In the old days you could get away with it because the folks in one town had no idea what the folks in another town had been told. It might be months before we knew who had been elected president. That’s not so today. Yet the hopefuls try to tell me what I want to hear, each relating a tale so convincing that I become groggy with hope. As I drift off I see them all decked out in tuxedos with flip-flops for footwear. Not surprisingly, they’ve begun all to look and sound the same, but not much will change because the bureaucracy backstage remains the same.

I look out the window. The snowflake dancers, fleeting and imaginary, are gone now. A fresh layer of white covers the ground. It’s just like before.

Jim Stockton is a retired bookkeeper who lives in Belding. His email address is biffles@charter.net.

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