Today’s meditation addresses one of the most common complaints of those who commonly complain about addresses. To wit “There are so many ways to go wrong.” And, of course, its corollary “But why? Surely one or two ways would be plenty.”
For proof, just look at the road to righteousness. Following it is like walking through a field at night where stray dogs have held open tryouts for sniff of the year. Emerging with perfectly clean shoes is supposedly the single and the only way to righteousness.
Yet isn’t the very purpose of shoes (aside from ‘Hey, Macarena!’) to keep our little toesies from wrongteousness? And isn’t that why Mr. Big invented the garden hose and the potato brush?
Still, would it have killed the staff and management to put up some lights so we can see where we’re going? Blame do-it-the-hard-way Moses for that. After all, he came down from the mountain with ten commandments. Not to speak ill of Charlton Heston, but let us remember: before he went up the mountain there were zero commandments.
Then lawyers got involved and commandments were modified with exceptions, exclusions, and extenuating circumstances. Look at the Matta Boom Ba exception as defined by the law school at the University of Foghorn Leghorn.
“The third—I say the third—commandment says ‘Thou shalt keep holy the Lord’s Day,’ unless thou haveth a hangover like a tiny—I say a tiny—Keith Moon in thy brain going Ba BOOM Ba BOOM, Matta BOOM Ba.”
(Yes, it’s true that you don’t hear people saying ‘shalt’ anymore, unless you count them saying shallot really fast, as in shal’t, which you probably don’t.)
At any rate, the fact remains that with no intentions of going wrong, you’re out for one little beer on a Saturday night, fully clothed and intending to make tomorrow’s 10 o’clock Mass at St. Ned’s of the Barley. Before you know it you’re naked and have to be restrained by six bouncers.
Which is ironic, as it flies in the face of the Ways to Go Right code established long ago by Axel “The Hamster” Hammurabi that has long kept you from sin: “If you’d been in a bar where you belonged this wouldn’t have happened.” Word to wise: it does no good to complain “I was over-served.”
So, what started out as a simple commandment becomes a shaggy law with fringe attachments and inflamed codicils. That is a dangerous formula for going wrong over wrong.
On a bright note: Medical science has taken great strides in the delicate removal of inflamed codicils, using techniques that preserve the sensitive bundle of nerves that allows one to go back into the same bar the following Saturday night, shouting “Now where—I say where—was I?”
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.