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“His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.”  – “The Dead” by James Joyce.

Recipe

Last weekend while rummaging around the pantry looking for a cookbook with an idiot recipe for white bread I came across a 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook bought in an antique store many years ago. As I opened the creaky dingy tome out fell a folded slightly yellow piece of paper. It spread its wings like that of an exotic butterfly and fluttered to the ground. Written in pencil in a female had was a recipe hand-for refrigerator rolls.

I love this sort of stuff. I felt like a musicologist discovering a long-lost concerto that has not been heard in centuries. It raised a lot of questions for which I will never know the answers. Who was Thelma and why did she bother to write it down? It must have been a keeper for it took time to write out the directions.*

The contents convey some history of a bygone area. The directions calls for yeast cake which I do not know is available anymore. The flour is to be sifted – does one still need to do this? Even the process of making rolls seems quaint and outdated. I can hear Brother #3 saying no one bothers to do that sort of thing anymore as nearby is a bakery where delicious rolls can be bought quick as a quarter note.

‘Seven cups of flour’ and ‘makes 36’ makes me think the recipe is for a group not a family dinner. I imagine Thelma was part of a church women group in Wisconsin downstairs in the kitchen in charge of making food for after service luncheons. Who can tell really.

In my mind I have a little ‘file’ of  chance folks I’ve encountered in life. I find them – or perhaps they find me – in letters and recipes tucked into books I have bought. They appear on signposts and on memorial quilts and plaques. They enter my psyche as if needing someone to remember them still. I will think of Thelma whenever I see the cookbook that held her like a grave stone.  I plan to make these rolls someday when I can get seven cups of flour and figure out what to do for a yeast cake. I will call them “Thelma’s rolls” and eat them in her memory.

 

*An aside pleasure was seeing the careful cursive without shortcuts as if she was composing an essay. I hear this sort of thing is no longer taught in schools. What a pity for it is more than mere writing but an artistic expression of ones soul, as individual as a fingerprint.

If you listen to the news you’d think we are a world of nervous wrecks. There are certainly are a lot of worrisome matters but the news seems to say we have no options other than going off the deep end towards the worse-case scenarios. A combination of religion, medical training, psychology, philosophy – and life experiences – has me prepared to expect fear and when it happens act calmly. This doesn’t mean I am without fears. It means I am handling things OK enough – or so I hope.

It saddens me when I hear of hysterics needlessly hoarding toilet paper and ammunition yet defying sound medical advice not go out and use masks. These folks haven’t come to terms with primordial human fears. We all have these; we are  ‘wired’ to experience them whenever we are confronted with something unfamiliar or threatening. Let’s look at them.

 

Fear of death. We have gravitated away from thinking about and preparing for this inevitable truth. This wasn’t always the case. Less than a century ago people died younger and more likely. They often died at home around loved ones where their deaths were witnessed. Our ancestors were scared of death but they weren’t gobsmacked by disease and epidemics.  A lot of people nowadays (who should no better) are confronting their mortality for the first time and this isn’t going well.

Solution: Always remember you are going to die and this could happen at any time. “Momento mori” (remember you must die) items were once put up where people saw them on a daily basis. These were not to scare but to remind folks to be prepared for a death and live well in light of such.

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Fear of loss of control.  I often say to my patients if there was one thing they could do to better their lives it is to give up the need to be in control. There is hardly anything we really have control over.  Paradoxically the more we try the less we control. There’s nothing like a pandemic to make one feel out of control.

Solution: discern what you can control (your thoughts and reactions) and what you cannot and don’t need to control and act accordingly.

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Fear of running out. When we feel anxious we tend to hoard things. Hoarding spreads faster than contagion: when we see people snatching something up we think we should do so as well. I think the media does a bad job showing frantic shoppers as this only gets more out to do likewise.

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Solution: Learn to go without. If you don’t have something other things can suffice. To be without something often only means you don’t have it. Weren’t we all recently trying to make minimalism in our lives?

 

Fear of others. If I could eliminate one thing from our monkey brains it would be our proclivity to form into groups of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ with the latter seen as something to compete with or better yet destroy. In every plague people blame someone else for it. Western society generally blames The East (bubonic plague to covid19). That awful man in the White House is playing this strong, rotating among the Chinese; WHO, the Democrats, the media – have a missed any? I suppose we should be relieved he hasn’t yet blamed the Jews who usually get the booby prize in the blame game.

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Solution: be very conscious of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ mentality. Try not to see others as different. Focus on what needs to be done not whom to blame – I am talking to you Donald.

 

Fear if being trapped. We don’t like to be in a cage, even a golden one.  Americans may have more of this angst than other societies. I sense some of the defiance to governmental orders to stay home/don’t group/wear masks etc. touches a national nerve ‘you are not the boss of me!”

Solution: remember not all traps are bad. Some traps are inevitable or for our own good. Be mindful of these and the language applied. I am not ‘trapped at home’ but ‘safe at home”.  Accept the traps that must be for the sake of our welfare.

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I am prepared for death. I have learned the wisdom of not being in control. I can live without things. I try not to demonize people as others. I recognize a cage. By being mindful of these matters it may not stop my fear but I keep going and not go succumb to my fears. Or so I hope.

Pensive

 

 

 

 

Here at La Casa de Spo we have the ritual every Saturday morning to first go to Einstein Brothers for breakfast and then walk athwart the parking lot to Uncle Albertsons to do our grocery shopping. There is hardly anyone else in the store at the 7AM hour; we can breeze in and out with ease. We always the check-out with Denise the intrepid cashier. Her pleasant chit-chat and weekly updates start the weekend right.  As is our wont we we went to both this morning.

Oh the horror.

You all know the situation so I will skip over a diatribe against hysterical hoarders and focus on the Spo-thoughts. Someone and I vowed we would rather go without and go hungry than be part of the lunacy of the times.  We shopped to get only the things we actually needed.*

When it comes to my fellow man I feel often like Margaret Mead among the Bantus observing tribal behavior. I was quite curious to see the shelves.  You can guess which ones were bereft. More fascinating was to see what foodstuffs and item hadn’t been snarfed up in the frenzy.  Here are some curious findings:

All the boxes of macaroni and cheese boxes were gone. Well not all of them. The specialty and ‘organic’ types were untouched and there were plenty of them. 

All the pasta was gone yet there were lots of sauce jars available. Don’t people put sauce on their spaghetti?  The M&C and the pasta both gone I guess people are no longer doing their low-carb diets.

In the meat department all the beef was cleared yet turkey, chicken, and buffalo was available. 

The biggest surprise was to find Kleenex was abundant. What the hell folks – Corona19 is a flu-like disease not a GI matter. I don’t understand the run on paper towels unless people think they are going to use that in lieu of toilet paper. If so the joke is on them as paper towels will clog the loo and plumbers don’t break quarantine laws for love or money. 

The snacks shelves were plentiful as was the produce section.  Perhaps people were a tad sensible to not waste money on junk food and on perishables. 

Someone fetched the milk from the back of the store so I don’t know how is the stock on milk, eggs, and butter. He didn’t say anything like ‘nothing back there’.  

The pet section aisle was full up with pet food. Apparently folks aren’t worried about the four foots running out of Kibbles in the pending apocalypse.  Maybe when their fridges run out of frozen beefsteaks they plan on eating Fluffy ?

Final observation – and this gets my vote for The Spot-the-Loonie award – is the empty bottled-water section.  If I was in a panic and had limited money to spend the last thing I would buy is bottled water. The taps are all working. 

We got our few items and stood in the longer than usual line at the check out. We stood behind a cow whose cart was full-up with frozen pizzas and Weight-watcher entrees. Denise was glad to see us. She was wearing thick blue latex gloves I asked how she was doing and to her welfare. She stated she had never seen the likes of this before and she hoped we were doing OK. I replied we were doing fine and here are our two things as we were buying only what we needed. The mentioned cow turned and silently glared at me. 

We don’t plan to return to the grocery store until next Saturday.  I think we have enough here to eat modestly until then. If President “I’m not responsible for any of this” Trump says we cannot go out we will eat the dog treats along with Harper I suppose.  I just remembered the cheese I ordered for the now defunct Palm Springs holiday was rerouted to arrive here on Tuesday  so I guess we won’t starve after all. 

 

*Milk and dog treats. 

I recently reheard the story of Pandora. For thems unfamiliar with this Greek myth it is a tale ultimately about keeping hope despite sorrow.  Zeus is honked off at the mortals for having power and fire and basically just for being generally happy so he designs a guaranteed disaster to wreck havoc. He creates the woman Pandora and gives her for a wedding present a jar *  – and tells her under no circumstances never to open it. She’s curious, she opens it, and all the woes of the world fly out. Mankind is forever plagued with war, death and disease, turmoil, and strip malls. However, at the bottom of the jar is one other thing: Hope. Some god (curiously, never named) but Hope in the jar out of pity for mankind so they wouldn’t despair. Despite the woes of the world there is always hope goes the tale.

One of my professors in my residency programme taught us never remove a patient’s hope. Even with the dying provide hope to help make their departure better, less uncomfortable and more meaningful.

I have lots of patients who feel hopeless. Sometimes they present their hopelessness as a sort of challenge like a gauntlet thrown down: “Find some way why I should hope my lot will ne any better”. Sometimes all the hope I can have for them is to somehow alleviate chronic suffering to feel and function a bit better.  I am daily tried by this axiom.  Presently I have a handful of patients for whom I have nothing more to offer or to give them. They still keep coming to see me despite ,my recommendations to go elsewhere (hoping they will find someone who can think of something). You would think they would take this commonsense and logical advice: why stay when someone one can’t help you. There are many reasons why they stay with me, but one of these is hope: they still hope I can do something. To ‘give up’ and go away succumbs to the awful realization I have no hope for them.

The opposite of feeling happy is not feeling sad nor is it feeling angry. When you feel sad or angry you still give a damn about something. The actual opposite of happiness is hopelessness: the emotional conclusion things will never be better or different.

There has been a rise in the rates of depression and suicides and drug abuse in the world (particularly in the USA) correlated to the sense of hopelessness. The still voice of Hope is more readily shouted down these days by the legion of woes emanating from the jar of Pandora. The challenge is to discriminate what looks hopeless but isn’t so from the things that are unfixable. Finding Hope in every situation is becoming harder to do for me.

 

*If you are like me you grew up hearing this tale as Pandora’s box, not a jar.  It turns out the Greek word for jar got misinterpreted as box.  The up to date versions of this myth are reusing the word jar. Also in the original myth Pandora is not an innocent done in by her human curiosity. She was purposely designed by the gods as something malevolent to do Zeus’ biding.

 

Pensive

In order to get through life without going mad or losing our marbles we have to delude ourselves from some harsh realities. One of the hardest truths to accept is the realization the majority of us are unimportant and nothing special.* I am one of those people.

I like to believe I am overall a good person who continually works on getting through life with probity and good will without too much ‘Shadow’ mucking up my intents. I am good at what I do and what I do benefits others. My work has meaning. I have a loving family and relationships. Other than my copious carbon footprint I will leave this earth with the quiet satisfaction I beheld a marvelous story and the world was not worse for my being here.

But that’s it. I haven’t done anything noteworthy to get me  into the annals of history. When I go I will be remembered for a little while by thems who knew me until they too die off and I am forgotten. If some of my siblings’ decedents happen to be into genealogy I may be remembered as a dead-end side branch in the family tree.  I will join the billions of people who have gone to their graves unknown and forgotten.

Most folks don’t think this way; they go through life without conscious cosmic thoughts of whether or not they will endure somehow. A tiny minority of us want to ‘live on’; they try hard to become memorable in any way then can.  Often they are depressed knowing their chances of success is very low. A few – very few – get into the history books to be one of those remembered.

This realization doesn’t evoke depression or grief in me but a sort of relief I will not be going down the path towards greatness. I am OK with my lot. At 56 years old I am not looking towards the future in desperation to ‘do something’ like writing a great novel or rising through politics or becoming a legend in my field.

In the musical “Pippen” the hero Pippin dreams of a great life.  “Don’t you see I want my life to be something more than long?” he sings in the opening song. He longs for greatness. He tries politics and war and hedonism – and fails in all.  By the end of the musical he has fallen for a widow with a child pointing him towards domestic living and daily drudgery.  The master of ceremonies suggests he commit suicide in a brilliant ending rather than succumb to the mundane.  Pippen chooses the latter. The master strips him, the woman and child, and finally the stage to nothing. He walks off and tells Pippen to live trapped in ‘that’.  The widow asks Pippen if he feels trapped. Pippen replies yes he does, but he feels good – and that’s not bad for an ending of a musical.  With smile and a bit of flair, the three of them bow, and the curtain drops and the play is done.

I feel likewise.  🙂

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*I think the other hard truth is the world is not just. The beneficiaries of good fortune often do nothing to earn it while the bad people often get away with their actions without consequences. There is no gods or karma to remedy this.

Someone and I recently had experiences of mono no aware viz. the passing of Time and the ephemeral element of such. Last weekend he had dinner with a friend of ours whom we haven’t seen or heard from in many years perhaps decades. Someone reported it was a nice but sort of sad for our friend had clearly aged; he was not as ‘sharp’ as was.  They talked of times together (circa late 90s/early 00s) at places no longer open with friends no longer in touch.

While traveling to Michigan last weekend I wanted to eat at Olga’s, a Greek restaurant I regularly visited in my college days back in the early 80s. Olga was a vivacious young woman then who was just opening her first store. Last Saturdays’ food was the same but the place didn’t have the ambience of my college days. There was a sense of fading to the place; it lacked ‘vitality’. When I went to wash my hands I noticed on the cork bulletin board was a memorial: Olga had died only a few months ago. She was in her 90s.

We would all like to push the pause button in order to stop Time. People and places for which we have warm memories – we want them to stay just as they are. Of course this does not happen. In time people age and disappear and places change or close – they certainly don’t stay the same as when we were there.

One of my favorite poems “The Lost Hotels of Paris” by Jack Gilbert starts with the lines:

The Lord gives everything and charges
by taking it back. What a bargain.
Like being young for a while.

I wrote this entry while witnessing the terrible news of the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral. What a loss; what a sorrow. It raised in me the question not why it burned down but why this hasn’t happened sooner given centuries of candles and tribulations it has endured.

Later in the poem are these lines:

It is right to mourn the small hotels of Paris that used to be when we used to be. My mansard looking down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,
and me listening to the bell at night.  Venice is no more. The best Greek Islands
have drowned in acceleration.

The irony of these lines is Notre Dame has gone the way of the small hotels: another victim of Time.

It’s sad to see things go. This phenomenon will worsen as I age. A younger man does not think this way. He is making memories rather. He is visiting the small hotels of Paris or their equivalent.

But it’s the having not the keeping that is the treasure.

This is my favorite line of the poem. We may not be able to halt Time or keep things but we have the experiences.

My intuition tells me it is only a matter of time until Olga’s place closes and this too becomes a memory. I take solace these are good memories. I merely have to close my eyes and I am back in college with the future before me, eating gyros and laughing with Olga.

The Lord gives everything and charges by taking it back is indeed a bargain. I am glad to have had many equivalents of the small hotels of Paris.

 

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Warrior-Queen is accompanying Harper and I on our walks. While we stroll she tells me about a local variety of unicorn indigenous to the desert. Who knew? She conveys having done a lot of careful research on this subject. Her fondness for unicorns extends to her clothing and her reading material which are all about unicorns.  Friday last we had a birthday party for one of her stuffed animals (a fox); the cake and cookies were unicorn-themed as shown above.

I find this fascinating. She is so serious on the subject. In general she’s rather reserved [1] but on the topic of unicorns she speaks with the enthusiasm of professor with great expertise. As I ask questions I hold back on the main one I want to ask: whether or not she believes any of this. Her sincerity and seriousness seem genuine. Discreetly I’ve asked questions not to challenge but to expand on my ignorance on the topic. She’s been consistent in her beliefs making sure I don’t mix up ‘facts’ which unicorn is which and what each does. 

I forget when children cease seeing their stuffed animals and toys as real. I suspect exposure to things via the internet speeds up the end of childhood innocence. The sad realization Santa and his sorts ‘aren’t real’ must come earlier in life than when I was a boy. [2] I wonder if her friends ‘believe as well’ or do they tell her unicorns aren’t real. If the latter, does she utilize cognitive bias to dismiss arguments contrary to her beliefs as false news and facts to go on believing what she wants to believe? [3]

Her father Brother #4 is very much into Dungeons and Dragons which at some level he knows is all make-believe. All the same he is “into it” as he is into his fantasy football; both seem ‘quite real’ in a way for him.  Perhaps WQ is no different.

I think it’s sweet she believes in a fantasy world full of unicorns of various types and colours and abilities. Using ones imagination and is useful in the development good thinking and problem solving . This makes us better persons. 

In time as she grows she will give up on unicorns and perhaps be slightly embarrassed by once upon a time belief in them, dismissing it as ‘childish’. I hope the consequence of her careful research on the topic may someday apply to scientific research or creative writing.  

Thems who travel to Fantastica come back better for having gone.

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[1] WQ is nine years old.  Last time she was here I think she was six. She was quite bubbly then and with major mood swings ranging from delightful squeals to lamentations of the worst sort. If she had been a patient I would have recommended a mood-stabilizer like lithium. I was assured she was merely being a normal six-year-old girl. Oh the pain. 

[2] I did not learn about ‘where babies come from’ until way late in grade school when a snarky boy told me at recess what had to be done. I was shocked. It sounded not at all fun and certainly nothing I wanted to do. Who says being gay ain’t inherent? 

[3] You will be shocked shocked shocked to learn this still happens even in grown ups. 

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Most of human misery derives from our need to feel included in a group. One of mankind’s greatest gift – and curse – is our innate need to form into tribes. This would be OK by itself but history shows Tribes always have some element of ‘us vs. them’. Defining the group if often done by villainizing those not in the group. It is chilling how quickly and arbitrarily this happens. A difference as trivial as who has a green ID badge vs a red one is enough to quickly form people into opposing sides, that old us vs. them. We’ve been doing this since we came down from the trees and I daresay we won’t be rid of the habit.

It’s bad enough we do this over moot things but go look at history when the differences are more palpable: sex, race, religion, and nationality. Exclusion, pogroms, and wars are often rationalized over rights or resources but this is superficial stuff compared to the archaic simpler explanation of ‘us vs. them”.  Those who are “them” are a threat and if we don’t wipe ‘them’ out they will certainly wipe ‘us’ out.  When ‘us’ creates a ‘them’ their members cease being fellow humans but something less.  The more ‘them’ the ‘us’ group can make them the easier it is to justify their exploitation and annihilation.

Another sad element of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ is how quickly and/or unconscious the ‘us’ members will go along with the ‘us’ rules and beliefs. This is to assure ‘us’ status; the loss of ‘us’ is to become a ‘them’ with all its consequences.

It would be nice if Sylvester McMonkey McBean or something like him came along to teach us a lesson so we will rise above our monkey brain parts but fat chance of that. History is full of Mr. McBeans and they are mostly assassinated. The best we can do it be forever diligent of going into the primordial  ‘us. vs. them’ mentality. If we are to survive as a species we must keep dialogue with ‘them’ to remember they are really only different versions of ‘us’.

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Office

 

Tony G. (the dear!) recently asked how I started making shirts. It is a good story, one I often tell my patients for it has a good lesson to it. I thought I would share it not only with Tony but with Spo-fans.

Sometimes when a patient admires the Spo-shirt I’m wearing to work I thank them for the compliment and then I tell them I made it. Often they are incredulous that I did so; they sometimes admire my ‘talent’ to sew.  I tell them this tale:

Many years ago chums and I would holiday every winter in the Florida Keys. A woman there had a shirt shop. She made loud colorful aloha-style shirts. I loved them and every year I would get a new one as a souvenir. This went on for four or five years. Then she announced she was retiring; there would be no more shirts. I became lugubrious. I wasn’t going to get anymore shirts. While I lamented this loss one friend said “Hey, I got an idea! Why don’t you make your own?” My immediate emotional response was “Oh, I can’t do that”. I then listed the many reasons why I can’t: I didn’t have a sewing machine; I didn’t know how to sew; I had no relations who could teach me.  Another friend said “Well, you could learn”.  My response to this was to point out I didn’t have time to do the things I needed and wanted to do let alone find time to learn how to sew – it was not possible.  A third friend, Jerrold, who sews for a living, hummphed and pointed out if junior-high school girls can do this so could I.  It dawned on me then what I just said: “I can’t do that” and “It’s not possible”.  These are big no-nos in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in which one looks at negative reasoning, assumptions, and fears. I call out patients on these all the time. So I decided to try, somewhat to show Jerrold but mostly not to be a hypocrite. Doctor heal thyself.

I borrowed Someone’s sister’s sewing machine and I bought a ‘sewing for idiots’ pattern. I purposely didn’t take lessons but tried on my own. After a lot of trial and error and more than a few frustrated near-abortions I finally made me a shirt. The garment was crude but I had the satisfaction I had succeeded. Now, that was to be it; I wasn’t planning on continuing the challenge. To my surprise I discovered I actually liked sewing.  I figured if I made a second shirt it would be much better. So I did……

That was many years ago. Since then I’ve made over a hundred shirts. I got better at it. I didn’t have the ‘knack’ but practice made improvements. In time I also learned how to take in/out my trousers and do cuffs. I’ve made curtains and quilts. Seasoned Spo-fans know I once sent a shirt around the world for a fund raiser. What was supposed to be six months-long endeavor to six or eight people ended up lasting two years. International strangers saw it and they wanted to be participate. By the time the shirt returned it came attached to many new people I now count as friends. Mitchell at Mitchell is Moving! is an example.

So –  I have a hobby I enjoy and I developed autodidact skills.  I have a network of friends – and it’s all because one day I didn’t succumb to “I can’t do that/it’s impossible” but I said ‘Maybe I can do that; maybe it’s not impossible; I will try”.

It’s amazing what can happen when we challenge or negative assumptions.

At this point in my narrative to the patient I add: “I think if I went back in time to myself ten years ago and said “Hello! I’m from the future! Look at what you’re going to be doing”  I think my younger self would respond “Are you high? I have no desire, no talent, not time go back to The Twilight Zone as that isn’t happening”.

To this day whenever I am faced with something new and unfamiliar I still have an emotional response to become timorous and want to back away. I then remind myself ‘this is how you felt about making a shirt, so why don’t you try it’. Most of the time I do try and most of the time I find it a marvelous experience.

Go thou and do likewise. 🙂

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The Board of Directors grudgingly gave me permission to write another entry about my pal Charles Dickens. Alas for most people Mr. D is trotted out only once a year at Christmas time. I concur his “A Christmas Carol” is a masterpiece but not for the manifest reason it is a thumping good story.  After a few flops Charlie Boy needed a bang-slap success sale and fast – which he did but his genius is he did it through a story meant to bitch-slap the 1% who could afford to buy it. 

Dickens was a lifelong advocate for The Poor. You will be shocked, shocked, shocked to know The Rich in his time believed poverty was the result of ones laziness and all your own fault; if you would only work harder you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Indeed, to assist the poor makes them worse off and upsets social and divine justice.*

Dickens felt otherwise: success on a personal level is meaningless without engaging with others in the world.  He wanted to get this point through the obstinate heads of thems in charge in a way they would actually listen. He did this through his works. Let’s go have a look see.

“A Christmas Carol” starts almost comic: “Marley was dead as a door nail”.  This is not chance. We need to know he is dead so the ghost is recognized as real and not coming from Scrooge’s own senses. Often in film Jacob Marley is the rushed introduction to get to the meaty middle. In the book Jacob Marley is a center character critical to story.

Scrooge in an amalgam of the 19th century elite. When the specter appears Scrooge can’t understand why Marley is chained: he was a good businessman who succeeded through persistent and self-made industry – good Protestant English virtues. Jacob explains plainly he is cursed because he did not do the actual task of Life: look outward and help others. Another small but crucial detail to Marley is showing Scrooge an escape from damnation will do him no good. This ain’t no “It’s a wonderful life” where Clarence earns his wings through a goodly deed. Marley does NOT get redemption for he is one of the damned. This is bone chilling!  In the better renditions of “A Christmas Carol” the directors keep the novel’s next scene where Marley shows Scrooge the legions of the damned roaming the earth impotent to help themselves and others. 

Sometimes modern readers criticize Dickens for creating a character who too quickly changes his approach. Scrooge’s transformation is too pat. It is hard to believe believe; we believe true transition takes time as anyone in counseling can attest. This is based on our failure to recognize Ebenezer is visited by a genuine ghost from hell ascertaining there is divine justice and the reality of eternal punishment. 

Thanks to this book Dickens transformed Christmas into the holiday we all now know, which includes ‘giving to the poor’. May The Ghost of Jacob Marley continue to haunt and remind us charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence remain our true business. 

 

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*Aren’t you glad you live in the 21st century where such a thing never happens?

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