In the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where fifteen hundred people could be gassed in a single large room, when the gas had killed everyone and they opened the doors to clear out the bodies, the men of the Zondercommand found the bodies piled in a pyramid. The first to die were on the bottom and as people began to climb one upon the other for a last gasp of breath, the last person at the top, being the last breath of that community of fifteen hundred Jews. Would I wish to be that last person taking that last breath? I think I would prefer to be lying already dead at the bottom of the heap of what was once humanity. It is so very painful to watch.
It’s at times like these, I like to remind people that there is at least some relief to be found in smoking Camels and drinking Jack Daniels. From time to time there is a need to drown our sorrows because from time to time the sorrows around us become unbearable and “keep your chin up” just doesn’t work. God never spares the “infants and sucklings” in his wrath. That phrase is used repeatedly in the Torah. When God gets angry he does not spare the infant and suckling or the aged and infirm. When God gets angry there is death without and terror within. And, as Bob Dylan sings so hauntingly in his new song, Tempest - “there is no understanding of the judgements of the Lord.” I will erase them, God says, in the Song of Moses, but for the arrogance of the enemy who will claim their hand was higher than mine! And the enemy came again and again the infants and sucklings and elderly and infirm all were put to death... and finally it ended and there was no more Israel and there was no one left to gloat, just the last person on the top of the heap of what once was. And there will be none to remember. “Ashbitah mayenosh zichram,” God proclaims, “I will erase all memory of their existence.”
Fortunately for me, my guardian Angel is the Angel of Death and she protects me from illusions and I look forward to her cold embrace, for that is one promise, I know will be kept, this is an Angel, I can believe in. It is one of the few scraps of my ancient theology that remains unshaken. I know that I will vanish forever forgotten, not a trace of a memory will remain, all my sins washed forever away in oblivion. For the rest of you, I recommend Jack, Camels and an extra Nexium. On the positive side, the balmy December days continue, soon Spring will return. Remember that once upon a time there were seasons... and the mighty Cedars of Lebanon touched the heavens. Oh, to see those great forests of Cedar where today is only blood and sand. There is no comprehension of the judgements of the Lord even if you don’t believe anything. Go and explain how it happens, why it happens. Give me science and psychology, or give me a stiff glass of Glenlivet and some smoke.
It’s closing time, ladies and gentlemen, drink up, this is our last round. It’s one for the Devil and it’s one for Christ. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. There... I said it. I really don’t mind wishing you and me and us, a Merry Christmas. I wouldn’t mind having a Merry Christmas just once! So, let those of us who can still manage a hug, to embrace each other. Find a shoulder and have a sigh, share a tear and drink to life. It’s a new Sunday and there are precious few shopping days left. Enjoy them and don’t worry about your credit... it is good with us. We are just sorry for the inconvenience and we appreciate your patience. Keep your courage up, there must be a cliche that is appropriate for a Hallmark card. Something with Santa and children all in red.
I apologize to those I have not yet insulted. I wish I could be a nice person, but it just isn’t in me. In place of love all I have is some good advice: see your doctor, get a prescription and kill the pain. Who knows maybe it will be better tomorrow. From my mother I learned never to serve food in the container and if you can’t say something nice say something nasty. From my father I learned that we live in hope and die in fear. They were too fucked up to really know how to love their children so they battered them instead. It looked like love to me and I longed for it. It is all ok now. I learned a secret meditation technique that allows me to leave my pain on the bathroom floor as I dry off from my morning shower. It has to do with getting the water off and putting oil on dry skin. Then you sit and stare into the vacuum or her eyes.