The old man and the one-eyed Witch Doctor

“Tell me where it doesn’t hurt”, he thought, responding to the tiny little Devil that took so much glee in the addition of a new type of torment to his litany of pains.

Try as he might to avoid it, through repetitive exercise, daily long walks, zero substance abuse, and careful eating, that little bastard with the pitchfork would always give him something new to complicate his daily existence.

Not a religious person, he nevertheless thought “God knows my sins.  It is said that he knows everything that is in my heart.  And, after all, I am wrong to complain, because my brother died at a young age, and never got to live this long.  I should instead be properly grateful, and face this with courage and perseverance.  But it is so hard, Lord.”

All of these things he thought while lying prone on his nice soft bed, after a hot Epsom salt bath.  He reveled in the gradual cooling  of his body and the slowing of his pounding heart.  Through the open door, he could hear the insistent blurting of the television in the living room, and ticked off his mental catalogue of what would probably be on:  an endless variety of beat-the-clock type shows designed to produce artificial suspense or hilarity….scripted bonhomie on a grand scale.  Failing that, it might be the predictable tear jerker spectacles (all true, and not set up, of course)….someone gets kicked off a competition and tearfully explains why they still think they are a good person, and they are proud that they did their best, etc.  Or, some family with many problems with illness and finances gets picked out of the blue to receive a brand new home and fifty thousand in the bank.  We know what happens next….everyone cries, including the soft audience who can’t help but eat it up.

“What a goddamn cynic I am”, he thought.  “But, it’s all about money, isn’t it? And, what better way to make it than by feeding this stuff to us simpletons?”

What comes to him next are some song lyrics that aptly sprang to his mind, relative to his disdain for the television……John Lennon calling it “The one-eyed witch doctor leading the blind”, and, from the Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, “the people bowed and prayed to the neon God they made”.

And, finally, from the same song, “The words of the Prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls, and whispered in the sounds of silence”.

This he had thought of many times of late, and it gave him a sense of abandonment, and of the state of our world.  We have no Prophets, and we do need one soon.

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