Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Are We in the Pink Yet?
Peanut, also known as OPP, the One-Pink-Paw cat, joins me on the sofa sometimes while I watch the early morning news. I just love the cutesy terms media people come up with to dispel fear and anxiety. They do such a good job of fomenting crises, I suppose an equal measure of ratcheting those crises down has to be considered from time to time. People with short fuses seem to be going off with great regularity these days. I've been hearing a lot lately about "The New Normal." According to the wise folks at ABC News, we as good citizens should be investigating what implications that term might have for us personally. What will we do when the recession is over and things return to new-normal? I guess some of us will not have to sell our homes and belongings for pennies on the dollar or send our pets packing. We might even be able to retire with some dignity and see some of the world before we die. I hope so. Some nice travel agents from India have been commenting here lately, and I, for one, would like to help them increase their business. Of course, beautiful places exist right here in these United States, in Florida even, and I never get tired of revisiting them. Sights like Mimosa trees in bloom along the Blackwater Heritage State Trail evoke a simpler time brought to life by Mark Twain's rosy descriptions of small-town life in his novel Pudd'nhead Wilson. Things are not quite what they seem, though, in his idyllic setting, and it pays to remember that Twain paints a pretty-in-pink picture of tranquil living just so he can tease out the tangled mess he finds in human nature. If you look closely enough, it's easy to detect how gullible we humans are when the social structure du jour has its way with us. I really like his style.
"In 1830 it was a snug little collection of modest one- and two-storey frame dwellings whose white-washed exteriors were almost concealed from sight by climbing tangles of rose-vines, honeysuckles, and morning-glories. Each of these pretty homes had a garden in front, fenced with white palings and opulently stocked with hollyhocks, marigolds, touch-me-nots, prince's-feathers, and other old-fashioned flowers; while on the window-sills of the houses stood wooden boxes containing moss-rose plants and terra-cotta pots in which grew a breed of geranium whose spread of intensely red blossoms accented the prevailing pink tint of the rose-clad house-front like an explosion of flame. When there was room on the ledge outside of the pots and boxes for a cat, the cat was there--in sunny weather--stretched at full length, asleep and blissful, with her furry belly to the sun and a paw curved over her nose. Then that house was complete, and its contentment and peace were made manifest to the world by this symbol, whose testimony is infallible. A home without a cat--and a well-fed, well-petted, and properly revered cat--may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?" (from Chapter 1 of Pudd'nhead Wilson)