As I write this on Dec. 27th on a crystal clear 20 degree BELOW-ZERO night, the view from the hot tub is so good I can see next year. True, 20 below is a good test for just how comfortable I am in the old hot tub, but 2017 pretty much tested just how comfortable I was in my world view. “Uncomfortable” with all the “What Ifs” pretty well describes how I often felt in 2017.
All year I’d have to settle in the tub to dissipate the pricks of worry in the back of my mind: the biggest pricks being a couple bullies threatening nuclear war. I’d like to think that not a serious risk, but…shit, really -- just that it’s a risk at all is almost unbelievable.
But here’s most of us Americans wanting to believe the world’s a happy place where we all can play. Then a big bully with a big gun stomps onto the playground and ridicules a little guy because he has a small gun. But this little guy with the small gun could shoot the bully first if he’s taunted enough. What if the big bully decides he better shoot the threatening little guy just in case?
Well, then, the little guy has some ‘friends’ with big guns who don’t like the big bully. The big bully, on the other hand, has lost all his friends. Nobody likes a bully (except mindless little beings who wished they had big guns and so could bully, themselves). The bully is deceived into thinking he has friends because of the resentful mindless beings egging him on, and the rest of the playground is afraid of his big guns because they don’t have guns at all. They just want to play fair. Nobody wants to be bullied.
Suddenly I see something out of the corner of my eye. The problem with being preoccupied worrying about pricks is that if you aren’t looking you might miss something wonderful. Like this: Illuminated by the stars and moon, out on the snow-covered ice, I see three shapes. Three otters, in unison, run three steps and slide ten to fifteen feet. Run and s-l-i-d-e. Run and g-l-i-d-e. I’m now hanging my frozen goatee over the edge of the hot tub watching this wonderful scene. Nuclear war, school shootings, and people who believe they’ve been given permission to judge anyone different from them blow away with the north wind. Thank God for this wondrous view from the hot tub. I can almost feel the glee in their eyes as they turn toward and glide into 2018.
That’s what I’m going to do: run away from 2017 and glide into 2018. I see it and it’s promising. All of us on the playground are going to take away the big bully’s big gun. Happy New Year!