What’s next?





            No God?

            That’s what I got handed at seven years old. I didn’t like it either.

            I always found comfort with the idea of an all powerful and friendly father-figure looking out for me from His heavenly thrown.

            A rosary a day was better than an apple, and maybe even better than letters to Santa Claus, too.

            At that age, my world unraveled.

            The soviets had just launched a satellite into space. We anticipated a nuclear attack next – maybe even an invasion from Mars.

            After all, wasn’t there a secret warning issued at Fatima that the Pope refused to disclose?

            When no world war scorched the earth before my feet and dull routine went on and on just the same as it had before, I shrugged, looked up and wondered if He had anything to do with it – only to remember there wasn’t any He to do anything.

            Eventually, I grew to accept the lack of God.

            Then, when I got to college, teachers told me my heroes were wrong.

            Gen. George Custard didn’t save the west so much as killed everything he found in it. Columbus didn’t just discover America, he exploited it. George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, even John F. Kennedy, all had dreadful flaws which grammar school and high school never bothered to mention.

            This sudden revelation made me as angry as a young man as when I heard there was no God.

            I didn’t have to hear about how flawed these people were. I got along quite well without knowing.

            Knowing these sad things altered me, hardening me in a ways I wasn’t aware of so that when Watergate happened, I wasn’t surprised. When Ronald Reagan traded guns to Iran for the hostages, I said, “So what else is new,” and when George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in order to invade Iraq and steal its oil, I said, “naturally.”

            I became so cynical, I didn’t believe any leader any where could be trusted with anything.

            I even began to suspect America might not be as pure as people told me it was.

            But I got used to it and life went on.

            Then, after being married 35 years, someone comes up and tells me the whole idea of “family” is wrong – that we shouldn’t have father and mother figures, that our homes shouldn’t have just one boss. We shouldn’t restrict our kids, insist that they learn manners, morals or ideals.

            So like everybody else, I got divorced.

            But that seemed to make things worse. Everybody seemed isolated. Everybody grabbed what they wanted, kicking everybody else out of the way. Even the old seemed pathetic, surrounded by nurses’ aides instead of their kids, with no one to cry for them when they died.

            But I even got used to that.

            Then, someone told me the concept of hard work no longer applied. No matter how much talent you had, no matter how well you did your job, you could rest assured someone in China or Taiwan or Korea could do it cheaper – if not better.

            Insurance stopped covering things that really needed to be covered like medication or operations.

            Banks started charging you to put in or get out your own money.

            Cable TV companies, gas and electric companies, and other such monopolies started raising their prices figuring you couldn’t go anywhere else.

            It got to the point that nothing did what it was supposed to do, nothing meant what it used to mean, and no one cared – not even me.

            So what’s next, eh?


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