The Things That We Believe
I’ve been living here at Faded Glory for just over eleven years, and I’ve never seen a soot-covered guy with a white beard, wearing a red suit, mysteriously materialize from the huge hearth in the common area at Christmastime. Partially convinced by excited children running around the Inn, as well as the hype on radio and TV, I have certainly nurtured hopes over the years, but alas, no St. Nicholas has ever appeared . . .
At Easter time, foolish me — I have waited for that little white rabbit, but he too — has never come. Who ever heard of a rabbit who lays eggs, anyway! Give me a break!
As for that damned Tooth Fairy, I was already too smart to believe in him when Isabel’s little nieces and nephews began conning her out of her pocket change. I have personally witnessed her entering their rooms to place her hard-earned money under their pillows! What a scam!
Do I sound a little cynical? You bet I do! Is your reality so awful that you find it necessary to conjure up fictional heroes for your children?
The other day when little Gabriele Tuttle was crossing her eyes at the breakfast table, I heard her mother say, “Now, Gabriele, if you keep making faces like that, your face is likely to stay that way, and you’ll never be able to uncross your eyes again.” Gabriele had been entertaining the Stephen’s twin four-year-old boys with her antics, and every time she made a different face, they would erupt in gales of laughter. Now, a serious look crossed Gabriele’s brow, and she broke off her hilarious act and went about finishing her half-eaten stack of pancakes.
Isabel says often that she was brought up to believe that drinking coffee as a child “would stunt her growth.” Even though she paid token regard to her mother’s dire warnings, Isabel went right ahead and indulged in pre-teen coffee-drinking, and has turned out to be a rather tall, slender attractive lady — despite her mother’s periodic rants. Go figure!
To this very day, Micah Davenport will do just about anything to avoid black cats, and I have many times seen him avoid walking under our standing ladders in order to avoid seven years of bad luck. Actually, if Micah hadn’t had more than his share of bad luck as a teenager, he would have had no luck at all.
Hank Beavers was blessed with tremendous eyesight. He has never worn glasses, and he can easily identify individual hawks flying high above him in the sky. He credits his great eyesight to his mother’s insistence that he eat lots of carrots while he was growing up. Hank “is what he is,” and nobody has ever attempted to undermine his beliefs. He will always believe that, because of carrots, he and Bugs Bunny ‘rule the world.’ Carrots, indeed!
In this day and age when you are sending astronauts to the moon and microwaving your food with radio waves, I find it amazing that my human counterparts still sustain and believe in the myths generated by your great-grandparents and the cavemen. I guess that it’s not these weird myths in themselves, per se, but the blind faith that you put into the superstitions espoused by people from a bygone era.
Isabel was watching TV the other day just as the news media was covering the demolition of a landmark building in downtown Atlanta. She called Micah into the room when it was disclosed that the building never had a 13th floor. The elevators stopped at the 12th and the 14th floors, but, due to superstition, there never was a 13th! Also, you might be interested to know that today, most major airports in the U.S.still don’t have any departure or arrival gate No. 13. This is just not logical, folks!
We dogs are born realists and pragmatists; what you see, is what you get. We think in black and white. No room for idle speculation, mystique and superstition — ignorance is indeed — bliss. We don’t get nine lives like cats do, we get just one, and we’d better make the best of it! And, by the way, where did the nine-lives myth come from? I’ve seen several cats out on Route 60 that were less than an inch thick, and I will be willing to bet you that they were still struggling through life #1 when Mr. Firestone came a’ calling.
I remember years ago, hearing a doting mother at the Inn telling her little daughter that she mustn’t run with a lollipop in her mouth or the lollipop stick would skewer her tonsils if she fell. Out of morbid curiosity I followed that disobedient, fast-moving child around for over a week, and the predicted mishap never occurred. Come to think of it, since then, I have never even HEARD of a child being injured after falling with a lollipop, Popsicle, or corn dog stick in their mouth.
I guess that the most vivid and feared myth in the human repertoire of myths is probably the “boogeyman.” His range of operations is not limited to the lower forty-eight — he is alive and well in children’s’ imaginations all over the world. Once a parent takes the boogeyman out of the box, they cannot put him back. Nobody has ever seen one, and no one has ever been hurt by one, but virtually every child knows and fears the boogeyman. Kind of like an IRS agent or a rogue mother-in-law.
The boogeyman is, in our culture, inexpensive and easy to bring to life. All a child needs is a dark, empty bedroom, a story innocently recounted by a parent or a well-meaning relative, a few latent insecurities, and they’re off and running. Here, we have a society in which many believe that the “moonwalk” was created on a Hollywood sound stage, and the Holocaust never happened; but “boogeymen?” — a huge number of you adults still believe in them!
Okay, now I suppose I’ve given you the impression that I am laughing at you. Not so! Mercifully for you, Mother Nature did not give dogs the ability to laugh.
We all have our demons, many of which were passed on to you by your ancestors; but, we’re all in this awesome ‘catastrophe’ together. If we didn’t have vivid imaginations, and things that ‘go bump in the night,’ life would get pretty boring, wouldn’t it?