The more infrequently the crumbs of love are offered, the more hooked you are. You become conditioned, like a rat in a cage.


Libya © 2011 Abd'el Gassem Kreir

Libya © 2011 Abd’el Gassem Kreir

One of my grandsons, the one who exhibits more signs of being fearful, has been captivated by the stories of Nessie. His dad sometimes wears a T shirt that states he’s part of the Sasquatch Research Team and there are some people, who, when he asks if they’ve sighted Sasquatch, answer him earnestly.

We tend to think of monsters as “over there,” as roaring, as breathing fire; they are the godzillas, the Frankensteins, the Hungarian Horntails, Scylla and Charybdis, yowies, manticores, jingwei, rakshasas, sandwalkers, the Banana Leaf Ghost, the Headless Mule, Nightingale the Robber, and the like. We think they are in movies and novels and poems, that they fly at night or hide under our beds, in our closets.

Rarely do we think them tiny, like the virus, the mosquito, bacteria, or ticks.

We have a way of demonizing those whom we do not understand or like: refugee children, transsexuals, gays, scientists, those of another religion or who live in another country, young men who happen to be weaponless with black skin, Vietnamese fishermen in Texas, atheists, scientists, children who come knocking on your door or at your border asking for help.

Several of us gathered for lunch on Sunday after the fellowship and one person said she was shocked when a member of the congregation said the U.S. was becoming a fascist police state as she feels blessed to live in such a free society as she does in North Carolina.  My friend is of German-Jewish ancestry and lost family members to the Holocaust.  Another person at the table began to side with the absent member and asked my German-Jewish friend if she had attended any of the meetings of several groups that discuss events in the United States:  she had not.  None at the table discussed the changes taking place in Hungary, Greece, and France or the other nations where the far right is growing as jobs disappear, or of the many nations where morally bankrupt democracies are “saved” by dictators, military juntas or strong-armed demagogues.

We become enchanted with those who promise eternal life like vampires, yet we are terrorized by the bats whose similar appearance and habits creep us out and who prey on the mosquitoes that infect us.

As the strong free press disappears in a world of electronic “news”, as opinion masquerades as news, as discussion yields to rants and shouts, it becomes more difficult to learn of the monsters among us.

While I was in the U.S. recently, I jokingly made a statement about drones.  The woman I was talking to said she wanted one:  she was jealous of her neighbor who had one.

When we encounter a true monster it’s our nature to attempt to placate or appease them, but their hungers are greater than all the fictional monsters combined: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, Pol Pot, African warlords who force children into battle, drug cartels that use children as spotters or mules, food conglomerates that smilingly lead us into diabetes. There are any number of monsters:  the boss who can’t share credit, the politician who trades young people’s lives for two or three homes and their own children’s university educations, all makers of land mines, Most of these monsters charm us in our everyday lives:  it is only when we can step back do we see their psychopathic tendencies that include

antisocial violence, a selfish world view that precludes the welfare of others, a lack of remorse or guilt, and blame externalization.

Then there is the most nefarious of all monsters, profit.  It is necessary, in our world, but, like humor, it always comes at some one’s expense.  Profit’s henchmen wear expensive suits or sleek casual wear and sit high above the din or far from it.  They do not like to wait in line.

Feist again

Words and music by Leslie Feist

Honey honey, up in the trees
Fields of flowers deep in his dreams
Leave them out to sea by the East
Honey honey, food for the bees

Honey honey, out on the sea
In the doldrums thinking of me
Me on dry land thinking of he
Honey honey, not next to me

Even if he wanted to
Even if he wanted to
Even if he wanted to
Do you think he’ll come back?
Would he come back?

Oh no, oh no, oh no

Honey honey, out on the sea
In the doldrums waiting for me
Me in my boat searching for he
Honey honey, food for the bees


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