Dead Men’s Bones

22 10 2009

What is that nasty thing in your mouth?  It looks like it belongs in a morgue.  It’s the dead remains of something meant to be alive and happy.  All flesh is gone from it now.  What the teeth have missed, the rot has claimed, and now you taste and savor the rot, or what’s left of it.  Up and down its length you work, attempting to harvest some imagined bit of morsel, and the futility of the act fails to deter you.

I saw you prancing down the street with your prized possession, carrying it high for all to see.  What a status symbol it must have been.  Oh, look at me!  How rich I am!  I possess a disembodied dry steer femur!  Don’t you envy me?  Oh, sure, you dog, I could just die to get my hands on one of those.  Who needs real wealth, when I can have one of those.

I could see myself pulling up next to a man in his nice new Mercedes.  He glances over disparagingly at my 1978 Ford Pinto.  But, I have an ace up my sleeve!  I pull out a long gray bone and wave it around for him to see.  Tauntingly, I sniff it like the cork of a fine wine.  Aghast, he realizes that the table has been turned.  Indeed, I am the richer of the two!  As I speed from the light, I toss it into his seat.  Here, you can have it.  I’ve got plenty more where this one came from (even if I really don’t).

A bone?  Really?  You expect me to be jealous of your bone?  I walk near you and you growl at me as though I might, at any minute, make haste and snatch up that moldering thing.  It is of no use to me.  In fact, it isn’t even of any use to you or the poor beast that it came from.  Yet, it is the currency of the canine world.  Go bury that thing and wash your mouth out.

A man gets his promotion, makes a few more dollars per hour, and he holds his head a little higher, as though to make the world wonder what he has that they don’t have.  Then, he meets another who makes a bit more than he, and he is crestfallen.  Ah, but the other dog has a bigger bone!  He must make a little more to be happy.  Lucky is he who dies with the most pieces of green paper in his wallet.  Are they more than the battered skeletal remains of some poor dead tree?  The dog prizes his animal skeleton, and we prize the vegetarian one.

Don’t even think of getting that thing near a church.  If they get too close they’re going to snatch it from you!  Man, everyone wants your bone, your nasty green paper.  I had a friend tell me that he could never be a Christian, because he wouldn’t want to feel obligated to give so much of his bones…er, cash, to this institution.  Nonsense, my fellow!  Tithing is nowhere mentioned in the Bible!  You can keep gnawing on that thing.  Keep it.  It is all the wealth you will ever know.

That thing you value, that treasure you pursue, is nothing but a dead worthless scrap of something well past its prime, and you would never be allowed to drag it into the pristine corridors of Heaven.  You don’t know the meaning of the word, “wealth.”  You can have it.  You will not be parted from it.  In fact, you will die and leave your very own bones to the other dogs, to be divided and gnawed upon.

Drop that bone and come inside.  It’s time for dinner.





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