Profiles of Power

7 11 2009

PutinThe Premier (Prime Minister, etc.) of Russia has more nukes than he knows what to do with.  He eats caviar for lunch and executes dissidents for entertainment.  Even when he leaves office, he’s still in power.  His people are perfectly free to support his reign.  They can even worship God, as long as they get his permission, first.  He likes to pose shirtless for the press, sporting his lean toned flesh for the world to admire.  Yet, that flesh could stop a bullet about as well as the flesh of your obese aunt, about as well as the flesh of an over-ripe banana.  Maggot food, his corpse will rot in a grave just as nicely as the man he had shot just an hour ago.  Russia will move on, and their fine leader will end as all mortals do, moldering in a grave, resident of a fine pinewood box.


The President of the United States is the leader of the free world.  He’s got the biggest, baddest military in his back pocket, to be sent wherever, whenever, whether they like it or not.  Other nations coexist because he lets them.  Harbinger of change, advocate of remittent peace, he’s here to tell the world how to run, how to live, what to drive, what lightbulb to use.  He has the hubris to cover the name of Christ.  He intends to take your money and spend it for you, because he can do it better than you can.  Yet, with all his wisdom, he has neither the will nor the knowhow to prevent a single Iranian nuke from transforming his guts into a radioactive ash heap.  Even if he survives his term in office, he still won’t survive.  He has a one-hundred percent chance of ending up in the dirt, providing nourishment to thousands of hungry nematodes, and there’s nothing he can do about it.


Bill Gates has enough money to buy a small African nation.  We all suspect he secretly owns Idaho.  He was the nerd you kicked around in grade school.  Now, he practically owns you.  Your web browser is his.  Your operating system is his, too.  With a little foresight, he could force this post off of the internet entirely.  Oops, did I forget to say what a nice guy he is?  He’s so important that people will buy his software even when it admittedly has bugs chewing through it like the grubs that will one day celebrate Thanksgiving on his brain.  Like your Windows system, Gates will one day get infected by a worm.  Unfortunately, there is no patch for that.  There can never be a Bill Gates version 2.0.  I see a blue screen in your future.  It’s a lot like a bright cloudless sky, except without the sun, birds, breeze or, for that matter, sky.

boss  Your boss may not be rich, but he has more than you do.  He’s got your financial wellbeing wrapped around his little finger.  When he says, “Jump,” you say “How high?”  or else he says, “Come see me in my office.”  Your Christmas is in his bank account, so your report had better be on his desk.  Maybe you’ll get lucky this year.  Maybe there will be a little something extra in the paycheck.  Maybe your coworkers will get bit in the butt by the recession before you do.  Yet, your boss can’t pay you to live a single extra day.  One day, his suit will hang in his closet, never to be worn by him again, unless it happens to be for his own funeral.  He can fight to keep the company afloat, but he can’t do a thing about his own mortality.  All things considered, at least his fate will be no worse than the others.


That guy in the Beemer who cut you off on the freeway has a nicer car than you.  He’s got a bigger house than you.  He’s got a prettier girlfriend.  Even his children are more attractive than yours.  As he passes you on the right shoulder, he shows you his finger.  That’s when you realize that he even has a better manicure than you.  The jerk has everything and everything is on his mind, including business prospects, wealth, power, dinner, the windshield, a telephone pole, the concrete divider that he didn’t see and about a hundred feet of open asphalt.  Yes, he’s got everything.  His heirs will be quite fortunate when he dies.  The worms are already setting the table for him.  Don’t forget the salt.


The paraplegic down the street got the short end of the stick.  He’ll never be rich.  He’ll never have that car or that house, or any of the things that the others take for granted.  He can’t walk, and he can’t bathe himself without the help of a nurse.  He’s imprisoned in a rolling chair and a malfunctioning body until the day he dies.  But this man has something that the others don’t have.  He has a hope for Heaven, a faith in Christ and the assurance that the God who chose which embryo would be his to inhabit will one day give him a body that will never fail him.  He knows that one day he will dance on the streets of gold, while most of the world serves as fodder to invertebrates.  Indeed, he is more fortunate than the able-bodied souls who never knew God.  He is richer than Bill Gates, more hopeful than Barack Obama and tougher than Vladimir Putin.  God holds his future.

He won’t even wave an obscene gesture at you on his way to Heaven.


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.