Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Ben and the Morons
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If your god's not picking up his cell, come see us. We'll talk.
"The lives of great men do remind us
We can make our lives sublime.
And in parting, leave behind us
Mounds of buzzard-friendly slime."
Wait a minute. Did I get that right? My mom always used to say this poem to me when I was a kid.
No. No. The last line is: "Footprints in the sands of time."
Well, I just saw some footprints disappearing under a high tide of morons.
That's what happens, you know. To bored gods and great men. Those footprints are either gonna lose it in a sandstorm or get washed away in a Nor-easter.
Cold day in Philadelphia, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Ben Franklin's 300th birthday, can't sit home picking the old nose.
Well, they had a posh bash at the National Constitution Center, complete with a 20-foot birthday cake and 300 candles, every Grand Poobah within 300 miles, and all the fabulous winners of this world pontificating on Ben the Great. Then they sang "Happy Birthday" and with a great Whoosh, the big cake spouted red, white, and blue streamers.
Anne crashed this party. She was not invited. She stood by the door so the security guards wouldn't throw her out. When they tried to anyway, she flashed her Daughters of the American Revolution badge and said, "Don't Tread on Me."
Anne was thinking how much Ben Franklin would have hated such an overblown and smarmy affair until she noticed the beautiful young ladies of the National High School Champion swim team. Anne thinks Ben could have reconciled himself to being among them.
It gets better. Across the street is the churchyard where Ben is interred. There's a tasteful small parade and short service there, using a very broadly applicable prayer Franklin wrote himself. The Masons had their say, the Horticultural Society laid a wreath. The bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" (do they ever play anything else?), and the do was done.
Except for one thing.
People started throwing pennies on Franklin's grave.
Someone even put three of those coin rolls down. You know, the ones that hold 50 pennies apiece.
Am I missing something? Isn't this the dude who said, "A penny saved is a penny earned?"
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that's in the Bible.
Anyway, I was one of the last to leave, so Ben Franklin treated me to a cheesesteak. The guy at the kiosk didn't care if I paid in pennies.
The bored gods salute Dr. Benjamin Franklin and his footprints in the sands of time.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS