10 October 2009

Shut up and grow up, or throw up and get off

It would be humorous if the consequences weren’t so horrendous: grownups living their lives as if they were characters in some comic book.

Oh sure, probably most of us did similar when we were kids. I remember the many times that I’d head to the beach with my towel tied on like a cape, pretending to be Superman, able to leap over tall buildings (or at least, over the trunks of fallen trees) in a single bound.

Other times, when we went riding after catching the “wild” horses (actually, they were tame horses that had been set free), I was the Lone Ranger. Sometimes, though, my big brother chose to be the Lone Ranger; then, I had to be Tonto: “Me, kemo sahbee.” Come to think about it, I don’t think I ever knew that “kemo sahbee” meant “faithful scout”. But I digress.

I imagine that girls played out their fantasy roles, too, but in the “good old days”, I wasn’t interested in mere girls. My but how we grow beyond our childish ideas. Well, at least some of us do. For contrast, consider religious people.

Can you imagine it? More than half the people in the world are living their lives like we did when we were kids. They “think” that the characters in their “holy books” are real, as real as we imagined were Superman, the Lone Ranger, Batman and Robin… The religious assume roles as kemo sahbees for Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ezra, Jesus, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, and all their other “super heros”. But think, too, about this: their “holy books” aren’t comic books, they’re horror books.

What’s worse, believe it or not, it’s not just pretend for them: it’s their version of reality! Thus, extremist Jews occupy Israel with the fervor of Joshua, fundamentalist Christians watch the daily news with bated breath for signs of the Second Coming, most Mormons really are convinced that Utah is the new Zion, and crazy Muslims tie explosives around their waists, drive explosive-laden trucks into barricades and markets, or fly airplanes into buildings, eagerly dying for their Jihad, convinced in their craziness that they’ll get instant access to paradise. They’re all bonkers.

It reminds me of something else. When we were kids, a traveling circus would come to town every year, with its wild ride called Round the World. It spun the “carriages” so fast that they’d swing out horizontally; so, sitting in them, forced into your seat by the centrifugal force, you’d be sitting with your face toward the ground – viewing the former contents of a lot of upset stomachs!

Some kids would scream so much, scared out of their wits (afraid of dying, I guess), that the operator would stop the contraption to let them off. We who still possessed the contents of our stomachs would taunt the sissies: “Shut up and grow up, or throw up and get off!” A similar taunt seems appropriate for all religious people in the world:

“Shut up and grow up, or throw up and get off.”


No comments:

Post a Comment