The task of Elijah the Prophet, a man God loved so much he didn’t let him die but took him straight up to heaven alive, is to return the hearts of parents and children to each other. This loving task, a precondition for the Messiah’s arrival, was conceived at a time when it was still considered pious to put an adulterer in a pit and stone her to death. The generation gap didn’t start at Woodstock, baby, read your damn Bible.
“Now, that’s what I’d call an elevator pitch, Elie. Bravo, now you’re cooking with Zyklon B,” said the skeleton. “Am I insulting your readers if I point out that Zyklon B was the highly toxic insecticide-derived gas the architects of the Final Solution used to expedite their important work?”
I think it would take more than that to insult my readers, pops.
“OK, now straighten up and fly right,” said the skeleton.
There’s no school that teaches how to be a parent, or a child. We do the best we can. Sometimes parents and children do terrible things to each other, and then what? We either learn to forgive and do better or we keep blaming, herding our loved ones into metaphorical fake showers with nozzles for, not water, but…
“Hitlerious, dood. Again,” said the skeleton.
Parents and children do the best they can with each other, without much help. The only way to break the cycle of anger that may sometimes arise is with gentle bravery and a kind heart.
“I’ve got your gentle bravery and kind heart right here, motherfucker,” said the skeleton, gripping what once was his crotch.
Thanks, you’re, as always, a yoooooge help.
My father was an idealist, lover of animals, champion of the underdog, smart, funny, endowed with a certain charisma. My father was a pessimist, an abuser of the weak, cruel and cowardly.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” said the skeleton.
My father’s ass was the wisest part of his body.
“It was also his most eloquent,” said the skeleton.
Parents and children hurt each other all the time. It can be the work of a lifetime to break this cycle, if you’re lucky. Color me Lucky.
“You wouldn’t know luck if it came up to you and ripped your balls off with its teeth. You are lucky, you poor bastard. Look all around you, would you trade places with anyone?”
No, honestly, I would not trade places with anyone.
“You poor, lucky bum,” the skeleton looked off to where a pair of red-tailed hawks rode the thermals.
“Do you remember what Babe Ruth said about that Called Shot in the 1932 World Series, when he pointed at the bleachers, after Charlie Root quick pitched him, as the Cub bench jockeys rode him mercilessly, and slammed the next pitch right where he had pointed?” asked the skeleton.
Obviously I do.
“Geh head, then,” said the skeleton.
Ruth was always coy about whether or not he’d called the shot, his last World Series home run. It was the stuff of legend and I have read (in Robert Creamer’s excellent biography) Ruth always danced around whether he called the shot, had pointed menacingly at Charlie Root, or gesturing to try to shut up the screaming bench, or whatever. There is a grainy 1932 amateur film clip of him pointing to the spot where the home run landed one pitch later. But he never claimed anything about it one way or the other (Ruth’s voiceover on this clip notwithstanding).
Toward the end of his life a sportswriter friend asked him what he was feeling after clouting that famous home run, as he trotted around the bases, waving derisively at the Cub bench as he rounded first.
“I was thinking, Babe, you lucky bum. You lucky bum!”