Curtis Dahlgren
How many light bulbs does it take to change the sea level (or the hearts of men)?
By Curtis Dahlgren
November 24, 2016

"Moscow added 12,000 to the toll of death in the German ranks. North of Stalingrad another four thousand died." – November 23, 1942 ("News Review of 1942," published by WLS)

Alexander an ensample of this thirst unsatisfied,

With no further worlds to conquer, sat down and cried.

Richard M. "Pek" Gunn ("Keep on Laughing," 1975)

WAR AND PEACE, I promised to tackle. I'm a non-fiction fanatic, but sometimes I resort as a last resort to fiction, to make a point emphatic. The other day I was watching the battles of "Hacksaw Ridge" and a light bulb went off like a flash:

What we have here is a failure to diplomaticize, to coin a word. "The Way of peace they know not well."

Thus, it's time for my favorite fiction, a rerun of the annual classic, "Four dips go into a bar" (last posted here 11-22-15):

Daddy, Daddy – did bad men really used to shoot people in theaters and schools?

Yes Son. But that was a long time ago. It never happens anymore. Not since this one year . . .

What year was that, Daddy?

Well Son, I don't remember exactly anymore, but it was the year the human race almost lost the world.

What do you mean, Daddy?

Well, this one city was surrounded and some people wanted to wipe it off the map.

Really? WHY?

No one can remember that either anymore, but I guess it seemed like a good idea to them at the time.

What happened?

Well Son, just as all Hell was starting to break out all over, this very mysterious thing happened . . .

[To be continued, but the story is still being written right now as we speak. In lieu of "the rest of the story," it's time for the annual "Four diplomats go into a bar"!"]

"I speak the password primeval . . Stand up for the stupid and crazy . . Hate tyrants. . Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book . . ."
– Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER or a November to forget? I'm just asking. The year 2013 was the first time Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah had fallen on the same day since 1888. Does that mean anything? Don't know, but the following is the column I posted for it. Just "imagine":

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD, four diplomats go into a bar. They sit down at a table and a waitress says, "Would you like menus?" and they say yes. "Would you like something to drink?" she says.

One said 'just water'; one said beer; one said 'wine'; and the atheist ordered a mixed drink.

As she left them to get the drinks, in came a young man who had just escaped from an insane asylum. He sat down at a table nearby and listened to the four dips talk. One of them put down his menu and said, "Well, have you made up your minds?"

"Hold your horses," said one of them. "What's your hurry?"

The atheist said, "I'm getting a headache; I think I'll just have another drink."

One of them said, "You know what I really want? I want to bless the food before we eat. After all, it is Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah. That won't happen again for over 70,000 years."

"No way," said one. "I'm facing the wrong direction."

"No way," said another. "I'm facing the wrong direction too."

"No way," said the atheist. "You're all crazy!"

One of them said, "Well, in America we still have some rights to be crazy."

"I will overlook that demeaning remark," muttered the boy from the asylum to himself.

The waitress came back, took their orders, and left with the menus, overlooking the boy in her haste.

One of the diplomats cleared his throat again and says, "Come on. How about it?"

One of the others said, "If you're going to bring up religion again, I'm leaving."

The boy from the asylum stood up and says, "Hey, just a minute here. I can help you solve your problem."

"All right," said the atheist. "Go ahead if you think you're so smart!" So the boy says:

"OK. Let us stand and thank the God of the Four Winds. Then you face the prevailing westerly wind and thank Him. Then you face the south pole and thank Him.

"Then you face the East and thank Him. Then you face the North Star and thank Him – or, if you're an atheist, just have a moment of silence and thank 'whatever'!

Then you get down off your high horse and put four on the floor – your two hands and your two knees, like this.

"Then you cross your ankles, put your head on the floor with your elbows on your knees, and your hands on your head, like this. Then if you want to look smaller, you just
squeeze and make yourself look like a ball!

"And NOW you're ready to pray for peace. Who wants to go first?"

The kid got up off the floor, and looked around. The door was just closing and the four dips were gone. "Another miracle," he says. "Now I can finally eat in PEACE!"

The waitress came and put the four orders on the table, and looked around. The boy says, "I think they just went to the bathroom."

As soon as the waitress was gone, he says "Praise the Lord; the Lord provides." He ate all the food that he could, had one drimk, and sat back down at his table.

A waiter came by and said, "Oh, did you want to see a menu?" And the boy says:

"No thanks. I'm not hungry any more."

He limped out the door, and "Happy Thanksgiving" he cried. "God bless us every one!"


Note to Tiny Tim: You can be too big for God to use, but you can never be too SMALL. And by the way, wars are simply unnecessary, totally (three cheers for Mel Gibson and Desmond Dawes).

Speaking of light bulbs, the only thing faster than the speed of light is the power of the grapevine. If a light bulb flashes on while you read my columns, pls pass 'em on!


© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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