Sunday, June 2, 2013

152. Selections

“It always amazes me,” C.W. said looking up with a confused look. He likes to assume the shape of an elderly woman in the morning when he reads the news. “Doesn’t it you?”

I was working on the computer and had no clue as to what she was referring.

“I’ve tried to figure it from several angles,” she said. “It never makes sense.”
I gave up. “What’s troubling you, my child?” I said. That kind of tone aggravates him when he has assumed this particular shape.

“This,” she said, thrusting a newspaper in front of me and pointing a long slender feeling at a front-page article.

It was a report of a massive storm in the Midwest. A photo featured a family huddled together amidst a field of debris. The caption identified them as among the survivors and quoted one as saying, “Someone was watching over us, for sure. He saw that our home was spared.”

She tapped the photo. “Who was that someone?”

It was not a question that sought information. It was an attempt to start an argument.

“I dunno. One of the ‘American Idol’ judges?”

“You are so cute,” she said. “How many people died in this storm?”

“Several dozen.”

“And how many homes were destroyed?”

“Several hundred.”

“And someone chose this family to be spared?”

“Your words, not mine.”

“So how was the selection process determined?”



“Shut up.”

“Not much of an explanation, young man.”

“It’s the best I can do this early in the morning.”

“So let me get this straight.”

“Pray do.”

She folded the newspaper. “Your species has selected a worship figure that sends storms across a neighborhood, destroying homes and killing men, women, and children.”

“It happens. Weather can be a cruel partner.”

“But in midst of all this,” she said. “This omnipotent deity suddenly picks one family and preserves it among all the carnage?”

“According to the newspaper.”

She sighed. “If you were doing the selecting, would you choose me?”

“For what?”

“As the one to be saved.”

Oh dear friends, you can only imagine the effort with which I bit my tongue.

“I don’t think I would want to be put in that position,” I said.

“So you would allow nature to take its course?”

“I suppose so.”

“Then the survivors couldn’t credit you with saving them.”

Disasters can bring out the best in your species. On some
of the dying planets I visit, the community-at-large,
what you call 'Government,' isn't willing to
help the victims of Nature's fury. - C.W.
“Oh, I suppose they could if they wished.”

“Then the victims’ families could blame you with equal justification?”

“Go to hell,” I explained as I rose to get another cup of coffee.

“I am so fortunate,” she said as she looked wistfully out the window.


“I could have been selected to observe a less fascinating species. What a tragedy that would have been.”

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