Nothing New Under the Sun

We were having Thanksgiving dinner at my son’s when a friend made the astonishing statement:

“My girlfriend and I never talk about politics.”

My mean mind went on to extrapolate, concluding that the couple kept their passionate relationship up and running by avoiding any discussion that could generate a disagreement between the two. But what kind of loving intimacy could this be?

“So, Alan, what do they actually talk about?”

Uai, what do you mean? Have you forgotten already? They must talk about their passion, about the stars, about the color of the eyes of their future children.” (Alan obviously didn’t say “uai,” which could potentially provoke extreme doubts about the veracity of this report.)

Here at home, as you know, our long-lasting love has been fed mainly by discord, by the hot, passionate tone of our frequent fights about (almost) everything, which, incidentally, has been described by relationship experts as the ideal recipe for a durable marriage. Who knows, for us it has worked so far, and for over ten years.

More recently, however, our efficient “love-war strategy” has been put to a serious test, since after a long dispute over who’s right in terms of politics — American politics, at least — I have come to agree with Alan on (almost) everything. And I fear what will come next, as a result of this dreadful general agreement.

And while we are waiting to see where this will take us, I know it’s not funny at all, but I can’t stop myself from laughing my ass off (Alan encouraged me to write “arse”) whenever Obama appears on TV stating that “the biggest enemy we face today is the weather,” oops, “climate change.” And in the last few days, this has happened every five minutes, especially during the coverage of the summit in Paris.

What’s worse, in his global crusade for an all-encompassing lack of sense, having even been labeled by opposition analysts as “pathological,” the American luminary has amassed several supporters, including Angela Merkel, the all-powerful European Union leader. As we all know, not so long ago, by deciding to prove her nation as the most charitable of all by opening its doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees (Have you realized that they stopped talking about this subject after the Paris attacks?), Merkel ended up creating a problem she does not know how to solve. I’m not going to share with you the recent comments from a friend who is in Belgium right now, fresh news from the “front,” negating part of the media frenzy. As she has told me in confidence, a little shocked, there are rumors that the “refugee camps” in Germany have several features in common with the con… Shut up, Noga, we’re not here to advance hearsay, are we?

Anyway, united world leaders had declared proudly this week in Paris that this climate conference taking place in the City of Lights was the best answer to Isla… oops, shut up again, you cannot call these terrorists by their name today without sounding xenophobic, despite the fact that 99% of the current acts of terror are perpetrated by people who make it obvious, loud and clear, they are acting in the name of… Yes. Him.

You will have to excuse me, but I can’t make myself associate these two issues — climate and terrorism — despite the dedication of some patient friends who rush to explain to this intellectually challenged person here that “climate change” causes poverty, insecurity, need, and, as a consequence, terrorism. (Nothing to do with religious fundamentalism and the exploitation of ignorance with meaningless promises, of course.)

Faced with such a logical and direct demonstration of cause and effect, all I can manage to do is go on laughing. It must be a nervous reaction, I don’t know. So, an alleged climate change, that may or may not occur in about 100 years, is a more serious challenge to mankind than a gang of soulless brutes who can kill us without notice, anytime, anywhere? Based on a theory that nobody can prove?

It never hurts to remember that the crucible in which this new type of violence (I say “new” because it’s based on faith, not on social revolt or something, like the much missed IRA, Baader-Meinhof, and the like, which were previously limited to national aspirations) is being alloyed is geographically located in a region that has been desert-like and miserable since the times of Harun Al-Rashid, the true Caliph of Baghdad, with his thousand-year old stories of oases and other refreshments. Even before that.

All right. I can already envision hundreds of activists, “who mean good,” accusing me of being ill-informed, illiterate, etc. Especially now, when, unable to prove that the Earth is really heating up (I’m talking about the temperature, okay?), they decided to change their previous slogan, “global warming” — a famous electoral argument invented many years ago by Al Gore (the said “Al Bore,” by the way, lost the election, but never gave up his private polluting jet) — to “climate change,” without specifying exactly what “change” they are talking about. In this way, they will be able to miraculously transmute their cause at any given time to a more convenient “global cooling,” which, incidentally, is what Alan has been advocating for years: according to my well-informed husband, the world is actually approaching a mini ice age, mainly due to low solar activity during this period, which, by the way, is not due to careless or criminal human activity, none of that. It is only a natural cycle, as has occurred many times during the life of our beautiful planet.

And as we’re into laughing for no reason, I just remembered a Jewish joke, kind of anti-Semitic, but I’m allowed, so there it goes. Consider my option to make the main character Jewish as a goodwill gesture on my part.

So once upon a time there was this opportunistic Jew, who, inspired by stories of space exploration, decided to sell a tourist package to visit the sun.

“But, Moishe,” asked the worried prospect, “how’s that possible? Isn’t it going to be too hot?”

“Hell, no. We’ll go at night.”

Right. I won’t go into details about the total lack of meaning behind Obama’s latest statements because, frankly, although I’m laughing, I’m depressed enough. Our President’s main focus is to pose as a great global leader, mainly through talking. Incidentally, he seems to believe that simply not calling a horse a horse will stop wild horses from running us over, a shame for the so-called “civilized” world, which seems to feel obliged to embark upon a “liberal politically correct” ship of fools.

As far as I’m concerned, I prefer to end this chronicle with another joke, and you can put two and two together if you wish:

The body parts gathered to choose who among them should be crowned king, or queen, or whatever (today it’s always better to leave the gender vague).

The first to make his initial statement was Brain:

“This debate makes no sense at all, as the result is so obvious. From up here, I coordinate everything that happens. I see, I hear, I feel. I interpret and understand, I control our actions and determine our reactions to facts. Therefore, I should be king.”

Heart replied immediately:

“Drop that shit, it’s too ridiculous. Even if Brain is declared dead I can go on beating, so it is I who deserve to be crowned king. Now, if I decide to stop, there’s no life left to pump. How about that?”

And so the meeting went on, with each party defending its platform, some with more energy than others, until you could barely hear, coming from the bottom, a little tiny voice:

“You can stop all this talk right this second! There is no doubt that I should be made the king of the body!”

Protest came in unison. What power could that small, insignificant body part have? It was often dirty, stinky, acting imposingly and uncontrolled. Its mere name is considered bad taste among educated folks.

“Okay, then. I’ll shut myself down for a few days and after that we can decide. Agreed?”

And so it was done. After a couple of weeks, the body reunited and Arse was unanimously declared king.

I don’t need to remind you that, in the privacy of our unconfessed brilliant thoughts, we probably prefer to see this whole violence, whose name we cannot say, as an annoying threat emerging from the world’s asshole, oops, sorry.

P.S.: The pain never stops, seriously. And so it happened that this chronicle suffered a setback and was almost discarded, like one of its predecessors no more than two weeks ago. I’ll take a risk and affirm that, as in too many of the action movies we’ve seen lately (don’t give them ideas), the killer couple from San Bernardino was actually “activated” by their “command.” What a depressing world.

About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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