Madness


            ‘How was the trip,’ Camp asked me after I sat down.’

            ‘I loved being on the road and it made me forget about the madness all around us,’ I said, ‘and we live in a beautiful, diverse part of the world. Just like our license plates say.’

            ‘Welcome back to reality,’ Camp said. ‘Let me tell you about an article in the New York Times which quoted Charles McKay who wrote ‘Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ in 1841. A rollicking chronicle of how humans go bonkers in crowds, who with wild-eyed passion go crazy for prophecy, fortune telling, magnets or alchemy. Surely the 13M viewers who watched a Trump endorsed video of a doctor who claimed demon sperm and alien DNA as the cause of covid-19 fit right into one of McKay’s ‘Popular Delusions.’

            ‘I believe it and his vicious virus is fuelling social upheaval and superstitions about freedoms and cultural identity. We have pastors and leaders, including the president of the US, whipping up their herds,’ I said. 

             ‘The article goes on to say that McKay’s tales of lunatic crowds are highly diverting and it’s comforting to know that it’s not the first time, entire populations have lost their minds. But none of this ends well. McKay writes: ‘Whole communities go mad until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears to be reaped by its posterity.’

            ‘I guess we can comfort ourselves with being the sane ones. It’s a mad, mad world out there and it will get worse before it gets better,’ I prophesised.

            ‘Spoken like a true pessimist,’ Camp said, ‘considering that we are a bunch of hairy, smelly bi-peds with stunted senses and an overactive brain. I’m always surprised how far we’ve come from the slime but we might be on our way back there.’

            ‘Talking about slime, did you watch the shit show between Trump and Biden?’

            ‘Biden forgot the rule that you don’t get down into the mud with the pig because you both get dirty and the pig likes it,’ Camp said.

            ‘Another one of those ‘pigs’ is Mitch McDonnel, who’s been likened to Darth Vader. He’s about to fulfill his life’s ambition by moving the supreme court to the right for decades to come by filling Bader-Ginsberg’s seat,’ I said.

            We both raised and drained our glasses in a toast to the iconic judge.

            ‘A true shame,’ Camp agreed, ‘and the republicans can’t believe their luck. If Ruth could have just held on for another month. I’m sure she tried.’

             ‘And here in B.C. we have out own political circus with the surprise provincial election in three weeks. Was that really necessary?’ I said.

            ‘It’s arrogance and hubris,’ Camp said. ‘Horgan believes they can get a majority government which will lock them in for the next 5 years. It might backfire because people are really pissed off about having an election when the energy should be on the pandemic, senior care and the economy. Also, eight of the standing MLA’s have already quit.’

            I missed these invigorating meetings with my friend. ‘Clare thinks that it would be a mood enhancer for all of us if you, Muriel, Clare and I get together once in a while instead of our thirsty Thursdays. She says that I always come home in a somber mood, as if the world was about to end. Of course, I blame you.’

            ‘Well, she has a point. Why don’t we invite the girls out to join us here, in neutral territory? Next week. That way we can talk about other things besides politics, religion and the pandemic.’

            When Vicky brought 2 fresh pints around Camp asked her: ‘Do you think it’s a good idea to bring our wives out to join us on Thursdays?’

            ‘Works for me,’ she said, ‘twice the tab but who is going to bemoan the state of the world. Surely the girls would lighten up the atmosphere on this table.’

P.S. Hot off the press this morning! Donald and Melanie test positive. He could sail into the White House on the sympathy vote. 

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