A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Notes From the Small Pond: Us

We’re stuck with each other.

All of us.

All of us Trumpsters and all of us Biden-Buddies and everyone wishing there was some sane Other Option and all of us Christians and all us Muslims and all of us Jews and Palestinians and all of us short, fat idiots and all of us tall, lean geniuses and all of us Cops and all of us Robbers and all of us addicted to chemicals and all of us addicted to religion and exercise and gambling and shopping and eating and all of us Having and all of us Wanting and all of us Frightened and all of us Frightening and all of us with one belly button and all of us with two eyeballs and all of us without either and all of us Normal Ones and all of us Abnormal Ones — the single, common denominator being All of Us.

Stuck with each other.

Blessed with each other.

Contrary to popular opinion — mostly born of misguided catechism and well-meaning bible stories, the word “Blessed” is not synonymous with “Lucky,” as in:

That guy is blessed with a ton of talent!


We’re so blessed to have a warm, safe home…


I’m so blessed to have you in my life…

Instead, the word “blessed” is of ancient Hebraic origin — waaay older than the writings that became The Bible and only slightly younger than the manmade difference between Us and Them originally born of evolutionary imperative but perverted over the course of human history by the collective insanity in believing we’re more special than each other and every other Earth-bound entity, while the rocks and trees and alligators and cockroaches laugh their asses off, incredulous, just waiting to get the place back for themselves after this briefest of interruptions we humans have so annoyingly caused them.

“Blessed” shares a root word with “Blood” and to be “blessed” roughly refers to being “bathed in blood” or “consecrated with blood.”

As in, the sacrificial blood spilt by any given assortment of offerings, human and animal, slain at the hands of other (luckier) humans and offered to their perceived gods — Givers, Protectors and Sustainers of life — thereby indicating that those offering the most blood — those giving the bloodiest of sacrifices — those most bathed in blood being held in comparatively higher regard by the god(s) for whom the blood was presented.

Today, at least around here, we don’t often drag our livestock to church and slit their throats at the altar. Instead, we live our Earthly lives enduring all manner of pain and suffering with the similar mindset of our blood-letting ancestors, taking cold comfort in the idea that our suffering here and now equates to a better party somewhere else, sometime later, which makes about as much sense as the bloody corpse of a goat equating to similar salvation. And about as messy.

Blessed. A comparatively better state of being than Unblessed, but still… When I picture myself covered in the blood of some sacrificial offering, freshly slain by my own hand, the word “lucky” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. Ever gut a deer? There’s a much more sobering intentionality at play.

And, honestly, if we check our Because My Mom Said and our Because My Pastor Said and our Because My Candidate Said at the door, and bring some old fashioned critical thinking to the table, we’ll recognize that the most Blessed and Lucky of us also go through trials, sacrifices, and pain to Get Lucky. To Get Blessed.

Those sacrificial sheep and goats aren’t gonna slit their own throats and spill their own viscera into the gutters of the temple, carved there for this purpose (this is where the word street “gutters” comes from — they were built to carry away the blood and “guts” of our holy sacrifices.

Similarly, the luckiest of us — the most blessed — almost always have a less shiny, less Hollywood backstory to their celebrated greatness/luckiness/blessedness, if only we’d ask a couple follow-up questions.

And, of course, some humans end up with much more of a raw deal than others, through no fault of their own, while others, seemingly without much effort, live the Lucky Life.

But that’s just perception. And if we’re unwilling to look deeply at what “is,” we’re absolutely doomed to live in the world of what “seems.”

So much easier to seem than to be. Hence the popularity of prayerful petitions.

… So, like most humans, I count my blessings. And while I am not narcissistic enough to believe that my blessings are all mine, I am narcissistic enough to believe my curses are and that my misery is.

This is why we’re stuck with each other. Bloody Blessed with each other:

We need each other for the blessings — again, no one is blessed without help — without sacrifice. And we need each other for the misery, since it famously loves company and can’t live in a vacuum sans blessings — part of the company misery loves is the blessing it isn’t: Heads ain’t Heads unless there’s the potential for Tails.

This is the world we share. Like it or not.

All we’ve got is us. Even the other guys. The bad people. The dumb people. The rude and ridiculous and threatening people.

Are us.

Cloquet’s Parnell Thill is an award-winning columnist and author of “Killing the Devil and Other Excellent Tricks,” available online. His opinions are his own. Contact him c/o [email protected].

Rendered 07/19/2024 13:46