These days, the faith of many staunch Americans is sorely tried. We all find ourselves grappling with the same thorny question: Why do good things happen to bad people?
"That's what really irks me," an acquaintance confided the other day. He had just dropped some books into the return bin outside the Keene Valley Library. "It totally shakes my faith in a supreme being, or what have you. I mean, how could a benevolent God allow it to happen? Listen: Some of those guys are making out like bandits, and what do I get? Nada."
"Now, don't say that," I told him. "You have a perfectly lovely wife and family. And look at your nice new car!"
"Yeah, yeah, right," he replied with what he clearly intended to be withering sarcasm as he got into his Chevy and fastened his seat belt. "It'll probably be recalled." He was still muttering as he drove away.
"And a job!" I called after him. "And your dog, Biscuit!" I didn't get the sense that I was helping, though.
"Why, oh why, do convicted felons get to watch practically any television show they want in prison?" I have often heard people moan. "And ping pong. I've read they play ping pong in there. What kind of a deterrent do you call that?"
"Oh, well," I always say, in my most soothing voice, "probably the ones allowed to play ping pong are just in for small-time, drug-related things, not violent crime. You know."
Again, nothing I can say makes any difference in these crisis-of-faith cases. The depth of despair is just too great to plumb.
"Ping pong!" an aggrieved taxpayer is apt to shout. "I wish I had time to play ping pong!"
Poor folk, rich people, makers and takers, bankers and ranchers, school children, union members, politicians-the list of chiselers getting something for nothing goes on and on, and meanwhile we can't even seem to pick up a winning lottery ticket.
We see it everywhere. Estranged spouses, unworthy siblings, even complete strangers are raking it in, while we find ourselves not obtaining the degree of fame and fortune we feel we deserve, or would prefer.
What can I tell you? Sometimes, good things happen to bad people. It is difficult to accept, but there it is. Or good things happen to other people, who may or may not be bad. Either way.
It's a bitter pill to swallow.
But cheer up! Spring is bound to explode around here any day now. I know I announced the coming of spring a couple of weeks ago, but I was off in my calculations. This time I'm sure it's right around the corner. After all, by the time you read this, it will be May.
One consolation: We here in the Adirondacks weren't the only ones to suffer a harsh winter. Most of the country had to endure prolonged low temperatures and blizzard conditions.
Look at Atlanta, Georgia - residents weren't exactly inundated by our standards, but then again they're just not ready for any kind of snow accumulation. We would have laughed it off, no problem, but people in Atlanta were completely incapacitated. Twice. Mayor Kasim Reed did the best he could, working with the Georgia State Department of Transportation, but let's face it, they're southerners.
Even the big Northern cities, Chicago and New York, got hit with more snow and cold than usual. Mayors everywhere were castigated for their ineptitude in controlling the weather last January, as well as for keeping some neighborhoods cleared better than others.
A Daily News headline announced "Mayor de Blasio admits mistakes in snow removal on New York's Upper East Side."
An article in the New York Post reported, "Huge swaths of the city's wealthiest neighborhood had not been plowed ... leaving 1-Percenters out in the cold."
Some accused Democrat Bill de Blasio of neglecting the so-called "high-priced 'hood" on purpose because its residents didn't vote for him, but he naturally denied it.
All of this should give us strength to be patient a little while longer. True, I have heard that tulips are already coming up downstate - but just think how sticky and muggy it will be there in a couple of months.
Have a good week!