Favorite

A dollar's worth 

It's been years since The Observer — heathen that we are — has cracked the onionskin pages of the Bible, but our Momma raised us right, learning us the Good Book from an early age and prodding us out of bed and to church on Sunday mornings with the toe of her good pumps on occasion.

It says something about Yours Truly that the only things we remember from the Bible are the terrible parts: Ol' Sampson with his eyes gouged out, asking the slave boy to let him rest against the posts of the temple and then bringing the whole kit and kaboodle down on the Philistines, smusherizing them but good; God flushing the Pharaoh's armies away with a billion gallons of Red Sea; Revelations, so full of smoke and brimstone.

Our favorite passage of the passage of the Bible, though, is the one that never fails to give us a little flush of goose bumps: Job 2:1-2, the part where the Devil party-crashes what appears to be Heaven's annual companywide meeting, then gives God a non-answer worthy of any teenager — one that also happens to be one of the creepiest in the whole book:

"Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before God, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan: 'From whence comest thou?' And Satan answered God, saying: 'From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.' "

Yep, still creepy. We were an imaginative child, and once we learned from Ma that "The sons of God" probably meant angels, we were struck with a singular image that has never left us, even now: The obedient ranks of angels, standing row on row like soldiers before The Almighty on the parade ground of Heaven. Then comes ol' Splitfoot, wings belt black, more beautiful than all, smirking, winding like a snake among them and trailing his long fingernails over their feathers. "Hello, boys," he whispers. "Did ya miss me?"

From then on out, when The Boy Observer imagined Bad Things deep down in the night, that's what they looked like: the red-eyed Devil, preening his dark wings just behind our closet door while he waited for sleep to take us, fresh from going to and fro in the earth. Took us awhile to get to sleep on those nights, friends.

Speaking of impressionable young 'uns: We were rushing into Office Depot in North Little Rock for some envelopes over the weekend when we saw him: a boy, maybe 7, sitting alone in the back of a minivan in the parking lot. As we got out of The Mobile Observatory, the boy turned and smiled big, then held up a rumpled dollar bill to the glass. The message was clear: "Look what I got!" We gave him a thumbs up. When a kid under the age of 10 wants to brag on himself, that's the proper response, whether you want to respond or not.

The Observer remembers what it was to be that kid once, living in the bubble of childhood, safe from the cold rain of responsibility, all matters of finance studiously kept from us and whispered about only when the kiddies were asleep. And then, to get a dollar! To suddenly be a part of the world of commerce! To have near-infinite possibilities laid out before you like a smorgasboard! Should I get the Juicy Fruit gum or the balsa wood glider? Should I buy a comic book or a Wonka Bar? Slushie or parachute man? There was nothing like it in the whole world: that delicious feeling of having choices and trying to decide.

We make a lot more than a dollar a week these days, but the bloom is off the rose between The Observer and George. The older we get, the more we find that we hate money. Hate's a strong word, but it's the right one in this case. We hate spending money. We hate needing it. We hate writing tiny numbers in orderly columns, to be added and subtracted. We hate that some people have none, even though others have too much. We hate that it's a way of keeping score these days.

If only we could all go back there to where that kid is: so happy to have just a little, a dollar's worth of the world spread out before him like an overflowing table. That would be just fine by your Ol' Pal.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • The hart

    It is hard for a straight person, The Observer included, to imagine what it would be like to be born gay — to be shipwrecked here on this space-going clod, where nearly every textbook, novel, film and television show, nearly every blaring screen or billboard or magazine ad, reinforces the idea that "normal" means "heterosexual."
    • Feb 26, 2015
  • Every secret thing

    The Observer came into the office on Tuesday morning, not quite bright-eyed or bushy tailed thanks to Daylight Savings Time jetlag, to find our colleague Benji Hardy conked out asleep in yet another colleague's office, Benji having pulled an all-nighter to bring you, Dear Reader, this week's cover story.
    • Mar 10, 2015
  • Viva la Resistance!

    The Observer, being a longstanding hardcore lefty, was — to say the least — disappointed by the results of the election. Lots of hangdog faces in the office come the morn on Nov. 5. Lots of folks talking about the idea that there'd been a sea change in Arkansas politics, one that won't be reversed until we go over the cliff into Kochhead Feudalism, if even then.
    • Nov 13, 2014

Most Shared

  • Lawsuit filed over settlement in forum-shopping class action case

    The lawyers facing disciplinary action by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith over their settlement of a class action lawsuit against the USAA insurance company have a new legal headache.
  • Cherokee tribe backs the casino amendment

    NOW, I get it. The group circulating petitions for a constitutional amendment to establish casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties reveals that the deal anticipates operation of the casino in Washington County by the Cherokee tribe that now has casino operations in Oklahoma.
  • A modest proposal for charter schools

    It was just a little over a year ago when Baker Kurrus was hired as the superintendent of the Little Rock School District. With new Education Commissioner Johnny Key there was a strong concern that the Little Rock school system would be converted to all charter schools and the entire public education system would disappear.
  • Highway Department: Key parts of new Clarendon bridge installed upside down.

    The future of the old Highway 79 bridge at Clarendon is uncertain, but it's a good thing the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department didn't jump the gun on demolishing it.That's because the new bridge at Clarendon — or at least the western approach, which is elevated over U.S. Fish and Wildlife wetlands — is snakebit.
  • Mansion wars

    It has never been as consequential as Versailles, which helped trigger the French Revolution, but the royal palace of Arkansas's First Family has always been an object of political intrigue.

Latest in The Observer

  • Thy lake

    The Observer got up to DeGray Lake over the weekend to the beach there, the true Redneck Rivera if there ever was one.
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • The bench

    The Observer has spent the past few weeks doing the backstroke in the poo lagoon of another terrible tale. Read on for more, if you dare, and if your heart can stand it. It's the job, sons and daughters, and we're happy to do it. Keeps us off the streets, with three hots and a cot. That ain't chickenfeed.
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • Can you spare a Harriet?

    In elementary school we were solidly Team Harriet, who we learned about as a voracious reader in the kids' section of the library.
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

June

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation