Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Happydale travelogues: A day with the Pastor Phlasch


Recently I have been on a road trip and decided to put some fictional stories together based on persons and adventures I had on my voyage. Naturally I used no one’s real name and changed the names of places I went. Here is the fist in a series I call The Happydale Travelogues;

A day with the Pastor Phlasch

This is the story of a trip to HappydaleMissouri, to visit my friend Ted. Ted lives with his two sisters in an old house. Ted believes he is actually Teddy Roosevelt the president. He attends to the office of president each day. In his basement he digs locks for the Panama Canal.
As I pulled up among the fine trimmed lawns and the really-really-really neatly trimmed hedges I came across the hundred year old Victorian home at the end of the block. Ted came out in his president’s suite and his wire rim glasses and mustache.
We sat down on the porch swing. Ted told he had met this preacher Pastor Phlasch. This worldly man of God had helped him reconnect to reality.
“That’s good Ted,” I said. “But don’t you still believe your President Teddy Roosevelt?”
“That’s Theodore and not Teddy,” he thundered at me. “Besides, many people around here insist that Mitt Romney is an intelligent man who is perfectly capable of running the country. He knows all about foreign policy even though he can’t take a trip abroad without putting his foot in his mouth. He insists we can bring American jobs back to this country by pretending it is actually 1910 and recreating all the conditions of the time period. You see, the key to the future is in trying to recreate the past.”
Wow! For the first time in my life I began to realize how much wisdom Ted actually had. He did understand some things in reality. Maybe this Pastor Phlasch guy really had something to offer Ted. I just had to meet Pastor Phlasch.
He took me to the meek and humble $600,000 mansion that was the home to the Rev. Pastor Phlasch. It was a good thing that I came with Ted because the home was on the corner of the street and I couldn’t tell which side of the street his front door was on. And although the home took up most of the entire block Ted knew exactly where his front door was.
“I’m glad you know which door is his,” I said. “It would be a real embarrassment to knock on his servant’s door.”
“Wouldn’t that be awful,” replied Ted?
Pastor Phlasch met us at the door and invited us in. He was a nice warm elderly gentleman with a pleasant smile and I could tell he just undid his tie on his very humble looking three-piece-suit.
“Hello,” said Pastor Phlasch. After a lot of blathering chit chat, Pastor Phlasch told me he had worked as a missionary in Nicaragua after the civil war there. Of course at that time there were still guerrillas wandering the country side. All they really knew about was fighting wars. The wars had bled the country dry. Foreign governments were more than happy to give these people sophisticated weapons, but nothing for consumer goods or even basic needs of these people. A soda bottle was as valuable as a diamond ring because there was no place in the country where they were made. No one sold them. There were diamond rings at the Airport for the rich tourists and although most people in Nicaragua couldn’t afford to buy one, they at least knew WHERE to buy one.
There was nothing really left to fight for other than the fuzzy ideals people there had from the inspiration of their leaders and the false promises from the shills of the CIA. After a while all the people really wanted to do was get back to making a living.
“I worked in the town of Koca,” said Pastor Phlasch. “It was a new town on some cliffs above a river. The government had relocated ex-guerrilla fighters there and given them some land to farm.
When I got there, I saw the latrine, a hole dug in the ground that was surrounded by wood and plastic, to give privacy to whoever needed to do their business. They manage to have a roll of toilet paper. The buildings where all made of unpainted cinderblock. The people there wanted to build a school and they wanted to it to be the best building in the city. They wanted no expense spared for their children’s education.”
“Wow,” I said. “You mean that in a tiny backward town in Nicaraguathose people cared more about their children’s education than their own welfare? Why all I hear in this country is people bitching because they have to pay for other people’s children’s education and all the politicians here win elections promising to cut education and get rid of all those lazy teachers.”
“Not there,” he said. “The teachers there don’t even have degrees and they are deeply respected by the local people. If their children get as high as 6th grade, they are proud.”
“And all I hear in this country is how stupid our kids are and how education is failing them.”
“Well God told me to help them with their school,” the Pastor said. “Before long they had a school building and although it was not painted, it was the best building in the town. We followed with a city hall and a meeting hall. None of the buildings painted, but all of them functional. Of course there was no running water in that town. There was no electricity. Those were other thing the people there wanted.”
“I take it God told you to help them with a water project of some kind?”
“No! God called me home. Right as I left, the people of Koca just got the seed they needed to plant their crops. But they had no tools. They asked me what I could do about it, but all I could tell them was that God has called me home to America. I left the next day.”
“So did those people ever get the tools they needed or the electricity or running water?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” the Pastor answered. “You see, God blessed Americaand because of that we have cars with navigational systems and warning systems so we don’t back into little children. In Koca they have dirt roads and no cars at all. Here we have iphones that can exchange a music play list with a friend by bumping our phones together. In Koca they have no electricity.”
“But if God blessed us,” I asked him, “What did he do to them? Does he just not like them as much as us? Did he just get tired of helping out those people so he walked away to a more interesting place where the technology is more dazzling?”
“Son,” said Pastor Phlasch in a very stern and serious voice. “I don’t question the ways or the will of our Lord. You shouldn’t either.”
And that was that. That was my moral lesson of the day. Some people live in shit, in some God forsaken hell hole and those of us who get to be dazzled by all this wonderful modern technology must just be grateful that God didn’t just walk off and forget about us. After listening to Pastor Phlasch I realized how much more I needed to learn about religion.
-សតិវ អតុ


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