Sunday, May 11, 2014

Of Tank Treads and Will-O'-The-Wisps

  When you think of it, the infantry warfare, especially in Europe (during WWII) contained fodder for a lot of stories. I grew up in the early 60's, and so, our Dads, the "our", being boys on our street that is, our Dads, many of which had been involved in the war, had stories to tell. Of all the stories I can recall swapping with the other guys on the street, of those guys who had stories to tell I mean; the one that really grabbed my attention, was the bazooka theory of tank tread removal. Attested to, by the highest block authorities themselves, Eglington and Dodge!
  Do we even know this bazooka thing to be an historical fact? Have we done our research? Can I prove it? And the answers are; "no, hell no, and prove what?", and in that sequence! The very idea of tank warfare is difficult to grasp. We see images of it in movies, but the 30 or 60 ton monsters out there with cannon mounted upon them, would be best viewed from a safe distance! I think that the reality is that some chance might exist for one group of tanks, versus another group, but armor against infantry? Please; just stop the madness. How are a group of soldiers with rifles, mortars, and grenades going to take on armored cavalry? Enter the bazooka man! Out of the little plastic toy soldiers we played with, the bazooka man was highly coveted indeed. And that's gotta count for something!
  As I recall, both Gary Dodge and Steve Eglington both agreed that such had occurred, that is; that the bazooka man had indeed overcome tanks in actual battle. Well, if both Steve and Gary say so, then their Dads must have told them, and therefore, we can only conclude...
  The Eglington-Dodge theorm then, was that a clever bazooka shot; aimed just right...could (and historically did!) break the tank tread. And since one need only remove one tread to effectively hobble the mobility of a tank...well, you can just imagine! In the mind of a nine year old, this was David and Goliath all over the place...but real! Did you get that? I mean the "real" part?
  Don't ask me what a will-o'-the-wisp really is, because I don't know. But where "magic" links with reality, you get the stuff of legend, you get excited boys repeating stories which "must be" true! The magic of spirit, the wispy-ness of soul, seems to reside mainly in a world not populated by mean people, in a reality where things are not boring, sad, or stupidly, and pointlessly repetitive. Think for a moment of the Disney empire. People want to go visit a clean, happy, and magical place; where good things happen. To escape for a day (or an hour), the stories of neglect, the morons, perverts and chowderheads in the news, this "escape", this breath of air is the "product" Disney sells! And people buy it...big time! Magic and reality don't normally appear to cohabit in the same universe, and to find them together is deeply memorable. The choice is beauty or truth, and it turns out that the truth is normally butt-ugly, and beauty in actuality, helps nobody...choose one!
  This is why we love the Bible. Luke Skywalker's got nothing on Gideon. Peter Pan is a piker compared to Daniel. The marvel of meaningful beauty, crashing in to this sad, crazy world, this is what sells! A will-o'-the-wisp is a little light which has no good explanation, (pssst, this is where you come in...) it is a phenomenon which is curious, and pretty, but will it blow the treads off a tank? I mean, what's the stinker good for? That's what we would like to know. Magic has to become "useful" in our book, and be more than just "pretty".
  The music and art world knows this all too well, and is perpetually in the business of making music which is "important". And if you don't believe it's "important" just ask them! The magic of life isn't normally visible to us. We have come to take for granted the deeply weird fact that we are animated piles of dirt. We fail to marvel that the little figurine is become a real boy! So good King Jesus comes bopping along, busting up perfectly good funerals? He walks right up to the bier, halts the procession, tells the professional mourners to pipe down...addressing the stiff, He says "Yo Stiff, get up!". The resultant chaos and panic, as the corpse in question, perks up remarkably, sits up and says, "Howdy!" can only be imagined. The magic meets reality, and for thousands of years, the boys on the block replay the glory of it! It worked! The amazing one-in-a-million shot takes out the Death Star, the highly improbable army of hundreds routs that one of tens of thousands!
  Soul power, spirit power intersects with hard, sad, dumb reality, but it never (really) was a matter of "magic". Magic implies a competence, an ability, a knowledge. The reality is the covenant. If we borrow the WWII theme for a moment, the covenantal story (which here, is imaginary) might be Dwight D. Eisenhower, five star general, supreme commander of the allied forces of the West, on orders, takes off the uniform. Other generals, colonels, and all those lower ranks below are ordered NOT to salute him. Not even buck privates are "allowed" to acknowledge their true commander! He puts on civvies, loses his dogtags, and is parachuted into Berlin. It is 1941, and the Nazis have sworn a 1000 year reign of ugly terror, and at this point, it looks like they just might pull it off! "Dwight" (no general here!) starts going through the Berlin neighborhoods. He is saying; "My boys will be coming in over that hill in a few years. We are going to pound your city to pieces on that day. Swear peace! Surrender unconditionally now, to me personally, and I give oath that you and yours will live on that day. Fail me here, and I will break you there!". Uh, gee. For some odd reason, our out-of-uniform leader is not being well received? In fact, he is hung by the neck until dead, with a piano wire; from the nearest streetlamp? How's the magic workin' for ya pard?
  Mere magic could never overcome such a deficit, but the covenant? That, my friend is another story! If after days in a shallow unmarked grave, our "Dwight" kicked death (personally) in the butt, and stood up again, and walked to freedom, against all opposition, this would fall under the Eglington-Dodge theorm. The absurdly low probable, coming through, just when it was needed. Why, after all, do we have a metaphor of the cavalry riding to the rescue at the very last moment? I say it is because such coheres with our understanding of things. We "buy" this type of Personal meddling. We love stories like this, it reminds us of "Someone"!
  In a raw and undiluted world, in which only justice and mercy lived, the problem is that a world of justice precludes survivors, whereas a world of mercy precludes a lawful governor! If pure and true justice were to fall upon the humans, there would be no survivors! A total wipe-out, for not one among us is just! On the contrary, if only mercy survives, you get this squishy muddle-headed nice-guy of a "god", who is plainly not up to the task, of doing his stinking job! Either we go, or He goes, and only, I say ONLY in the covenant between Father and Son, is there a solution wherein He is honored, justice is done, and mercy survives. I said "and"! That place where tank treads meet will-o'the-wisps is at Calvary! The unmovable mountain, that of fierce and implacable moved! The true Sampson pulls out the load bearing piers of "Is", and the wreckage is total! Not one survivor, justice is done! Well, actually, there is one, or should we say, "One"? The first Adam was put to sleep, and a wife appeared! The True Adam falls "asleep" and His "wife", hidden back in His side, appears!
  The One Survivor stands up out of that mighty wreckage, and hidden there, "below", "under the blood", is His "wife"! She survived too? And what a horde, what a congregation of the gladly "unruly", which is that throng of the wildly triumphant "she" is! Beauty survived! Mankind survived, because One Man paid. Deal with it, truth loves his sister, and beauty cares deeply for that hillbilly brother of hers!
  Now, now let us reconvene that discussion of the "importance" of art...

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