The Light is returning, spark by spark. Numi teas are on sale today at Whole Foods, at two boxes for three dollars. I took one box to the enthusiastic cashier, from whom I learned that "Numi teas are the best in the world!" Even better, she told me to wait a minute while she tracked down the floor manager, who pulled a "One Dollar Off Numi Teas" coupon from her pocket.
There you go. Eighteen little bags stuffed with the best tea in the world for a mere fifty cents! It must be my lucky day, and I want to spread the luck around because the world surely needs it, especially given the fact that there are resources sufficient to feed, cloth and house everyone yet a large portion of the population are starving to death in makeshift hovels. I am sipping my purchase, Moroccan Mint tea right now, and let me tell you, it tastes mighty good by itself, without sugar and cream.
The Darkness had descended a few weeks ago. I was shortchanged three times on the Sabbath - no wonder some Jews refuse to handle money on their Sabbath. Not that the cashiers intended to cheat me blind, nor that I lost any money on the exchanges. I caught all three mistakes on the spot, noting well, after the third error, that being shortchanged three times in a single day is quite a coincidence even in Miami. It must have been a sign that a covenant was broken somewhere and there was going to be hell to pay. What followed was, in effect, The Curse of the Chiselers.
I sum, I was thereafter confronted by chiselers everywhere I went, not to mention cheapskates. Chiselers are descended from a race of coin-clippers who finally shaved so much substance off the coins that the world was left with fiat money. Modern chiselers are cheats who will chisel you down until there is nothing left of you but a hapless zombie on welfare or a soulless automaton in heartless company. If you do manage to salvage your soul, you may be left almost naked on the soup line, at the head of which may very well be yet another chiseler, for there are profits to be had in managing welfare. In fact, chiseling makes charity necessary for those who would rule, for parasites that kill their hosts are bound to perish.
Just a few weeks of chiseling had a profound effect on my mind and body. I am ashamed to elaborate in detail considering the dire straits millions of others suffer, but this is America, where streets are supposed to be paved with gold, where a little pain counts for much more than in other countries, inured to misery as they are. I will say that the experience of being chiseled brought forth such a tension in me that I nearly had a heart attack.
I suppose I should be glad, although I am not, that I am better off than others I know who are cursed by chiselers. An uninsured acquaintance of mine fell from a ladder and broke an ankle and a leg - his employer, a hospital, put him on involuntary leave of absence. More painful to me is that a good friend of mine, also uninsured, cut herself to the bone while alone in her kitchen, and did not go to the hospital because she figured it would cost her an arm and a leg. She fainted and bled out on the floor. Fortunately, she came to after a short time, and bound the wound with masking tape. She called her community health center, hoping a doctor there would sew her up for an affordable fee, but she was refused, ordered to go to an emergency room. I cried when I found out what happened to her, and was angry that she had not called me, for I would have forced her to go to the emergency room - she is very stubborn, so that would have been the end of our friendship. She told me that, just before her accident, she had been approached by a young Nigerian at college. He took her aside and complained that he was having nightmares – indeed, black mares were running wild in his dream – and that for some unknown reason he was moved to seek her out for her advice, that something was wrong which he could not explain, and he felt that she might somehow fix it, as if she were his white mama, a white witch.
Yes, I suppose I have been lucky thus far, or that there are gods who watch out for people after all. I am tempted to put a curse on all the chiselers out there, to exclaim again and again, for good measure, "A pox on them all! A pox on them all! A pox on them all!” But there is no need for curses, say the sages, for karma is such that justice provides each with his own. In any event, I would not have Calamity come back to haunt me with Vengeance, wherefore I shall nourish this little spark of Light for a moment over my Numi tea, and wish the world well. Perhaps if we can gather up all the sparks and put them together, we shall live in the land of milk and honey, where lambs rest fearlessly with lions.
David Arthur Walters
South Beach, Florida
November 30, 2009