Bee in the Bonnet: HUNGER PAINS

By Bernie Bates

The bread lines during the great depression of the 1930’s, saved many from their hunger pangs, but, what they really thirsted for was change. They too, needed a great leader to fix the wheels on the economic wagon. And here we are, damned near a hundred years later, faced with the possibility of losing all of our hard earned bread once again.

There’s an old Native joke that goes something like this: An army general asked an old Chief, “what has improved for your people since the Whitman came to your land?” The old Chief said, “before you came here we hunted and fished as we pleased, there was no such thing as taxes and the women did all the work. Only a Whitman would think that they could improve upon that.” You may laugh at a lifestyle such as that, but, it worked for many moons.

If the price of a loaf of bread becomes worth it’s weight in twenty dollar bills and it becomes more economical to use cash to wipe your ass than it is to buy toilet paper – the old Indian way of life could be the wave of the future. If the cost of an average house hits the billion dollar mark, a teepee and a warm blanket starts to look pretty damned attractive. The day may come then gasoline becomes so expensive that you may just as well hitch up a horse to your Mustang and pull it. And think of the practicality of horse power; they run on water, eat grass, poop fertilizer and if they break down you can eat them.

There was a lot of common sense thinking behind the Native way of life. Natives took from nature what they needed, no more, no less and there was always enough to go around. What does it really take to sustain a human life? Water, salt, meat, vegetables, fruit and a warm wigwam – that’s it. And if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat damned near anything. How about a rat, would you eat a rat? In some countries the fury little rodents are a tasty treat. Bugs, snakes and pigeons could all be on the menu if it comes down to you or them.

Again, think of the practical part of munching on these pesky critters. Deep fried cockroaches means there’s no need for an exterminator. Snake soup will put an end to getting bitten on the rear end. And pigeon potpie means our statues will never need cleaning again. Another annoyance that pops to mind, is stepping in goose poop, every time I go to the beach. I say, we turn the kitchen tables on them and turn them into poop. And all of the aforementioned is not only environmentally friendly, it’s also one hundred percent renewable and free.

Another annoyance these days is everyone has a telephone attached to their ear. People take and make calls in their cars, while in bars and in the one place that I thought was both ridiculous and hilarious. While in the men’s room, I heard a phone ring in the cubicle next to me: “Hello? Yeah, I’m running late, see you in an hour. Bye.” It tickled me to think that this guy was doing business while doing his business. Just think of all of the wampum we’d save if we used smoke signals to communicate. We’d never again get a call at the supper table, never get a call from your boss or get a telephone bill.

Now, the only thing we’d need is a great Chief to lead us into the land of milk and honey. He or she would have to be intelligent, fair and honest. Is there an individual out there that has what it takes to lead millions of minds. There’s another old Native joke: “Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.”

I think that it’s not a question of finding a great leader, but, are we willing to be great followers? Does humanity have what it takes to become great? Take my household, for instance; I’m the almighty Chief, the ruler of the roost, the head honcho, the top man on the totem pole! You can even ask my wife; who handles the money, who makes all the important decision, who buys the milk and honey …. hum, maybe I’m not Chief after all?


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