So I was in middle of washing the dishes when this blogpost came to me and I burst out laughing. Y'know how it is: "We interrupt this regular programming for some good, old-fashioned humor". The dishes certainly don't mind me abandoning them! Here goes...
A CNN news story announced that Mr. Gadhafi, the tenuous leader of anarchy-ridden Libya, had a wonderful way to elicit support: among other things, he was promising university students free Masters degrees if they would protest in the streets on his behalf. Now, I've heard of monetary incentives, candy, toys, even free cars or liquor, but...Masters degrees? I thought that was simply hilarious. Which led to my mid-dishwashing musings. Imagine the following scenario:
"Hello, have a seat. I see you've come to apply for a position in our company."
"Your resume says you're an electrical engineer."
"Hmmm...must have been a challenge to work all those years for this Masters degree, huh?"
"Absolutely. My arms are sore from sign-waving; my throat's been hoarse for a week from all that chanting."
"Er, sign-waving? Chanting? Is that part of the electrical engineering coursework nowadays?"
"Oh yes. It's a rigorous program, sir, but worth it in the end."
"I see. Now, I'd like to look over your transcripts, if I may. Our company is seeking the best, the brightest, the very cream of the Libyan crop..." Peruses a single sheet of paper. "Strange. I see only the grades for one semester here."
"Yes, sir. That's all I have."
"Now hold on just one moment, young man. You say you graduated with a Masters in Electrical Engineering. But you attended only one semester of Libya University?"
"B-but how can that be? You must be a genius...a wonderchild!"
Interviewee smiles modestly and blushes.
"Oh no, sir. I protest..."
Forget Touro and other fast-track vocational training programs--we can just send our seminary girls over to Libya! :-) I hear Gadhafi's offering free pilot licenses next.
Reading the news is like eating that fourth brownie. You know you should stop cuz it won't do you any good, but you just can't. Blech. I honestly have to say that it is a very rare occasion indeed when I actually come away from reading a news article having gained something positive. I see the media, by and large, as a fear-mongering monster, designed to suck the joy out of us, article by dismal article.
So it wasn't surprising when I came away from reading all about the projected swine-flu pandemic feeling rather...sick. I mean, there's already a pandemic of terrified, paranoid, and hysterical people in full swing, waiting for the horrors of swine flu to unleash themselves. I mean, haven't you stockpiled Tamiflu in your medicine cabinet?
We stood in shul (synagogue) a scant month ago, on Rosh Hashanah, and then again, ten days later, and, after crowning G-d King of the Universe, we begged Him for a year of good health and all things wonderful. It is really, really easy to get caught up in morbid fear and paralyzed by what-ifs. It's much more difficult to remind ourselves that there is Someone in charge, and He runs the world--not CNN, or the Center for Disease Control or...and this is going to be a huge shock (sit down for this one!)...even Barack Obama!
Today, I am choosing faith over fear, simply because it makes a lot more sense to me. What about you?
I feel like reading the news is like stepping into an emotional minefield. The headline often seems innocuous enough, but once I've plunged in and it's too late, the content is so horrifying as to make me cringe. This was the case last night, when I clicked on a CNN link about a woman who had been rescued from an icy river last December who is now being charged in the gruesome deaths of her children. I will spare you the details that CNN did not spare me.
About Riva Pomerantz
I'm a freelance writer, widely published in several magazines including the internationally-distributed Ami Magazine and Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly. Riva's work also appears on the award-winning website www.aish.com, amongst others. You can buy my books here.