Life in the Fish Bowl

For the last few days, Glenn Beck has been mourning his fish bowl and Orson Welles’ fish.  Not real fish, but the fish the late, great actor had painted on the bowl, and then signed.  Seems, a cleaning lady came into his office and found the dirty bowl on his desk. Clearly, the materials Welles used were not water soluble and so the bowl went uncleaned all the time.

Not knowing any better, and wanting to do a good deed for the great man, the cleaning lady cleaned the bowl – and it looks like about three-quarters of the drawings along with the famous signature – away.  It was probably only the act of a moment.  Since some of the drawings still remain, she must have fled in horror of such an error, neglecting finish the rest of the job of cleaning the office. According to Beck’s producer, Stu Burgiere, she left without vacuuming the carpet.

Uncharacteristically, Beck did not lose his temper and fire the cleaner.  Stu wanted to know why not – he’d fired plenty of other people for lesser cause. Beck looked at his now-defaced – and worthless – fish bowl, and grumbled that probably he ought to draw some lesson from it, something about the dangers of erasing history.

Indeed, he should have.  However, he didn’t go any further.  He was still in mourning for this prized possession.  He named his own company after Welles’ Mercury Theater of the Air.  He purchased the bowl at great price as a symbol of the connection between Welles’ company and his own.

Drowning himself in self-pity in his empty fish bowl, he missed many lessons.  Here are just a few:

  1. You can’t build on someone else’s success, although many do – politicians, actors, business owners.  Fate wiped the slate – or in this case, the fish bowl – clean, leaving a trace of Welles’ work, but only a trace and not his signature.
  2. Just because you’ve become “great” doesn’t make everything you do great.  Beck valued the fish bowl not because of its artwork, which was only mediocre, but because of the signature.  Had it not borne the handwriting of Orson Welles, it would have wound up in a yard sale. Beck has advertised a new step-program, with Part 4 involving creativity.  He has invited the creative to join him.  But only the creative with a known signature.  Many talented, Conservative writers languish because they can’t get a break, while Beck hires writers from the notoriously Liberal Saturday Night Live to write for his only erratically funny BSofA.
  3. He didn’t lose his temper with this lowly cleaning lady and fire her but decided to be charitable and forgiving.  That is easy to do with the lowliest of people.  Charity and forgiveness are as worthless as an Orson Welles fish bowl without the signature unless it is dispensed with equal justice.  If he will forgive the cleaning lady, then he must forgive the hapless intern who gives him the wrong pen or the assistant who doesn’t stop the video in time.  It is a sign of the times.  Yet Beck touts winners and scorns the average.  It is a sign of the times.  My astrology teacher told me that as we advanced into the Age of Capricorn, there would only be two kinds of people left:  the wealthy, the successful, the powerful, and their lowly minions.  George Bernard Shaw said that those who could not prove themselves useful to society should dispatch themselves forthwith.  Beck censured the playwright for such sentiments, but then follows them to the letter.  If you’re not a winner, you’re a loser.  The world only has room for winners and those who serve them in some way.  The rest deserve to be winnowed out.  Many of us already have been winnowed out and unless we get 700s on the scholastic tests there will be no place for us to go.  A substitute teacher in grade school once cautioned us that there was no forgiveness for mistakes in the real world; we must be perfect if we are to survive.  Otherwise, we will be at the mercy of the capricious.
  4. A fish bowl is meant for fish.  This fish bowl served no purpose except vanity and pride. Many artifacts have come down through history that once served a purpose and now sit in museums for their historic and artistic value.  Man’s creations are fleeting, though.  They are nothing to the creations of God.  Orson Welles’ painted some crude fish on the bowl, but only God can create the fish that would normally occupy that bowl.  Orson Welles is not greater than God, and clearly God meant to teach Beck that lesson, among others.
  5. In our ever-increasing technological society, we are more and more vulnerable to scrutiny, both God’s and the government’s. There is no place to hide in a glass fish bowl and no place where you’ll be safe, unless some great hand places some aquarium accoutrements into the bowl.  The painted fish were safe as long as no one cleaned the bowl.  We cannot depend upon filth for our safety, though. Culturally, we live in a very dirty fish bowl, amusing ourselves with artificial, second-rate prose and poetry. We cannot hide forever in a glass bowl. We are being watched and studied.
  6. Finally, some of the painted fish still remain. Indeed, it is a caution about being careful with history and not erasing what has been written in the past.  The Progressives are eager to erase all our past history as a nation.  They intend to wipe it as clean as Glenn’s fish bowl.  There will only be two kinds of fish in that bowl.  The Nephew and his girlfriend just returned from their visit to China.  They told us about a fish park they visited.  In one pond was a certain kind of carp. The Nephew noted that there were no fish smaller than what could fit into the carp’s mouth.  They had eaten all the smaller fish.  Our bureaucratic government – and our mounting debt – are the carp, and we’re the little fish, about to be sent into extinction.

We can only learn the lessons God is trying to teach us if we stop looking within ourselves and look from the outside in.

The lessons are as clear as a glass fish bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 9:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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