Monday, April 13, 2015

"A Variation On A Post I Wrote Earlier, Which Is Less Theoretical As The Stakes Are Immeasurably Higher"

How would you describe my blog titles?  Sheer poetry?  I would wholeheartedly agree.

A while back (February 13th – I looked it up), I wrote a post entitled “Seriously Misunderstood”, arguing that no matter how hard you try, you can not help insulting a person who disagrees with you.  Today, in a dialectical variation, I will argue that, in specific “put up or shut up” situations, you cannot stop a person who disagrees with you from burning down your tavern.  Explanation to follow.

THE PLACE:  A colonial tavern (which may or may have rooms upstairs to let.)

THE TIME:  Close to the beginning of the American Revolution.

A TAVERNKEEPER stands behind the bar, drying recently washed tankards, or glasses, if tankards is too medieval.  A fidgety LOCAL CITIZEN stands at the bar, nursing his beverage.

FIDGETY LOCAL CITIZEN:  Excuse me, sir.  May I ask you a question?

TAVERNKEEPER:  Ask away, as I am nothing if not openly forthcoming.

F.L.C.:  In that case, I shall pose the question directly.  Are you an British spy?  Understanding that if you are, you would probably not tell me.

T:  The better spies rarely do.  Unless as an ingenious subterfuge to throw you disarmingly off the track.  

Let us assume for purpose of conversation and debate that you are not a British spy.  Though if you are, it is of no consequence, as I have no fear of identifying my position. 

You mean “Standing at the bar”?

Humorous.  Though questionably appropriate in such perilous times as these.  To be open and aboveboard on the matter, I shall assert to you, sir, that my sentiments rest entirely with the revolutionaries, against our much-hated British oppressors.  And I am proud to admit that publicly, though it cost me my very life to do so.

I admire that in a person, being unafraid to express a strongly held, albeit minority, opinion.

Minority”, you say.  I know not a single soul who believes otherwise!

A reflection, I would think, of the company you keep. 

Rest assured, sir, the tide is rapidly turning.  Soon, we shall enthusiastically take to the battlefield.  Or parapet.  Wherever we’re assigned.

I shall pray for you safety and wellbeing.

I care not for my safety and wellbeing…

Well then, I won’t.  It seems sinful to waste a prayer.  

Tell me, sir.  Where do you stand on the matter soon at hand?

I stand unequivocally…behind my bar.  And I do not mean that as a joke.

Then as what do you mean it, your answer sidestepping the intention of my question?

The question being what again?

Simply put, sir:  What is your position on the impending revolution?

Well, sir, I am currently a British subject…

As are we all.  But we are intended to overthrow that oppressed condition, and proclaim loudly our independency.

“Independency.”  Not “independence”?

They’re interchangeable at this point.  I beg you, sir.  Please desist from your shillyshallying.  Where do you stand on this monumental issue of the day?

Do I have to stand anywhere?

You most certainly do, sir. 


Because history requires it. 

I suppose.  (HEAVING A CHOKED, TENSION-INFLECTED SIGH)  Reasonably thinking… England, sir.  That’s a powerful nation to take on.

Did David not defeat the Philistines?  Did the Persians not fall victim to the Greeks? 

Exceptional examples.  Overall, the powerful nations inevitably prevail.  And are in uncharitable spirits during the aftermath.

Your hesitation perplexes me.  Being a tavernkeeper, our enemies impose egregious taxes on your inventory.  Are you not appropriately exorcized?

That does surely take a hefty bite out of my profit margin.  But we are British colonies after all.  Is it not justifiable to pay for the services our benevolent Mother Country provides?

To which services are you referring?

Well for one, our protection from the Indians.  It seems fair that we should subsidize the army.

I have it on good authority, sir, that the British themselves pay the Indians to be obstreperous, so that we will consequently feel grateful and acquiesce to their unconscionable demands.

You have it “on good authority”, you say.

It is common knowledge.

That is hardly the same as “on good authority.”  What if it turns that the “common knowledge” was incorrect?  “We engaged in a devastating conflict based on inaccurate information.  Oh, to have just delved a little deeper!”

I then take it that you oppose the revolution.

To be honest, sir, I can readily see both sides.  And I shall therefore, respectfully, abstain from all comment, opinion or behavior.


To you, it would appear.  But it is entirely within my nature to do so. 

Sometimes, despite your “nature”, the times require a courageous declaration of allegiance. 

Sometimes, in the name of humanity and a desire to find a peaceable solution, it may be courageous to, respectfully, abstain.

Your point is, reluctantly, taken.  However, in short order – I hear of big doings circa the upcoming Fourth of July – everyone will be required to state “Yay” or “Nay”, any abstention on the matter being perceived by both sides as an equivocating façade.  The enemy, believing you a closet patriot, will most assuredly burn down your tavern.  The Patriots, believing, “You’re either with us or against us”, will likely burn down your tavern as well.  Either way, this cherished place of business is a smoky casualty of war.

Is there then no respect for the middle ground?



What are you thinking, sir?

I am thinking about Canada.


“A proclamation from the King:  Anyone supporting the revolution will be summarily executed.  Anyone harboring a revolutionary will be too.”

Is there anyone in here who is either a revolutionary is harboring a revolutionary?


Fine.  But if you’re lying, we’ll be back.


FIDGETY LOCAL CITIZEN:  It would appear, sir, that you have just taken a side.

TAVERNKEEPER:  I really, really hate this.

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