THE FLABBY SOULS
Once the scales for weighing souls broke under the strain. It was alarming how the number of souls considered seriously overweight had increased. Alarming, but understandable. A soul could swallow only so much of the doughy, buttery, fatty, starchy fare that passed for spiritual nourishment at that time without suffering the effects. Those effects might first show as nothing more than teenage midriff sag that couldn’t really be called flaccid but clearly was headed in that direction. With the passage of years, however, the odds of regaining a fit soul faded and a state of comfortable denial set in, often encouraged by big-name testimonials that moral gout was a manageable condition. But it wasn’t, and soon this kind of virtue disorder, a flubberous piety that still thought of itself as lean and light on its feet, was putting a serious strain on the nation’s health, beginning where one might least expect it, the schools. Who would have thought the nation’s young would be so ill-served? When the nurturing of nimble, inquisitive minds would seem to be the role of those charged with preparing the next generation for life in the real world, what sense did it make to let venders of seductively packaged junk undercut the proven nutritional value a rigorous education should provide? If accused of failing in their responsibilities, school administrators typically claimed they were merely reflecting community standards. With binge sanctimony such an accepted part of public affairs, this reasoning went, with politic claims made for the preciousness of life while thousands were sent away to kill and be killed, with sacred oaths to truth treated as matters of interpretation and spin, with the pursy ethics of overfed role models for success-at-any-cost held up to the young and conspicuous indulgence worshiped round the clock, could educators be the only ones to blame? Clearly, spiritual health was a relative thing. So long as those you admired weren’t bothered by obesity of the soul, why be concerned about how fit your own was? Appearances mattered for so little, most agreed. Not enough to forego that next heaping of righteousness, at any rate, and lovin’ it. No wonder the scales for weighing souls broke down.
Copyright © 2005 by Geoffrey Grosshans