Monday, December 21, 2009

Scrooge Changed HIS Stripes - The Odds Are Not So Good For O'Really, I Suspect

Normally this time of year, at least among the Xmass cognoscenti, the name Ebenezer Scrooge conjures images of sugar plums slammed upside the head. Stingy, nasty, hum-bug spewing hate-meister. But in case you never did the research yourself, here's a fine how-do-ya-do about the Big Skinflint. It turns out the name "Ebenezer" is fraught (finally - I got to use that word!!) with historic implications. According to one source, it is defined as "The name Eben-Ezer also means "God has led us thus far" or "Thus far God has helped us" according to 1 Samuel 7:12." (Some ancient gnostic texts, however, claim it has the added meaning of, "yeah, fat chance," but this cannot be independently confirmed.) The most general explanation is "a place of refuge."  The same source states "One school of thought believes that it stems from a grave marker for an Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie. The marker identified Scroggie as a “meal man” (corn merchant), but Dickens misread this as “mean man”.[1]  (Well, "mealy-mouthed" does come to mind.)

When one looks at the transformation of the character by the end of the story, one can begin to appreciate how redemption and the quest for forgiveness brings one refuge from the travails of the world. Remember, however - this is a work of fiction, albeit with an intention to cause a teachable moment in that sordid era of early industrial England.

And here we are again, in post-industrial America, hobbled by war, debt, failed policies, etc., and who has the loudest voice shouting down all and everyone? Bull "Scrooge" O'Really, that's who. And I have serious doubts even the third ghost has a shot at reaching this humbug-spewing, hate-loving, cold-hearted bastard's soul.

But hey, Merry and Happy, and as Tiny Timothy once said, "Bless us, everyone." But under his breath he added, "good luck on that for you, O'Really. Good luck for anything at all."

And somehow, I think he really meant it, the little saint.

Ah, fiction. Never have to answer for it. Ain't it grand?

Toodles, and cheerio!

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