Winter is Coming

  • Posted: March 20, 2020
  • Category: Blog
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People read novels, or at least some do. The why of it an open question, silently asked in the minds of family members more attuned to the fictional offerings of ESPN or HGTV. Is reading simply a form of self-medication, a way to escape the rutted routines of life? Or does ficiton serve a more elegant purpose, an exploration of the readers themself and their world in ways denied them by reality. It is a fact that we are drawn to characters and situations that resonate with us. Even in the world of the unreal, we recognize the reality of ourselves. And so it is with House Stark.

To those blissfully unaware of George R.R. Martin, House Stark is a name from the Game of Thrones saga, the ruling family of the harsh northlands in the World of Fire & Ice. House Stark, as seems to be the case with aristocratic families, has a motto, words instantly memorable. The crested motto of House Stark emblazoned on the walls of Winterfell, their austere castled keep, is both simple and in a becoming way, stark:

“Winter is coming”

What more need be said? In three words my life is both defined and explained. As you might guess, no one has ever mistaken me for an optimist. If times are good, I live within the dark shadow of – “It will not last.” If times are bad, I am resigned – “This is the way life is.”

Perhaps that is why I am a Deplorable, even though I live in the Land of the Adorables.

Unlike my perception of my Adorable fellows, Deplorables know the reality of winter. Not the reality of powder on Vail’s carefully tended slopes, but the reality of bitter snow driven winds on the barren prairies of Wyoming. Deplorables are seldom free of “What if’s?” shadow. For the Deplorable, winter is a character shaping experience, not the opportunity for hot chocolate before a crackling fire.

To be sure the Adorables are human with their own fears and disappointments. They do not escape the lot common to men. But rather than fearing economy destroying depressions or the growing Chinese hegemony along the Silk Road, the Adorables fear Climate Change. Instead of worry about jobs and mortgages, the Adorable worries of office bullying, microaggressions and all the “isms” to be found in the modern cornucopia.

And so that odd creature, the black swan in the guise of the coronavirus, now visits us. The black swan is the term used by the professional prognosticator for the event that cannot be predicted, the visitation upon mortal man from a whimsical and capricious fate. Back in a simpler less enlightened time, the black swan was known as “an act of God”.

Adorable America was surprised by the black swan. The Deplorables were surprised as well, but though we did not know her, we expected her. We knew she was coming. Perhaps in a perverse way, we are even relieved. To punish the metaphor of House Stark, we knew the White Walkers were coming – sometime – and the anticipation of winter is a heavy weight on the mind.

And so our nation is reacting. Are we being sensible? Who knows? And it may be that it depends on who he or she is. Our leaders, our decision makers, our talking heads and importantly, members of the Personal Injury bar are virtually all Adorables. Offices are closing with their cube dwellers now working from home. Efforts are being made to mitigate the plight of the urban bourgeoisie while the public purse is being opened to provide alms for the urban poor. Interest rates are effectively zero and the economy is being flooded with money. Who will profit and who will sink beneath the storms waves is yet to be seen.

There was once a saying in Denver’s oil patch “When an industry downturn hits, corporate headquarters catches a cold, but the field office (Denver) gets pneumonia.” That aged bit of provincial wisdom captures the different realities of Deplorable and Adorable. We might restate it for the present time, “When hard times come, the Adorables catch a cold, but the Deplorables get pneumonia.”

The reality of the Deplorable is still recovering from the financial crash of 2007-09 and the devastating rush to capture the dubious benefits of cheap off shore labor. The Adorable reality was a barely noticed slowdown for the 2007-2009 speed bump followed by a dizzying rise in prosperity arising from low labor costs and appreciating asset values.

Living within the reality of a coming winter, Deplorables have always appreciated a wall, the comfort – psychic and physical – of a wall. Walls, whether tangible or intangible, provide shelter as well as safety in harsh times. Living in the eternal sunshine of omnipotent America, the Adorables looked down their nose at the archaic concept of walls. After all, walls cost money and are an impediment to all that cheap labor fueling the Adorable paradise.

There is unspoken amusement in the rush to castigate President Trump, that racist bully, for the sheer bad manners in referring to a Chinese virus. Covid-19 is the correct term, a neutral technical nomenclature safely distancing certain viewpoints from any residual responsibility that might attach to the uncomfortable origin of the black swan.

It is a sad fact that being around me can be a “downer”. I have predicted ten of the last two market downturns. I am definitely a cup half full kind of guy. In the 12th Chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul explains how God has given each of us gifts of character to be used, not for our own benefit but in the service of our fellows.

I have always seen Paul’s words as a vindication of who I, and those like me, are. King Solomon touched on the same theme some 3,000 years ago:

“There is an appointed time for everything . . . . .

A time to weep and a time to laugh

A time to mourn and a time to dance”

The personal traits and experiences that have made me a Deplorable, the personal traits and experiences that have made another an Adorable are not to be dismissed lightly. We, the Adorable and the Deplorable, all have value to each other and have been made for this time and place to give comfort and aid to each other.

In this time of the coronavirus, a time of unexpected stress and hardship, adrift in the unknown, we need each other, even as we practice the unaccustomed arts of “social distancing”.

A great American put it this way some 65 years ago:

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men . . .”

2 Responses to “Winter is Coming”

  1. Judy Hoxworth says:

    Read this last night just before falling asleep! Fortunately I had no problem sleeping! As a fellow glass half empty person…I can tell you my one thought this week that I can’t escape from is…WHY are we killing ourselves to keep from dying!!!

    • Ed Holub says:

      At first glance the word “deplorable” conjures bad connotations. However in referring to my Funk & Wagnalls dictionary and the context of your article, not so. Deplorables must be realists, willing to take things as they come, good or bad, and able to cope with them for the benefit of our fellow men and women. On the other hand, maybe the Adorables need a reality check from time to time. Yes, they need each other. Also I like the thought of Judy in her reply, obviously applying to the black swan.

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