Columns Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record

Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
World Donkey Day
Just when I needed a shot of self-esteem came World Donkey Day. Desert animal scientist Ark Raziq founded it to recognize how asses enhance human lives.
“Without donkeys’ help,” says Raziq, “it is hard to imagine the modern world could have ever come into existence. These hardy pack animals provided civilization with the motive energy needed to generate wealth well before the advent of steam power or electricity.
“For that reason, many people consider donkeys just as fundamental to our society as writing, pottery and metallurgy,” Raziq says.
Everywhere I went May 8 people recognized me. A severe solar storm had started — in tender rays of the Northern lights I bore the haloed mien of Joe Biden. But I was not him.
No, I was waiting for World Elephant Day Aug. 12, meant to bring attention the urgent plight of pachyderms. “The elephant,” sponsors say, “is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.”
To pledge your support, go to, click on The Trumpinator Bobblehead and for $29.99 you’ll know you’ve dung all you can.
Since that’s months away, I decided to seek scapegoats for why my work as a beast of burden towing carts of crap people buy generated wealth not for me but them.
The demise began before I was born when Fredric Wortham’s 1954 book “The Seduction of the Innocent” blamed juvenile delinquency, illiteracy and sexual promiscuity on comic books.
Today social media fills that role, per Jonathan Haidt’s new book “The Anxious Generation,” making the pandemic a demigod of woe.
Time for word deconstruction. Less Demi Moore, I figured, Pan- the goat -god had wrought Covid’s metamorphosis: No one worked in offices any longer, learned in schools or dared even show their faces fearing a made-up malady had killed more than 7 million people and affected close to 100 times that. Even worse, many shops suffered losses too.
“In my day,” I lectured my daughter, “what didn’t kill you made you stronger. Germs? Pah! But Germans? You had to watch for them. Then comic books crippled me. Archie, Uncle Scrooge, Superman, the Avengers …
“At an age when my parents learned hard work, sacrifice and respect, endured the Depression and marched selflessly off to war — never mind fellow members of their generation brought those things on — I absorbed the Vietnam War ethos, cartoon characters and skepticism. The Greatest Generation begat the D Generation.”
“Zzz,” she replied.
“Now those tropes and straw-persons,” I went on, “have been realized in the form of Facebook, TikTok and Instagram. With our screen isolation compounded by the pandemic, no wonder I lament loss of everything.”
“Geting older is better than not,” she said.
The sun storm was roiling; the force of a 10 H-bombs a second ejecting electromagnetic flares. Northern Lights could be seen as far south as Florida when they peaked May 10. I took my camera to see the sunset at Oval Beach and was not alone.
“I’m from Patagonia,” said a blonde woman, early 30s, who had come to take cell phone pictures.
“I’m from here,” I said, “more or less. Is Patagonia near the Galapagos?”
“The islands are further north, off the coast of Ecuador,” she said and showed me her screen. The sky was all kinds of colors on it. High up a crescent moon cut across where the purple deepened. “Nice shot,” I said.
I wondered if Darwin had seen Southern Lights from the archipelago. Whether Ark had gathered the animals, two by two, to save them from solar flares, donkeys first.
Green, pink and purple curtains, spirals and sky flickers limned our faces as we tried to save what was gone yet kept moving still.

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