Inspiration comes from almost any direction — if you remain open to the process.
For example, around noon today, I was still deeply regretting the day-old creme doughnut that I ate earlier in the morning — about a half-hour before yoga, to be exact.
I was marveling how at 2 a.m. I awoke with the startling realization that the Panio doughnut was still in my backpack into which I’d slipped it yesterday with plans to eat it on the way home from Centro. Long story short, I got distracted by a haircut and forgot all about it. Until 2 a.m.
Funny how the mind works.
And the stomach.
Funny how the stomach works when you are in your 10th downward dog of the morning and that possibly-curdled creme doughnut just won’t go away.
So there I was, deep into doughnut regret, when a small and sensitive voice filled my head with an intriguing question: “What is an ‘abecedarian’?”
That was Rose, my wife. Her word of the day — and I can’t begin to fathom why — is “abecedarian.” I rose to full stature and began to explicate: “Well, if you read my recent blog post on Love 22 you would know that an abecedarian affixes numerical values to the letters of the alphabet and then through complex mathematical manipulations and fanciful leaps of logic, reduces it all to the number 22.”
At least, that’s true in Love 22’s case.
Results may vary, depending on the sanity of the abecedarian — and the copious amounts of hallucinogens taken in the 1960s.
Love 22’s intake was copious. And his intake took hold. To this day, he is still Love 22 (legally) and he’s running once again for president of the U.S. Because … 2020.
But the important thing to note here is that I was wrong.
Yes. Yes. Don’t start. I. Was. Wrong.
At least according to several dictionaries.
According to THOSE things, an abecedarian is a novice, a person who is just learning. The dictionaries do not specify what this “novice” is learning. But they do imply that the acquisition of knowledge is going on. (That is an important thing to note for later, if you are still reading this …)
Acquisition of the Dark Arts, I imagine.
As an adjective, abecedarian is just as boring. It means “rudimentary, elementary” or “arranged alphabetically.”
Remember your Great-Aunt Euthanasia who alphabetized all the spices in her larder and then went on to famously alphabetize all the mason jars filled with preserves and provisions for the long winter ahead?
She was an abecedarian.
She was also a stickler for manners at the dining room table, made your Great-Uncle Digabbe miserable by forcing him to smoke in the basement, and died with few friends among the gossipy old crones who outlived her. But that is a whole other story.
When you capitalize abecedarian, things get a lot more interesting.
The Carolina Abecedarian Project, for example, took more than 100 at-risk infants in the 1970s and gave half of them a decent education that started earlier and lasted longer than most pre-school programs. The other half got nutrition, social services, and health care.
Spoiler alert: The half with a better start to their education have generally done better in life. By the way, do people still play god with the lives of other people in the name of scientific research? Asking for a friend.
Also, true fact: The Abecedarians were a post-punk trio in the late-1980s, out of Long Beach, near Los Angeles. But enough about them.
There is a religious movement called the Abecedarians which — and I’m quoting here — “affected an absolute disdain for all human knowledge, contending that God would enlighten his elect from within themselves, giving them knowledge of necessary truths by visions and ecstasies, with which human learning would interfere.”
I know what you are thinking: Do these guys wear red hats?
Well, you’re not completely wrong.
But the science-hating, knowledge-disdaining Abecedarian sect was founded in the 16th century, a breakaway from the Anabaptists, who, themselves, broke away from the Protestants.
Abecedarians believed that conventional knowledge created a wall between themselves and their God.
Ironically, their contemporaries often gather to shout “Build the wall! Build the wall!” at the behest of their orange-faced idol.
How did Abecedarians get their name? They believed that even the most minimal education — the learning of the first three letters of the alphabet — corrupted their relationship to their God. Thus, A-B-C-darians …
Modern-day fact: Their spiritual descendants are called MAGArians (ma-GAIR-i-ans).
They don’t unite in congregations, like their forefathers. They gather at rallies.
MAGArians don’t totally buy into the willful ignorance of the Abecedarians. They prefer to embrace “alternative facts,” which are fed to them by well-financed business and right-wing organizations with names like Koch, FOX, NRA, GOP, Putin, and Exxon.
MAGArians have been trained to mistrust conventional or mainstream beliefs in things like science, climate change, the intrinsic goodness of other people, government, people of color, and all tv news and newspapers that do not bear a FOX logo or a swastika.
Did I mention science? They hate science. And data.
The beliefs of red-cap MAGArians can be distilled to a single-malt belief: “I’ve got mine.”
That is it, the sum-total of what they believe in. “I’ve got mine.” No matter how little or how spare their “mine” may well be, they will cling to it with religious fervor and woe be the socialist-liberal-progressive-snowflakian-bleeding heart-sonovabitch who tries to take “mine” away.
What is “mine” to a MAGArian?
“Mine” can be many things — guns, self-esteem, income, all-white neighborhoods and schools, racist perceptions, paranoia, ultranationalism, patriotism, xenophobia.
MAGArians despise rules made by others that impede their progress through life. Rules like “Don’t pollute,” “Pay taxes on your income,” “Share the road,” “Recycle,” “Help other human beings to a better life,” and “You don’t need five assault rifles to feel safe.”
For years, I tried to rationalize the existence of MAGArians, because I may well be related to some.
I imagine normal people tried to accommodate Abecedarians back in the 16th century. But Abecedarians probably went too far when they denounced the study of theology and considered any learned preaching of religion as heresy.
Yup. They went after organized religion.
Which is probably why we don’t hear about Abecedarians much today.
At the current rate that MAGArians are attacking everything that stands in the path of their right to rally and denounce everything and everyone who isn’t under the roof of their arena, they could possibly burn themselves out in the near future.
How bad is it? Professional sports teams and promoters of a certain popular hot sauce that happen to be known for their red caps are now going “Aw, geez. Do our caps look like MAGA caps? Any suggestions? Change our colors to black? Anyone? “True story.
Like all movements founded on hate, isolation, greed, and paranoia, MAGArians could soon eat their own.
We can only hope.