The Three Apples Christmas Panto

Roo (holding trolley and accidentally dragging it to the left): “Mummy, how does gravity work?”

Me (hoiking trolley back to the right): “It’s a pretty complex subject. It’s to do with magnetism and mass. It keeps us attached to the planet.”

Roo (putting full swinging weight on trolley, sending it skittering into cheese counter): “Does that mean chewing gum is very gravitational? Because if you stand on it you can get stuck to the road. And also …”

Me (jerking trolley back, patience thinning): “Mmm?”

Roo: “If you don’t believe in Jesus are you still allowed to have Christmas?”

Conversation is taking place in crowded aisle of the supermarket. Am desperately seeking out basil for tonight’s Christmas Eve dinner party whilst feeling disconcerted by large volume of angry pensioners, assertive trolley-pushers, grit-teethed mothers and squawking kids. Feel like Roo and I are fighting our way through a post apocalyptic soup-kitchen. Mayan style.

Roo starts coughing. Feel guilty for dragging him out, ill. In fact, I think his delirious  questions that managed to cocktail science and religion into one George’s Marvellous Medicine mix of madness, is the final straw for me.

“We Will Leave The Basil,” I declare. Maneuver him past a tall, pinched faced man with aggressive basket manner.

Back in the cool quiet car, Roo stares out of the window with glassy eyes. I sat, hands on wheel, catching breath and sanity. Feel paralysed by whole shopping experience.

At times like this I actually wonder what chance the next generation have in the world. Supermarket is suddenly very symbolic of melting pot madness of the world today. At some point through the consumerism, mobiles going off, cheesy Christmas carols celebrating the birth of the King and pressure to buy, buy, buy there has got to be an end. Which there is … but then the Boxing Day sales kick in.

Bloody Nora.

Sitting back in car seat, feel more relaxed now. Think I need to read Anne of Green Gables. Need to escape to simpler times. Back then, in Edwardian times in Canada, everyone was church-going, never got bad teeth, wore cotton dresses with shawls when watching the Christmas plays in the local hall …

Back in Anne’s time and before, Brainwashing Humanity was a much more civilised affair.

So simple.

Act I. Christianity took to the stage. She delicately swiped the opposition through a wave of burnings and torture, then whitewashed all the blood stains. She held up the Apple of Knowledge, berated Womankind for taking a bite, then sang sweetly (to tune of We Wish You A Merry Christmas); “Your body is born into sin! And if you make man and God your King! You’ll have domination over all animals! And the earth you live in!”

At this point all of the audience, fully believing everything they saw, laughed and clapped (apart from the victims of the Crusades, the 30,000 women burned as witches and co). 

Act II. Science rolled onto stage. Religion gave a little grunt for it knew that, with Science now on the scene, people’s world view would dramatically shift away from the Church. Yet, the show would go on. Religion took a bow and shuffled to the back as Science put on a hilarious scene of Issac Newton’s Apple falling off the tree and bumping him on the head.

The audience clapped and laughed and listened, intrigued as the new Truth Provider bellowed out its lines. “The body is a machine ruled by genes. The material world is a machine ruled by evolution. Mind, heart and consciousness are mere by-products. There is no meaning to Life. It’s all dead meat to eat!”

And then science began to make things. Like a magician before an audience of children, He created machines and rockets and telephones. It created theories and space ships. It created TELEVISION.

Act III. At that moment, as TV was born, two new actors LEAPT onto stage. Why hell-o Media and your twin brother Materialism! First in black and white, then in colour – “DOROTHY!” 

But unlike Religion, Science refused to leave the stage and instead hovered to one side, still producing hair dryers and ipods … Religion, who had been tucked behind the curtain, was enraged. How dare Science, Media and Materialism all dominate the stage? In a rebellion, Religion leapt out and yelled from the background, trying to get the audience to hear Her. A few did, but not as many as before.

Meanwhile Media and Materialism are at the front; glitzy in their show biz suits. “Your body is shit until you look like this! Material items will save your soul. Shop til you drop. Spend until the end! Your mind, body and soul are mere by-products for us to steer towards buying OUR products!” 

They threw items and objects into the audience and the audience scurried about collecting them, desperate to save their souls. Amongst the confetti of plastic and metal were thousands of Apple Mac products – computers, chips and devises for the audience to become One with.

The din in the theatre was deafening. But the audience, the poor audience, were obvious to the white-noise. They were so used to being conditioned, brainwashed, entertained, told to believe, that they’ve been rendered passive, powerless, overwhelmed.

Little did they realise that what each of the Truth Providers needed to survive was the audience’s belief. And the audience’s belief existed safely – within them.

Act IV. There was a murmur of something on the stage. A few members of the audience looked up. Amongst the chaos, Science was starting the mutter about Quantum Physics and the part Mind has to play within Matter. At the back Religion spoke in a low voice of faith and the power of prayer (this concept tickles the toes of the medical world – placebo effects and spontaneous remission however, is unlikely to be taken seriously as the pharmaceutical companies can’t bottle the power of belief.) Without realising it, Media and Materialism started to make books like The Secret and Law of Attraction  mainstream chatter …

All three Truth Providers were suddenly accidentally talking in harmony about the power of the human mind and belief …

Roo: “Mum, shall we go home now?”

Oh! What? Car park … er.

Shake my head, all dazed. It’s raining. A driver appears to have noticed me sitting in my car and is waiting in the hope of pouncing on this parking space. Opposite him another driver has his indicators on too.

Sensing an impending parking space show down, I turn the key in the ignition. Before I go though, I give Roo’s hand a little squeeze. Take off my coat and make it into a pillow so he can lean comfortably against the window. I love that boy. And I love my girl, at home. Am so glad that I have them.

Driving home through the rain, Roo lifts his pal little face and looks at me. “Mum? Have you got me a time machine for Christmas?”

Me: “No.”


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