Sunday, May 22, 2011

We're still here!

Looks like the Rapture didn't happen yesterday after all.  Either that, or only the heathens are left behind; come to think of it, the neighborhood was pretty quiet this morning when I took our dog for a walk.

Incidentally, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, which seems pretty reliable, the word heathen, is from Anglo-Saxon hǣðen, meaning "not Christian or Jew."  The word may have originally referred to people who lived on the heath, i.e. non-farmers, wild people (the word pagan has a similar historical origin).  Old English hǣðen underwent the usual vowel changes, which is why we now pronounce it [hiːðən].

The whole "rapture" thing reminds me of a story about the late Sir Eric Gairy, former Grenadian political leader and a sort of mini-Papa Doc.  During one of his campaigns in the 50s or maybe 60s, he told people that he would prove his power by walking on the water of St. George's harbor, which is actually the partly submerged rim of an extinct (?) volcano.  On the appointed night he was rowed out to the middle of the harbor.  He stood up in the boat and started to step out onto the water, and then dramatically stopped and looked up, cupping his ear with his hand as if listening to something.  He sat back down in the boat and they rowed him to shore.  There he told the onlookers that just as he was about to walk on the water, he received a message from God who told him it wasn't the right time.

And here's the sad part: a lot of those people on shore believed him.

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