I wrote this humorous blog post about Jackson, Mississippi before they had their horrific water crisis, which isn’t going away anytime soon. They need our help. If you are able to do so, please read this article for some ways to support them. Thank you. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/how-to-help-people-in-jackson-mississippi-right-now/ar-AA11kcDP
Are you suffering from news fatigue? Me too. Worrying about the death of our planet, the death of democracy, the death of kindness, and the death of civility takes energy. Unfortunately, my reserves of energy are at an all-time low these days. Nothin’ left in the tank.
Worry, in moderation, can be useful. It promotes action. It thrusts you into problem solving mode. And that’s fantastic when that action produces positive results.
The problem, as far as I’m concerned, is that we have so much more access to information these days that it’s easy to feel that there are just too many problems, and whatever effort you put into a problem doesn’t budge the solution needle one iota. As a result, the type of worry you find yourself embroiled in is not the action kind. It’s the helpless, staring-into-the-abyss kind. And indulging in such worry is pointless.
I do believe we all need to remain vigilant regarding current events, lest the bad guys win more than they already have. I understand the importance of staying informed, but it’s been a long decade. We’re tired.
I think we could all use a distraction. Not in the form of an “opiate of the masses”, mind you. That seems too eternal. And not in the form of a person shouting, “Look! Squirrel!” and then stealing your credit card. That would be unsatisfying, to say the least. We just need something to briefly and harmlessly take our minds off the Sturm und Drang of our current reality. We need the information equivalent of an amuse-bouche.
We need a feel-good piece with just enough meat on the bone to be satisfying. We need a non-threatening whodunnit to try to solve. We need an opportunity laugh at the quirkiness of humanity. We need, in short, a mashed potato mystery.
Back in April, 2019, in Jackson, Mississippi, someone was leaving random bowls of mashed potatoes in people’s mailboxes, on their cars, on their porches. This confusing, intriguing, and mildly creepy story took the internet by storm for, oh, about 6 days. Newscasters were joking about doing the mashed potato, and then the cameras would switch to the weatherman, who was getting quite a chuckle from the whole situation.
My search engine found at least 20 articles on the subject, but this one seems to be the source document. These articles were all saying practically the same thing, and quoting the exact same quotes, so I’d say this is a story written by one reporter and then shared or stolen by various news outlets throughout the country.
Everyone wanted to know who this mysterious purveyor of mashed potatoes was, and what their motivation might be. Fortunately, no one seems to have eaten these mystery spuds, because lord knows what might have been in them. For the most part, people found it gross, yet funny. They didn’t involve the authorities.
And that, unfortunately, was where it all ended. I’m sure if anyone had found the culprit, that would have hit the news, too. The perpetrator did not leave a manifesto, so we have no clue as to his, her, or their motivation. And that bugs me.
But it also gives me license to come up with my own theory about the message that was sent to Jackson, Mississippi on that fateful day. And here’s what I came up with:
O, ye people of Jackson! Gaze upon these vessels of pulped spuds and take heart! For I shall give sustenance to all those who are hungry and imprudent, if they but follow me! But take heed, for this nourishment comes with a helping of insight, to wit: distractions are plentiful for those who wish to shun the vexing realities of their irksome routines. Yet distractions of a carb-ish nature, if indulged in frequently, can lead to obesity of the mind, body and spirit. Mayhap ‘twould better serve you to sup on a balanced diet of both reality and fantasy, fact and fiction, for optimum mental health. Blessed be.