Saturday, February 4, 2023

Pinocchio, Pinocchio, Where Art Thou.


It's been a long and hectic week.  It began with a letter I received on Monday that my farm would be inspected on Tuesday by the powers that be over New Jersey woodlands.  It's an event that takes place every three years, but this year it landed smack dab in the middle of a frantic effort by my-bride-the-artist to repaint and redecorate our bedrooms in advance of an Icelandic friend arriving for an overnight stay on Thursday.  
All of which was preceded by desperate efforts at getting to the bottom of our septic system problems–both figuratively and literally.  After having dug up the mega tank, and replaced two non-functioning floats, it still wasn't working correctly. So, it was on to scoping out the entire system with a camera searching for the source of the problem.  No such luck. 
We were left with replacing three toilets.  Which we did on Monday, then came Tuesday, and they still weren't working. Then came Wednesday and all but one was working–the one for the guest room.  So, on to Thursday, and with abject fear (on my part) as the driving motivation for our toileting efforts, all was working just before our guest arrived. 

The visit was wonderful, and included making a new friend from Montreal.  Soon after our guests left on Friday, I settled down to write my post for Saturday.  By then the outside temperature had dropped to 6 Fahrenheit, and the windchill had it down to -6F. but I was cozy in my office.

Or so I thought.  That's when I learned our Internet wasn't working.  It took close to three hours to get it up and running (sort of).  And just as I returned to my blog, a wild gust of wind tore a downspout off the second story roof, sending it careening across the roof and along the ground to lodge under our car.  Now I'd have to crawl out onto the roof in F'n (not an abbreviation for Fahrenheit this time) sub-zero weather to tar over any damaged spots to the roof and reattach the downspout. 

That scenario was vetoed by my bride.

So, I sat down once more to write the post, afraid somewhat to touch the keys out of fear for what might befall me next. I thought to pick an uplifting topic...a hard thing to find in the news today. Instead, I reached back to an earlier time, when my feelings about what's going on in the world were about the same as they are now.
Here's hoping the Internet gods will allow this to post.   

For those of you who want to know what’s happening in the world today, just shut your eyes. Your ears too, because what you see and what you hear doesn’t really seem to matter much anymore. What counts these days is whatever turns agendas—political and otherwise—into realities.

All of which brings me around to the subject of this week’s post: Pinocchio.

An epic character, perhaps the most well known character in children’s literature, who stands as a universal symbol of the perils of prevarication to one’s proboscis.

Carlo Collodi
It all began with The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) a children’s novel by the Italian writer Carlo Collodi, in which a kindly old carpenter, Geppetto, carves a marionette in the image of a little boy who lives a literal wooden existence dreaming that someday he’ll be human.  But between him and his dream stand a series of trials and a singular moral defect: Pinocchio’s penchant for lying and bad behavior.

Though some literary types have equated Pinocchio’s journey with that of epic literary heroes such as Odysseus, I think for purposes of today’s post it’s better described by Jack Zipes in an introduction to a book on Pinocchio, titled Carlo Collodi.  To him, it’s a story about those who venture out into the world naively unprepared for what they find, and get into ridiculous situations.

Enter the “nose knows.”

Alas, if only we had as ready a way of separating truth tellers from charlatans today.

But there’s another lesson to be drawn from Pinocchio.

The list of Pinocchio productions and knock-offs is endless, but undoubtedly Walt Disney’s 1940 version, praised as one of the greatest animated films of all time, is the most well known. 

What isn’t as well known is that, as originally written, Pinocchio was an obnoxious boor, whose end was not intended to be pleasant.  Disney though didn’t see that sort of character as appealing to the masses, and so he turned him into a more likeable, innocent mischief-maker, who ultimately achieved his dream of becoming real.

Today’s opinion-shapers still turn the obnoxious into the likeable, and far-fetched cinematic dreams into realities, but they’ve have added something else to the mix.  They’ve turned the common sense adage for truth—“As plain as the nose on your face”—on its ear (so to speak) by libeling any nose other than their own as a Pinocchio protuberance, not to be believed.

In other words, we now live in a world where up is down and down is up.  But that’s from another children’s book, for another time.

Assuming we get there.



  1. Wow, Jeff, it never rains but it pours -- or blows, or freezes, or clogs up. Hope you managed to get all your various troubles sorted and serenity has been restored!

    1. Sorry, not only is Blogspot no longer recognising me as a contributor, but it now won't even let me put a name alongside my posts (Zoë Sharp)

    2. Speaking of problems, I recently had the same problem with Blogspot, Zoë, but saw a message that if I checked in with my Google account I'd be identified as me and that seems to have worked....though I may have tempted my luck by daring to state that publicly. :)

  2. The only saying that seems always appropriate, these days, is: What a week! Sigh.

    1. The next thing we know there will be spy balloons circling the earth and dropping little green bots just waiting for the signal from on high to end life on earth as we know it. Whether that's a good thing or bad depends on what position gets more likes on Twitter.

  3. The real Pinocchio, NOT the Disney version, is a true epic, so admired for its literary value in Italy that they renamed the town where the author was born. It is now officially Collodi, Toscana, Italia.

    1. If this is you commenting as Anonymous, Sis, I must say that your home town already honors you by including the first syllable of your first name as the first syllable in its own!

    2. It is me, Bro, and your comment brings back this sad memory: a few of my classmates in the small but classy women’s college where I was a poor scholarship student sneeringly called me Patti from Paterson. They put the finishing touches on my determination to seek fairness for everyone.