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By Linda Nidiffer
We are taught in school that irony is getting the opposite of what is expected. It is one of an author’s interesting tools, but art has a way of imitating life.
Life’s little ironies are so much fun to watch unfold. As a kid from a Midwest farm we were a meat and potatoes kind of family. Everything on the plate was separate from everything else. As a result I am not a big gravy fan. Maybe it all centered on my Mom being a terrible cook! When I finally went to Indianapolis to meet my future in-law family my mother-in-law made one of their favorite dinners for me to enjoy—lasagna. The whole family was so excited to see that large pan being reverently placed in front of my father-in-law. Grace was said and since I was the guest of honor I was served first. I can’t lie; it looked like LuLu the daschund had thrown up on the plate!
I had to be polite. I HAD to be polite and not gag and if it was truly awful Lulu could be called into duty. I took a very small bite under the watchful eyes of my mother-in-law. I choked it down and realized that it was better than a pizza. Wow, what a relief! I asked for seconds and the recipe so both mom and I could make it in the future. My mother-in-law was so proud and I was scoring brownie points for our future relationship—what could be better? Dog vomit to nectar of the gods in just one bite; irony at its best. My mother-in-law laughed about that dinner so many times, all she had to do was catch my eye and say lasagna and we would both start to giggle.
Now we are watching tragic irony unfold in Ukraine. Remember first and foremost that this is tragic. If I could be one of the Greek gods of old sitting on Mt. Olympus watching dispassionately I am sure that I would find a thing or two to chuckle about. Putin’s hubris is certainly a starting point for tragic irony. He thought that he could march into Ukraine with his superior force and everything would be over in three days. He thought he could sneak in and out and even his own countrymen wouldn’t notice. Mother Russia was calling to him. This would be a lark. The irony is that the lark was a mockingbird. He never expected that it is now a month and he has not conquered anything. His countrymen have noticed because he has arrested thousands of them. Who knows where the arrestees have gone? He has had to revert to state-run media because he can’t afford for his people to know the whole truth. He has threatened nuclear bombs and genetic cleansing all the while turning the country into giant rubbish piles that make the exit one pile look puny by comparison. He is no longer the bear of Russia; he is puny Putin and his days are numbered. We will enjoy the irony of his downfall in the coming days and months. Pray for the people of Ukraine. Pray for peace.