Stingy Jack eventually died, but since he wasn’t cut out for heaven and the Devil had kept his word and hell wasn’t an option either, with eyeholes lit by the slow burn of coal, he set out with no means to an end and no end in sight.
As the days fall darker in October, Stingy Jack shows up once again on our porches and stoops as hollowed-out pumpkins carved to our taste and sensibility. The old Irish folklore that eventually gave birth to today’s jack-o’-lantern is a distant memory now, but the tradition of scraping and cutting these gourds is very much still alive and well.
The deal that Jack and the Devil cut was one that involved deception and redemption, honor and commitment. Two souls shook hands, and despite their individual intent to win one over on the other, each kept their word in the face of their defeat and disdain. Imagine that.
In the politically charged environment today, there’s a lesson to be learned. Politicians and voters alike find themselves plotting their return and revenge long before their loss. The rush to retaliate and position one’s self ready for the next battle has turned the election cycle into a 24/7 prime-time reality TV show that neither starts nor ends when the votes are finally counted. The result of this is that there’s now no winner or loser, no concession or celebration without a blind eye to the next step and a deaf ear to the sound of defeat. The idea that we should concede is no longer part of the conversation.
The Devil wanted Jack’s soul but honored his word and commitment in the end. When this election cycle is over, let’s do the same and move on.
Jeff Lawrence, DigBoston Publisher + Editor
OH, CRUEL WORLD
I know you aren’t all bad. There’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner, for example, which, while it has nothing to do with anything that happened in the brutal colonies way back, tastes hella good, and should never be adjusted one iota, particularly if said iota involves tofurkey. Otherwise, it’s pretty clear that tradition, in the traditional sense, has always held us back—through religion, institutional garbage, and any number of other assorted old-timey horse shit. I’m taking this short opportunity to damn all tradition to hell, however ironically, and to warn the War on Christmas crusaders way ahead of time that I’m coming for them with my ass out, lick it or not.