A Shark Behind Fish Symbols

A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

We’ve heard that phrase many a time.  I daresay it is a common idiom with its meaning easily understood.  But a shark behind fish symbols?  Maybe not.  I’ve never heard it until a voice inside my head began repeating it for the last hour or so.  Perhaps I need to explain a bit further of the trail my mind has rambled these past few days.

There are days when I am more sensitive to words and attitudes than other days and I reckon I’ve had those days lately.  Today, I kept busy piddling and playing at cleaning and finishing projects while I internally was searching for the reason for the recent increased sensitivity.  Often times I will complete a marathon of window shopping at designated retail therapy shops when I need to mull things over; however of late window shopping has turned into the take-home-more-stuff kind of shopping, which for me is another sign that internal searching is in order. 

In the process of the internal searching, I was asking myself many questions.  “What is the root of sarcasm?  Is it related to anger?  Those of us who use it obviously enjoy it and in all likelihood are proud of our well-honed skills in the use of sarcasm.  But what is it a sign of?” 

I did not discover terribly much about the subject of sarcasm but it seems from all sources in all conventional world-wide web searches, sarcasm does not denote a positive skill to be proud of.  Merriam-Webster, Wikipedia and The Free Dictionary all sum it up relatively the same:

1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
 
Its synonym is often listed as wit, yet the definitions given for wit include:
1. The natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.
2.

a. Keenness and quickness of perception or discernment; ingenuity. Often used in the plural: living by one’s wits.
b. wits Sound mental faculties; sanity: scared out of my wits.
3.

a. The ability to perceive and express in an ingeniously humorous manner the relationship between seemingly incongruous or disparate things.
b. One noted for this ability, especially one skilled in repartee.
c. A person of exceptional intelligence.
 
Not exactly the same, is it?  Based on these two definitions, wit is a sign of intelligence and humor; sarcasm is a sign of verbal bullying, an intentional wounding.  An older post on Psychology Today highlighted the use of sarcasm and its impact.  Another site informed me that sarcasm is the primary weapon in the arsenal of the Anti-Social.  Sarcasm bites, like a shark,  its unsuspecting victims.   
 
I also came across a PDF file that a friend sent me some time ago. The diagram on the PDF file suggests that when we have an offense, a hurt and anger results, there is an accompanying defining moment to choose the way upward of love which leads to fruit of forgiveness and reconciliation or to choose the way downward which leads to fruit of anger and bitterness.  Sarcasm isn’t mentioned on this diagram but I can just about imagine that it would fit into the downward path as opposed to the upward path. 
 
Today I finished reading the book Ascent into Hell by Andrew M. Greeley.  In this novel, the author illuminates the pain of choice–the dilemma of a priest catapulted by changing times into rethinking his chosen pathway through life.  The novel is an epic tale of a priest’s spiritual pilgrimage in the discovery of the Lover, a Parable of Grace.  He had to learn to live a relationship of love, faith and obedience rather than keeping the rules of love, faith and obedience.  In between page 1 and 367, there was a lot of pain, anger and despair.  The waters were infested with sharks.   He had to shed the skin of a shark to be a simple fish.  It was a challenge to continue reading. 
 
Many of us wear t-shirts and jewelry with a fish symbol, we drive cars on which there is a fish emblem, carry a Book that has a fish symbol and we even have tattoos of a fish symbol.  Many of us are sharks behind fish symbols in need of a Parable of Grace.  Most of us?  All of us?
 
 
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