Because we have handed over the running of our society to lawyers and
accountants, we are fast approaching a point where only a lawyer or an
accountant can perform ordinary daily tasks.
Case in point: fruitcakes.
Every year around this time, I get a mailing from Holy Cross Abbey in
Berryville, Virginia, asking if I want to buy one of their fruitcakes. You
bet I do: I l-o-v-e fruitcake. Every year I fill in the form and send it
back, with an order for two fruitcakes, one for Thanksgiving, one for
This year the letter duly arrived. The forms, however, have got an order of
magnitude more complex than they used to be. They have, in fact, got so
complex, the monastery has included a sheet showing “models” of how the form
should be filled out, depending on precisely what you are ordering, and
whether or not you are a Virginia resident. (There are six models
After struggling with this for a while, I gave up and just called the
monastery by phone. A friendly brother took my details and placed the
order. Then we had the following conversation.
Me: “Have a lot of people complained about the complexity of the forms?”
He: “Well… we’ve had a few… but we just started sending out these new
Me: “They sure are complicated.”
He: “Things are getting more and more complicated all over.”
Me: “I know. It’s getting to be too much. Maybe I’ll come join your
He: “Oh, we have our own complexities…”
If even religious retreats are under the thumb of the lawyers and
accountants, what hope is there for our civilization? We are doomed,