Thursday, October 11, 2007

If a Tree Falls in the Woods...

by Unknown

My little corner of the world has been abuzz with the visit of the Dalai Lama. In typical local fashion, there has been much pomp and circumstance, all pulled off with the requisite quota of birkenstocks* and small-town unprofessionalism. Little stuff, mostly, like the K-9 dog, detailed to sniff out bombs prior to the Dalai Lama's arrival, that barked to be let out of the back of the truck. One would think K-9 dogs would be better trained than the average household dog, but evidently not.

At any rate, I was part of a group of 30 onlookers (well, 15 onlookers + 15 police officers/secret service types) who happened to be in front of the museum when the Dalai Lama arrived, with motorcade, his own full security detail, and retinue. The University President, his wife, and various other local dignitaries were there to greet him.

As is evidently the custom, a dedicated scarf-distributor unrolled a white scarf and handed it to a dignitary. The Dalai Lama would take the scarf from the dignitary, hold it up to his forehead, bless it, then give it back to the recipient. This went on through three or four dignitaries, at which point the Dalai Lama ... sneezed.

Which led me to ponder one of the more important questions of the universe, and the inspiration for the post title**: What do you say when the Dalai Lama sneezes? I mean, isn't "bless you" a tad presumptuous?

Aren't you glad I stopped in? (Don't answer that.)

* The Dalai Lama, however, doesn't wear birkenstocks. He wears old-man shoes. Bass walkers, in a brown-ish red carefully chosen to clash with his robes.
**Extra points to me for resisting the obvious and by now tired joke, "Hello, Dalai," for the post title.

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