THROW ME SOMETHING MISTER
Eccl. 2:1-2 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?”
“Throw me something mister,” the familiar quote of the parade goers on Mardi Gras, or is it something more than that? There is something very familiar about this statement, something deeply connected to the longing for satisfaction and joy in each of our souls. On Mardi Gras this cry might be met with a doubloon or some beads (or something a little bit more unseemly) but obviously that is not what this giant, so called free party is all about. It’s about the cry inside of all of us “THROW ME SOMETHING MISTER”. Exactly what is it that people really hope to find that day? Are they looking for that elusive lover of their dreams (or maybe a one night stand), or maybe looking for a great buzz from the alcohol and drugs that flow freely at Carnival, or maybe just an escape from the boring humdrum of daily routines? Whatever they might be searching for, like the Preacher said, “this too is vanity and striving after wind”.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Mardi Gras is not the day we put on masks, it’s the day the masks people always wear come off. People cast off all the rules and inhibitions and just let it rip, it’s not a pretty picture. For that one day, the restraints are cast off, after all isn’t it the day God forgot? All people are doing is searching for joy, the kind that will finally satisfy, the problem is nothing in this life will satisfy our hungry hearts. Augustine experienced this pursuit of pleasure in his own life. Listen to his classic description of how he finally experienced the joy that would finally and totally end his search.
“How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, you who outshine all light, yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, you who surpass all honor, though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves… O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.”
So Mardi Gras is really just man’s feeble attempt to find something that will mask the way we feel about life, and maybe supply some momentary pleasure to help us to forget. As we endure another Carnival season and dig ourselves out of the mountains of trash, life goes on and the Preacher still cries, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and striving after wind.” The lost continue their quest for joy, looking in all the wrong places crying out to anyone who looks their way, “Throw me something mister”.