Two Missing Hula Hoops Are All You Need To Believe In Total Depravity

There were three hula hoops, but now there is one.

They hung from the edge of the orange storage tub, the one holding the board and card games. It was stacked on the blue tub holding all the balls and cones and frisbees, waiting in the front room of our cabin for the bus to arrive to take us back to Chicago after a two-day retreat, surrounded by duffels and pillows and sleeping bags. I hung them there myself. There were three.

But now there is only one, and the bus is here. Nobody knows what happened to the other two. They’re nowhere in the cabin. They’re not on the bus. They’re not on the ground anywhere. Two hula hoops up and freed themselves. It’s a mystery.

The fatigue and petty frustrations of a weekend with sixth and seventh graders overtakes me and my mind races with silent accusations and fantasies of punishments meted out to the scheming, the dishonest, the unrepentant. All is lost for humanity, for we are such a thing as steals plastic circular recreation equipment just for fun and then colludes with our fellows to keep the act hid.

Worse, we are such a thing as judges and condemns in wrath with no evidence, only worn out speculation, a thing that stands ready to sentence all suspects, that looks for testimony to prop up a punishment that’s already been decided.

God save us.