Thursday, June 21, 2012

Emotionally Exhausted and Morally Bankrupt

M*A*S*H was an amazing tv show on from 1972-1983.  Although it's been gone for 29 years (it still lives in reruns), so much of it still rings true for those of us who remember it fondly.

A favorite episode of Sean's & mine is from Season 4, called "Der Tag".  Colonel Potter asks Hawkeye & BJ to be nice to Frank.  They get him drunk and passes out.  As a joke, they put a toe tag on him and write on it "emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt".  The joke backfires.  Frank goes to the Latrine and falls into an ambulance (passing out again) and ends up at the front!  Hawkeye and BJ have to confess what they have done, and retrieve the still sleeping Frank from the front lines.

When the day (or days) has been so long that it feels like a year, one of us will say, "I am emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt."  It's less that we have lost our morality and more that we've been brought so low by the day's (week's/month's) events that our emotions can take no more and our moral compass is spinning so quickly we cannot tell which way is north.  It's that moment when the world goes sideways.

The amazing thing about the line, like so many other movie/tv lines or cliches, is the comfort it can bring.  It can carry with it positive baggage, memories of a beloved show or event.  It brings a smile when you thought there was no smile left. 

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