What happens to a dream deferred?/... Does it stink like rotten meat? Hughes
From time to time, developmentally delayed, religious deviants protest that $GG's continued survival on life support proves "One-Hand Dan" has weathered PL's criticisms and exposés. According to these purblind victims of ecclesiastical imposture, the Wee One is as optimistic as ever about the future of his cult.
We who see the truth recognize that the denial of looming collapse is groundless. If everything were peachy keen in SW Ohio, then Dannie wouldn't be obsessing about money, nor would he be aggressively begging for freebie meals and airport rides. Furthermore, $GG's weekly collection would show a steady increase over time, not the stubborn, below-subsistence flatline we've traced for several years. Volunteerism would be up, so His Impudency wouldn't have to impose upon the same, shrinking core of beleaguered, aging worker bees season after season. Most importantly, the number of bequests would be growing, not shrinking.
At this watershed moment after Junior's "consecration," an event that definitively marked the end of Dannie's rôle as the bench player of Sedelandia, it might be instructive to consider the phantom of defeat pursuing the Dirtbag throughout his lonely hours of tormented self-reflection. This May, he'll turn 67. Approaching one's 70th year on earth, a man naturally takes stock. For life's winners, the assessment is a joy; for life's losers, it's unrelieved agony. If the glittering dreams of youth and early middle age have turned out to be dross, a fortune's fool confronts a bleak future of zero triumphs, particularly as younger, ambitious, and more able men are scrambling to refine golden memories of their own to gild a happy old age.
To garner some insight into what must be Dannie's all-year-long winter of discontent, we must look at the controlling dream of his illicit "episcopacy." Wee Dan's April 27, 1983, expulsion from the SSPX dealt the thirty-something, pipe-dreaming idler a cruel reversal, but not for the reasons many might think. Having very early (and quite without justification) imagined himself a bishop someday, his ouster meant there would be no one to crown his overly wishful noggin with a coveted miter.
When finally, after a self-serving volte-face on the Thục line's validity, he wrested the longed-for headgear from the hoodwinked Pivster, he was free to set his sights on a jet-setting career: One day, he would become the "bishop" of all the sede chapels and groups, traveling the world in style like that globetrotting Archbishop Lefebvre, who had unceremoniously — and in-person — shown him the backdoor some ten-and-a-half years earlier.
As the days, weeks, months, and years following his unlawful "consecration" passed, that dreamed-of day never dawned. Everybody conspired to thwart the realization of his fantasy. Pivareeno, whom he thought he could muscle out of the way both in sunny Mexico and at home, prospered, sweeping up chapels all over the map. (In fact, after the 2009 $GG $chool $candal, a well-motivated Pivmeister pitched camp in Li'l Daniel's back yard at the petition of a colony of ex-Gerties.) Within less than a decade of Dan's mitering, Big Don snared a miter for himself, much to Dannie's peevish dismay. In the meantime, nobody of consequence signed up for the Wee One's "little" Salesian boys' club.
The Jellyfish was the next to elevate its slimy self. It then turned around and consecrated a South American with a large following in Mexico. Sensing a void, a few years later the Ham Sandwich mounted a coup, which almost emptied $GG, leaving only depraved culties. Not too long afterward, the triumphant Sammich — Lower East Tradistan's "Second-Hand Rose" — decorated his own swollen bean with a used miter ordered online (🎶 I'm wearing second-hand hats, second-hand clothes 🎶). One by one, the serious Mexican and French independent "clergy" cut themselves loose.
The upshot of it all is that the Mitered Maggot's fevered vision of VIP airport lounges, luxury hotel suites, smiling concierges too impressed to accept a gratuity, chauffeured limos, fawning maître d's at Michelin-starred eateries, comped lunches at Taco Bell, groveling "clergy," celebrity-struck laity, and painstakingly curated guided tours of Old-World venues never became entries in "The Bishop's (?) Corner." All those hallucinations lay forever out of reach.
Why, he never even got close!
It was Diminished Don who was asked to England, Down Under, and the Continent (and he may yet fly off again soon if he gets medical clearance). But the Lowly Worm's travel victories over Dan are yesterday's news. Nowadays the title of Mr. Worldwide properly belongs to the hyper-ambitious, always scratching, ever conniving Ham Sandwich, who boasts a European apostolate reaching into Germany, Spain, and Italy, where he'll spend about a month and a half this spring. At best, "One-Hand Dan" has only managed to wrangle short-term invites from (1) a shunned group of Argentine malcontents notorious for their pants-wearing womenfolk and (2) some Trento breakaways in Mexico. (But even one of the latter groups soon grew disillusioned.)
As many a practicing therapist will testify, it's almost impossible to recover from a traumatic psychological setback occasioned by a dream that's toast, particularly if you had your heart set on it. It's worse still if you shared your wild hopes with a lot of people who have long memories. The verismo novelist Federico De Roberto once wrote that only castles in the air "avoid the dissolving hands of time." That's Dreamland Dan's cross to bear. That's what makes hellish the black hours of solitude spent in his room.
His vividly imagined persona as an American nouveau-Marcel trekking about the continents — an image refreshed and augmented over many nights in the delicious minutes before sleep overtakes — stubbornly persists. It cannot be erased, no matter how hard he tries. It reappears at the worst times to mock him. To remind him of the failure of his life, the defeat of his outrageous fancy. To bedevil him over the crumbling cult center and evaporating enthusiasm for his enterprise. To taunt him with the fine restaurants he can no longer afford. To heap abuse upon his useless, contemptible, self-mitered noodle.
Bitter is advancing age absent the sweet consolation of a personal chronicle of dreams fulfilled. Add disappointment over disappearing resources while mixing in a growing awareness you never had what it takes to begin with, and you've got the makings of the misery of the damned. Although his self-destructive backing of Tony Baloney and the "Principal" triggered the mass exodus of 2009, thereby hurling his already moribund career into its current death spiral, Dannie actually never stood a chance to become a Lefebvre redivivus.
For one thing, he lacked the physical stature, the air of command. (A perpetual risus sardonicus, or rictus grin, inspires no awe.) For another, he didn't have the right formation or the necessary skills. But the greatest drawback to success was an incapacity to attract to his banner men of genuine ability. He had to settle for the third-rate Erroneous Antonius, whose abrasive personality, misplaced self-esteem, and penchant for windmill tilting only magnified the Wee One's defects in the eyes of both "clergy" and lay folk. Perhaps a gifted sidekick might have been able to mask His Deficiency's shortcomings, but then Li'l Daniel probably never could've attracted the allegiance of someone with unalloyed talent anyway. The ungifted needy seem to find each other, don't they?
Ambition is by no means wrong; it is often beneficial for organizations and individuals. But to achieve true success, both collective and personal, ambition must be underpinned by native ability and a desire to improve lives other than your own. To motivate competent people to follow, you need to offer them something besides a life of servitude to your person. The talented "bishop" who figures out that he must first become the servant of the "clergy" and laity, not their overlord, could become the "metropolitan" of Sedelandia, with whatever diminished perks it may now offer in its last days. However, since the sub-par sede impostors opt for adulation, not stewardship, nothing will change. They'll remain strutting, turf-warring, undistinguished daydreamers who cannot transmute airy whimsy into concrete reality.