The Naughty List

Christmas is long gone, but here’s my naughty list for 2022. Without access to Santa’s files, this small sampling is no more accurate than my opinion. 

These aren’t ranked by severity, although Vladimir Putin is a strong contender for first place. He is unlikely to attain Hitleresque numbers, but it’s not for a lack of desire. Those two fellows may someday get to compare notes at a fireside chat.     

Naughty doesn’t convey the savagery imposed on innocent Ukrainians. Casualties include lives, limbs, health, homes, jobs, and property. Some have lost everything, perhaps even hope.  

When Ukraine’s soldiers and citizens proved more resilient than expected, Putin changed his strategy. The bombing of utilities has given new meaning to the term cold war. Residential complexes are targeted, even hospitals. A man can wreak havoc when unrestrained by conscience. 

Iran’s rulers are always on my naughty list, but earned extra points in 2022 when the morality police arrested a young lady for not wearing a hijab. Her suspicious death led to thousands of women, and a few brave men, protesting in the streets. Sham trials led to predictable verdicts and public hangings. Iranian justice is a sobering oxymoron.

Afghanistan’s Taliban shares a similar view of females. When America’s small contingent of 2500 troops left, so did womens’ rights. A December news item said females are now forbidden to go to college. Armed guards make sure no one sneaks in. The Taliban apparently fears educated women might let their hair down or try to vote.

It’s unnecessary, however, to go overseas to find horrific humanitarian conditions. Our southern border is overwhelmed with people crossing over or trying to. It’s a tragic situation with no easy solution, but I’m putting President Biden on the naughty list for making it worse instead of better.  

Before you applaud or take offense though, Donald Trump is on my list too. If there was any doubt of qualification, his suggestion that election fraud in 2020 “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” put him over the top.

 Lia Thomas is on my naughty list for competing against ladies in NCAA swimming competitions. Will Thomas was ranked #462 among collegiate male swimmers, but Lia captured the top spot by swimming with women. His dreams were kept afloat by sinking others’ hopes. 

Rules which allowed Thomas to compete as a female have since been changed. Now the gender transition must have occurred before age twelve. Assuming a two year process to switch, I don’t believe a ten year old child can grasp the implications of such decisions. Parents who take a slice of their offspring’s future are on my naughty list and possibly warrant prosecution.          

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, earned a spot. He’s accused of stealing funds from investors in a now defunct cryptocurrency business. He converted real money to crypto then back to real money which disappeared. The business failed, he went to jail, now SBF is out on bail.     

Chase Cominsky and Jake Runyon, a professional fishing team, demonstrated naughtiness by putting weights in the bellies of their bass. They were winning another tournament until a judge noticed something smelled fishy. With a sharp fillet knife he gutted their prize.  

A 19-year old chess grandmaster was accused of cheating by using a computer. The accusation seems credible but it wasn’t proven, so he’s not on my list. I have a suggestion, however, if he’s later found guilty. Those he beat could confront him with, “You need to write me a check, mate.” 

I’ll end this report with the unknown party who removed baby Jesus from a nativity scene at Sundance Square in Ft. Worth, Texas. My first guess is the culprits were kids playing a prank. If it had happened in Unadilla during my youth the suspects would have been friends.      

Taking baby Jesus out of the manger was a naughty thing to do. But it’s inconsequential compared to what’s happening with the grownup version. Leaving Jesus out of our lives is becoming the norm. Even believers are increasingly quiet, trying to avoid ridicule, hostility, or lawsuits.

Jesus said not to hide our lights, to let them shine for the world to see. My lamp is pitifully dim at times, obscured by a cone of silence. But I’m trying to do better and stay off the naughty list, not Santa’s or mine, but the one list that really matters.            

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7 Responses to The Naughty List

  1. Cynthia Couch says:

    Loved your “Naughty List”. Great blog!
    Happy Valentines Day!


  2. Fran says:

    I think this might be your best column to date, and there have been lots of good ones. I agree with you on every point. It especially saddens me to see what is happening in our country today. Surely we can do better. And it starts with reinstating God to His rightful place in our homes and institutions.


  3. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    Yay for you for illuminating these bad guys and for telling the truth about the situation in our country!


  4. Don Giles says:

    I agree with your list. I’m glad you didn’t mention names of your friends from Unadilla who in their youth might have done a similar act. Whew close call on that one.


  5. Melanie says:

    Very good article Neil.


  6. Goodman Sue says:

    Reading this today but thank you for always reminding me when it’s Friday. You are so right on! I need to let my light for Christ shine brighter in this dim world! Great writing !


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