The Morphing Together of a Salt Lamp, Nero, and Cat Stevens
An Insight for the Present Day

There I was working late a couple evenings ago. It was after midnight while I was writing and grading my class’s essays. I was so tired that I didn’t go straight to bed. I just put my feet up on my desk. As I looked back on that evening, it was apparent that I was open to benefiting from my Himalayan salt lamp.

Over the past couple of years, I have probably purchased, through Amazon, close to a couple dozen salt lamps as gifts. I like them so much that I have three in my home. Those, who are in the know, claim that the salt lamps have a litany of benefits. While I am skeptical about a chunk of salt with a small lightbulb inside will be a medical panacea, I do buy into the benefits it has for me as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since the lamps claim to help concentration, I anticipate that I will concentrate more clearly. Therefore, I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes.

An hour and a half later, I awoke and wrote a rough draft of this essay. While asleep, I thought about Emperor Nero. Hey, that’s the truth. Nonetheless, I’m not really into the history of the Roman Empire, but Nero’s life and times swirled around in my mind. I realized, when these creative moments occur, that it is best to write down more than just a couple of words regarding my insight. If I don’t start immediately, my thoughts are lost. Therefore, I typed 6/29 Nero as the title. I typed a handful of things that I did know about Nero.

Nero doesn’t look like a happy camper.

Then googled Nero to fill in the large gaps of knowledge about that Roman emperor. It turned out that Nero was not his given name. His mother named him Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus after giving birth to him on December 15th 37 AD. However, due to palace intrigue and killings, Nero became the emperor at the age of seventeen. Roman historians of the time noted that he was concerned about his people. However, a couple years later, he was alleged to have had his mother killed, because she was plotting to kill him. So, the acted first.

Then Nero married Claudia Octavia on June 9, 53 AD. However, it wasn’t a marriage made in heaven. Additionally, she couldn’t give him an heir to his throne. As a consequence of a bad marriage, Nero hooked up with Poppaea Sabina. He sent Octavia packing and married Sabina, which rattled the populace. To settle the people, he had Octavia killed in a way that looked like she had committed suicide.

On July 18, 64 AD, about two thirds of the city of Rome was destroyed by a fire. The fire raged for a week and a half. Even though Nero was out of town at his villa at Antium, the fire was blamed on Nero. To calm those rumor, Nero invited the people to take shelter in his palace.

This is a painting of Rome burning.

While they were sheltering in place, he was out in the ruins of the old Rome making plans to build a new Rome. His first reclamation project was to build a new home for himself.

It was called Domus Aurea, which means golden house. Nero built his house of gold in the center of Rome on 200-300 acres of prime property. He wanted to make Rome great again starting with his domicile.

This is Nero’s lakeside home, which looks very much like my home that is also on a lake.

As I marveled over Nero house that had access to Lake Avernus, it was then that it happened. It was around 2 am when I noticed a song playing in the background on YouTube. I need to have music playing in the background while I write or teach. As I paused and listened, I realized that it was Cat Stevens singing, Peace Train.

Now I've been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
Oh, I've been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it's going to come

'Cause I'm on the edge of darkness
There ride the Peace Train
Oh, Peace Train take this country
Come take me home again

Now I've been smiling lately,
Thinkin' about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
Something good has begun

Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now Peace Train
Yes, Peace Train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the Peace Train
Come on now, Peace Train

Get your bags together,
Go bring your good friends, too
'Cause it's getting nearer,
It soon will be with you

Now come and join the living,
It's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer,
Soon it will all be true

Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now Peace Train
Peace Train

Now I've been crying lately,
Thinkin' about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
Why can't we live in bliss

'Cause out on the edge of darkness,
There rides a Peace Train
Oh Peace Train take this country,
Come take me home again

Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now, Peace Train
Yes, Peace Train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the Peace Train
Come on, come on, come on
Yes, come on, peace train
Yes, it's the peace train

Come on now, peace train
Oh, peace train

As I listened to the song that I have loved for the past half century, I realized that amid the coronavirus and protest rallies dealing with racial inequality, many Americans are on a peace train. Many Americans have left the train station, and our peace train is building up speed. It reminds me of the 60s and the civil rights movement. However, this train seems like it will be more transformative than when I was in my 20s. Perhaps this time, we will see the promised land.

Now, President Donald the Dumb, like Nero, doesn’t care about anyone else than himself. Nero played a harp as Rome burned. Our fake president tweets away while black men are beaten and killed by white cops. When he is not tweeting his bullshit about white supremacy, he is ignoring COVID-19. Vice-President Pence, TLP (Trump’s Lap Dog) mouths nonsense about the coronavirus being another one of his master’s success stories. Nonetheless, in a couple more months, America will say goodbye to our fake president and his lap dog.

One postscript to this essay. Sean Hannity knows that Trump won’t be reelected. However, he asked Donald the Dumb for his plans for his second term. Regardless, he interviewed Trump several days ago about his plans for his second term to Make America Great Again. Listen to our fake president’s plans for his next four years. Apparently, his plans involve the etymology of two words: experience and talent. Yo, Donald, your leaving the White House will allow America to be great again. We will begin with addressing racial inequality and address the coronavirus.