Behind-ology with a run-and-a-bump


In this country, we’ve got our cultural quirks — think football mania on Thanksgiving, or wearing jeans and T-shirts anywhere. So, no surprise, Italy has kinks of its own.

In the land of operas and pastrami, it seems there must always be a grand and hidden design underneath surface events. It’s called “dietrologia,” which literally means “behind-ology.”

Sound a little paranoid? No, they just want to know what’s happening back-stage. There’s always something behind what’s up front and showing.

Actually, we do the same over here, looking for what’s behind and beyond. Our scientists never stop looking for life on other planets. There’s just got to be another form of living, breathing relatives out there, they seem to say — something beyond and behind what we see. If not, we’d have to put up with the neighbors next door, and nobody seems to want to do that.

Behind our universe, too, before it all began, what was back there? Was there anything before the Big Bang — in scientific terms, that is? And as philosophers have always asked, why is there something, rather than nothing at all?

There are scientists who are again zeroing in on those questions, checking out theories about dark energy or multi-universes, or considering space and time as a kind of holographic illusion. So what existed before the Big Bang, or behind it? Maybe behind-ology can help them get more Bang for their bucks — or bucks for the Bang.

And, speaking of what’s going on behind the scenes, what in the world accounts for the way that Congress is run? Why do congressmen act and vote the way they do? What’s behind that? The easy answer is the one you’ve probably already given, namely, it’s the money, honey!

Spending for overall lobbying nationally is $30-plus billion a year. Oil companies alone handed out $1.2 million to members of the House in the first six months of last year, and 94 percent of House members who received such funds voted to keep those industry subsidies flowing.

State governments, too, are no different. A recent study found that most states do not enforce ethics laws and allow corporations and the wealthy a dominant voice in elections and policy issues. Budgeting and spending decisions are done behind closed doors, and existing conflict-of-interest laws are not enforced. So it just could be … the money, honey, behind it all.

The latest celebration move that athletes make with each other following a score has them leap into the air, turn their backs to each other, and bump-collide. It’s a flying, twisting, back-to-back midair high-five like a flying butt-bump, but no one knows just what to call it.

We could name it the Run-and-Rump-Bump, if you like, or the Running Humpty-Dumpty. Whatever we call it, it’s the perfect behind-ology move: just say it’s the Rump-Bump from Behind.

As a kid, someone said he thought himself lucky when they threw him into the water to teach him to swim. Later on he discovered they weren’t trying to teach him to swim at all.

Lily Tomlin once said that as a little girl she always wanted to be somebody. Later on she realized she should have been more explicit. These two never looked for what lay behind and beyond.

So let’s all do the Rumpty-Dump-Bump, as tribute to what’s beyond and behind. There must be more to this world than meets the eye. Life in outer space? Something before the Big Bang? Whatever drives the life of Congress? There’s got to be something behind it all.

On the other hand, as that famous Italian, Michelangelo, once said, “there’s only one statue in this stone” — nothing beyond, just what’s right there in front of us.

That’s no fun, of course — no rumpty-bump in that. But outer space, the Big Bang, politics, and lots more may always stump and amaze us behind and beyond. What’s in front of our nose may take a life time, anyway, to sort it all out. Bumpty-Dumpty.

Kozeny has worked as a teacher, counselor, and in pastoral ministry. He can be reached by e-mail to