Note and Disclaimer: Nope, I still don't own M*A*S*H (nobody here should). Here's part twenty of "By the Graveside"…
A hypocrite was a person who told someone not to do something, but would turn around and do it themselves. They can pretend to have virtues, morals and principles of their own and never own up to them. They can also have pretended to have a life that is God fearing and righteous. By definition, it was a despicable person.
But that was what this man was – a hypocrite. He stood before the grave of a person he did not know and found out about by accident. The hypocrite had a tenure at the 4077th M*A*S*H, just as this dead man named Henry Blake had. Whereas the hypocrite was a surgeon of a lower rank, the deceased was of the highest in the camp. He was a colonel and, from what the hypocrite heard, a bumbling commander too. He was ineffective, drunk and quite indecisive.
What made them similar in one way was the way they handled their lives. Blake may have been a family man, but he was a shameless womanizer who lectured his men on the topic of keeping it with your legitimately married mate. On the other hand, those who knew him spoke of his gentleness, fairness and strength. There was a fire underneath that staggering figure.
The hypocrite himself had countless instances. It did not always go to the affairs of the heart. He would act out the part of the righteous, the doctor of top of a heap of wounded bodies, and shout out his indignation.
But that was it. The hypocrite had taken lovers unmarried while condemning a woman who did the same. He cheated his way for money while encouraging others to do it honestly, as he supposedly did. He also acted as if it was his Christian duty to give to the poor…only to ignore them every other day except for a holiday and a handful of Sundays. Worse, he stole from them, from which he gave so freely on those designated days, expressing all the same to give to those who were less fortunate.
That wasn't all though. Those claims of the perfect lifestyle had bluster, an egotistical echo to them, that asserted that he was unsurpassed. The hypocrite could whip out anything and make himself to be the very best…if he actually did it at all. What an example he set!
Words were like the wind. They are empty shells with no proof, no solidity that displays what they really mean. The hypocrite held this deeply and wrung his guilty soul several times with its implications.
Even so, Blake was respected and more so than the hypocrite himself. He did not demand something and do anything contradictory. He carried on as he always did, holding the camp together under the most dire of circumstances, from bombs in the compound to shelling around the OR. He supported the underdog and fought for all rights.
The hypocrite could not say the same. He held command of the 4077th a few times. They were not the happiest, he had to admit. While the notion went to his head completely, others found his lack of sense unnecessary. He would order the company clerk to press and iron his shirts, dressing fashionably and ignoring his post. He ceaselessly played his music too, dining on food too fine and wine too fresh to be amongst the uncivilized.
But he will never again listen to those records. No, they reminded him of a deep hole. The hypocrite shuddered to think of that moment, when all hope for the end brought him suffering and pain. To see what as a refuge now transform into a reminder of war was something the hypocrite did not like to be reminded of. He had to do something to keep sane. He had to keep his mind off of Korea and to focus on something noble. He had to redeem himself somehow, to shake away the cloak of duplicity.
That something else was Henry Blake. Charles Emerson Winchester III chose to find out more about this man with a bright future ripped apart so early. It didn't take too much, being a Winchester and all, to have someone paid to spy. For a price, he learned of the hardships of the Blake family. The brokenhearted widow and her children had no income anymore, a mortgage on the house and hardly any family nearby to help. The widow was destitute and working several jobs to make ends meet while the children went to school.
Charles was devastated. No war widow should endure as Lorraine Blake had, he decided. Quietly, he drew away his former mask. For months, he had sent funds to a trust account for the Blake family, presenting it anonymously. Today, it was to be given to her in a ceremony.
He had opted out of seeing the results and instead chose to visit the deceased. It was more his quiet contemplation, to meet the man whose family he was now helping…and he hoped it would last until the end of his days. That would be his salvation. Charles was sure of it.