Tuesday, November 10, 2009

American Culture: Why Do We Pretend?

Photo credit: Does Anyone Ever Actually Read This by sweens308

As a culture, we pretend that any number of completely useless things are necessary:

1. That it matters if we check the little box on the long contract that we don't read and couldn't understand if we did.
2. That a sign saying "small parts; choking hazard" is required on every toy even though kids play with pebbles, pieces of wood, dirt, dust mice, and lost buttons all day long.
3. That a lawnmower needs a label that tells you not to put your hands or feet under it.
4. Saying "fine, great, etc." every time someone asks how we are doing, even if we are miserable.
5. Asking people how they are doing when we really don't want to know.
6. We bend the law, but others break it.
7. A kid with a joint should be punished about the same as a guy who burglarizes your house.
8. An executive who steals 10,000 peoples livelihoods should be treated far more leniently than a murderer who takes a life.
9. Signing a contract makes us safer from people who want to slack off or be deceitful.
10. We are doing our best, but so many others just aren't trying very hard.
11. That it matters how nice our watch is or isn't (insert shoes, clothes, house, car, etc. etc.)
10. We don't have time to do important stuff when we have time to watch Dancing with the Stars.
11. Faster is always better.
12. We aren't going to die any time soon.
13. Bigger is always better (Big Gulp, gross)!
14. People who get sick or weak must not have taken good care of themselves.
15. It's o.k. to break our most solemn vows, and then jump all over the kid who gives you a cheeseburger instead of a Big Mac.
16. We can tell a lot about people by the color of their skin.
17. Having lots of money makes us "safe".
18. Having lots of stuff makes us "happy".
19. Getting a newspaper every day is OK, but using paper napkins destroys the environment.
20. That a person's life is more valuable than any amount of money, when we let others starve for want of a few bucks.
21. Kids now are worse than kids were when we were kids.
22. Alcohol is a safe legal drug, but all those other drugs would be a disaster if they were legalized.
23. Nothing really bad is about to happen.
24. Nothing really good is about to happen.
25. Life will pretty much go along as it always has.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Blue Sky, Storm Sky, Gray Sky

photo credit: Who painted the Sky by bbjee

Two days ago the sky was clear. My spirit soared. All was vivid. Children ran and my heart was with them. Peace. All was well. Pain and sorrow took a break. Particles of light flooded the atmosphere. So many that the air couldn't hold them, and turned blue trying. When ink black night moved in, it had to wrestle day to the ground, choking it until day bled a rainbow sunset and expired.

I can welcome the storm blowing in today. A capricious wind wreaks havoc among the leaves. Clouds scud, fleeing and yet gathering. Rain drops are thrown against the windows. Danger hovers near. The probability of sudden change. Possibilities abound.

But then will come the gray clouds. Drifts of semidarkness, piling from horizon to horizon. They will twist slowly, strangling a dripping world, extinguishing the light despite the sun’s heroic efforts. Stillness, but no peace. No color.

Doom will bide its time.