“Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know” is an exasperated cry often heard by the apathetic and scared. “Run for your lives!” often punctuates a panic, and many are all to eager to comply. Children are admonished to heed the words ‘curiosity killed the cat’. Build a bomb shelter, stick your head in a hole in the ground and live to hide another day.
And then there’s denial … obstinate denial. ‘It can’t be true!’ we exclaim. We don’t want to believe that which is perfectly obvious because some how or another we may become implicated. So, we shake our head, close our eyes, cover our ears and refuse to listen, see, care, feel and most other than behaviors that characterize us as living and breathing human beings. In light of this, maybe it’s true, as a friend of mine is wont to say, that ‘the dead ask the best questions’ … simply because many of us don’t.
Back when I was a teenager, I remember being eager to reach the legal age at which I could take the examination for a learner’s driving license. It wasn’t that I really thought I’d be driving, but I wanted the license just the same. It signified some rite of passage to me, I guess. License to go and be free.
A friend was kind enough to give me his copy of the ‘Driver Handbook’ published by the ‘Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (read: road hogs) to help me study for the required exam. One of the first things I remember reading were the words “In the state of Florida, driving is a PRIVILEGE.” The words sort of jumped right off the page and blind-sided me (almost as unnerving as the way in which Florida Highway Troopers (read: stormtroopers) would suddenly appear, riding your rear bumper, their blue lights a blazing). Before even delineating how one attains this privilege, the handbook launched into a list of how said privileges could be taken away. Words like ‘suspended’, ‘revoked’ & ‘incarceration’ seemed menacing … purposely so.
I’m sure you will agree that teenagers quickly catch on to what the word privilege means, especially because they are always being threatened with having theirs taken away. It does seem fairly sadistic to teach children the value of ‘liberty’ by robbing it of them every now and then. It’s even more perverse when the exercise has less to do with education and more to do simply with authoritarian ‘control’.
I had a different post in mind for this week … until I read about the following news item that just made me sick:
Lisa Lindsay, a breast cancer survivor in Illinois, was arrested for a disputed $280 medical bill, which in fact she was told she did not have to pay. Nevertheless, the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and the next thing she knew, local State Troopers bombarded her home and hauled her off to jail in handcuffs. (Insert painful pregnant pause here) Yes, apparently in the United States of America – the home of the co-called ’free’, debtors’ prisons, previously abolished in the 1830′s, are making a comeback.
You read this news item (links below) and you get the idea that there has to be more to this story. You get the feeling that the thousands of dollars that went into the arrest of this poor breast cancer survivor, over a billing error, just doesn’t make sense. But it’s true.
Folks, something is very wrong in the United States of America. Something that defies all logic and what might be referred to as ‘humanity’. Something that should be an insult to all … but it’s not. Instead, its ‘business’ as usual. It seems the game of ‘life’ is really just a game of ‘Monopoly’ to the government and Big Business. No money? Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go …
I know it’s been awhile since we’ve talked or even exchanged insubstantial pleasantries. In fact, I can’t even remember that last time your name came up in conversation. Still, I feel there are things that needed to be said even after all this time has passed.
I know you might still be angry, or elated … maybe a bit of both. I wouldn’t know since we seem to have lost contact – neither of us taking the time to give a damn and both of us more than happy to let the distance and time to grow between us.
I’ve often thought that maybe it’s better this way. Maybe this is the way it should be. Maybe we both feel ‘off the hook’, as you once suggested … or was it me? Still, there are times when all the old feelings rush back to me … and somewhere deep inside me a subtle urge begins to build, boiling my psyche alive.
Herb: In the known universe there are beings that never quite question their existence. They wander wildly through the underbrush of society, slowly strangling the life out of all within their grasp, including themselves. It’s senseless.
Charlie: And so it begins, our journey … our wandering.
Ivy: I wonder … will we wander in vain? Is there a point to all this creeping about?
St. John: About our destiny, yes. And, we must have faith in our function, our purpose, our very reason for being.
Charlie: Being that you know so much about life, the universe and everything, don’t you think it’s about time we questioned our existence and that which drives us?
Ivy: What drives us is life itself. Isn’t it?
St. John: It is! Our very existence demands we kowtow and bow to the will of what we were born to do.
Charlie: Do tell! We are slaves to our wills then … or the wills of our nature … and after we do whatever it is we are supposed to do then what happens? What then?