I wasnt trying to, mind you .. to empathize with the kids. (Sympathize with. Feel for. Think of.)
[ And I am simply talking about 'losing' .. as in "can't find" or "can't locate" .. and not as in » dead forever & ever. ]
What the Fuck?
"And where does one do such a thing?" you ask? No, not in the Serengeti, but rather right there in the classroom .. while they're all gathered together in one place .. huddled is the word I want ..
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••• today's entry continues here below •••
"Whoa!" I can't quite wrap my head around that. What the fuck? (« not gratuitous, not hardly, not here).
The Bug is 7. Maybe that is why I thot of the kids first. Cuz it's hard to ignore the similarity.
And truth be told, you probably don't even want it to (.. for reasons we will address shortly).
But I guess it shouldnt seem strange that such a horrible thing would threaten and unsettle (rock-to-the-core) a parent ..
Maybe this is why I feel this thing so deeply .. way down at that level where it feels like the species itself is threatened.
[ Can't believe I just said that .. but that's the way it feels.
Because if human beings can do *that* .. then they can do ANY thing. No? Before yesterday, I didnt know that such a thing was even possible.
Not only did I not know .. that somebody could HAVE such a thought .. I didnt even know that such a thought was possible.
Or perhaps I'm just naive. ]
But I wonder if that same [ beauty-in-darkness ] paradigm applies to the parents who have lost children .. there in Newtown ..
.. under such incomprehensibly cruel circumstances. I certainly hope so. (I can only imagine what kind of dreams they might be having.)
But there is a flip-side to that parenting coin .. and it is not pretty. Not at all.
I have tried .. to put myself into the shoes of the parents who lost children there in Newtown .. and I feel » nothing. Nada.
This makes me think that I am NOT ABLE to go there. Like it's too much. I guess we all have our limits.
Dostoevsky lost his young son in 1878 (.. to epilepsy, a condition he inherited from his famous father) .. right before Fyodor started to write his famous story about Dmitri, Ivan & Alexei .. aka » the brothers Karamazov.
The father in the story is named » Fyodor .. Dostoevsky's name. In other words, he's playing the part/role of the father ..
.. or at least assuming that part as one of his roles. Either way, he has to enter-into that role/mindset. A place he no doubt had been giving serious consideration to of late ..
.. not unlike 20 fathers in Newtown tonight. At least 20. And many more around the country.
And he sees in the dark. And he sees very well in the dark.
And the father will be talking to his sons. And his sons will be talking to their father .. and to each other .. ABOUT their father.
The brothers will do a lot of talking. And sometimes it will be pretty. But mostly not. =/
And if Dostoevsky is here, then Kafka can't be far. [ « An example of a Rad logic ladder .. for negotiating my way thru the darkness.]
Here is the opening sentence from the novel. See if you notice any other similarities with Newtown.
"Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov was the third son of a landowner from our district, Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov well known in his own day (and still remember among us) because of his dark and tragic death, which happened exactly thirteen years ago and which I shall speak of in its proper place."
It's no big secret that the plan-of-salvation itself is very much a father/son thing. So the weighty gravity of the brothers is never far. You can feel it .. instinctively. The generations speak .. and not always nicely. =)
Have you ever heard the Cat Stevens song » Father & Son? [ Lyrics. ] What makes this song so cool .. is that Cat sings BOTH parts .. both the father's part and the son's part (.. just like Dostoevsky does).
Oh, score! Here's a 2007 version .. so you can actually compare and contrast the song sung when he was young .. and then when he was old. First when he was a son .. and later when he was a father. And a grandfather. The same song. Very cool.
I feel like Turgenev [ tur-GEN-yev ] is going to come walking thru the door at any moment. =) Another nineteenth century Russian.
The Russians certainly arent afraid .. to get off the porch.
Critics say the loss-of-his-son had a "profound effect" on Dostoevsky's writing, and therefore on the novel.
Fuel to burn. Lots of it. Gotta burn up the grief/angst/suffering/despair somehow or other. Or it will eat you alive.
Running is my default grief-burner. Run until the hurt stops .. until I no longer feel the psychic throbbing. Might be a while, tho. You get in shape, quickly and easily. The pounds fall off. No appetite. (Booze only makes the pain worse. It's a 'toxin'.)
I want to do something for them .. for those families in Newtown .. perhaps send them a card. If I just write "Sandy Hook Elementary School Memorial. Newtown, CT" on the card .. I'm sure it will get there. 06482
We try to understand the mind set that can lead to tragedies such as this, so we can better recognize the telltale signs .. so we have a better shot at thwarting such nation-rattling horror in the future ..
.. and as a way to say, 'sorry' to those kids .. for letting such a horrible thing happen to them. "We'll fix it. In your honor. Promise. Honest injun."
Even if they told me, "We'll shoot you, THEN the kid."
I'd tell the kid, "We're going to a better place. I'll be waiting for you there."
How could a person, who did something like that, ever live with them self? That would be a good trick, no? (Tho it seems that 'living' is never the goal.)
What kind of torment can drive a person to even CONSIDER doing something like that? Why not just kill yourself? (Like Hemingway did.) Or confine your killing to the person or persons who you feel caused that torment?
Why a whole classroom of full first graders? There is obviously something that I'm not getting here. Nana says I never will get it. Speaking of Nana...
» Hitting Close to Home .. in More Ways than One
.. to be from a place .. where people have heart, and are known as such.
Warm. Jokers. Belly laughers. Throw-your-head-back-belly-laughers.
I'm talking about New Haven county. 'New England' starts north of New Haven county (I've heard it said).
That sucker was heavy, dawg. And it gets freaking-cold there during the winter. Froze my butt off. Fingers, too. [ 'The Register' btw, has a page dedicated to » Newtown. ]
Free concerts on the Green every weekend during the summer. Big names. Very cool. Lots of people.
I lived in a suburb on that side, so West Haven was close. Fifteen or twenty minutes. And those back-country roads thru Woodbridge were gorgeous (.. specially in autumn).
If you fancy the main roads, then Route 34 will take you all the way from Sandy Hook, over the Stevenson Dam (which forms Lake Zoar) as you hug the Housatonic and pass by Indian Well .. then dump you right into downtown New Haven. It's a nice drive. Very nice.
That's the way I went every time I visited Nana .. when I was working at the Indian Point Nuclear plant about 90 minutes away in New York ..
And if you go to New Haven, it would be a sin not to stop at Pepe's. [ Reagan used to go there when he was President, Secret Service and all. ] If the wait at Pepe's is too long, then walk down the street to Sally's. Best pizza you've ever had.
Everybody there in New Haven had a nickname .. such as "the Hippie," "Poncho," and "Charlie-Charlie" (.. who could give an eardrum-busting "Whoo-hoo!" louder than anybody you've ever heard).
» Going Dancing with a Group of Friends in New Haven Clubs
We'd go out at night with a large group, dancing in New Haven clubs on the weekends. The rule was » everybody must dance the first song when we arrive .. whether you liked the song or not.
The girls would fill a table with their bags as they passed by. Soon as we hit the floor .. everybody else came up, too. Then we had no room left to dance comfortably. (We'd have to resort to the classic sardine-can-elbow-shuffle.) Stupid rule, but it certainly livened up places.
.. which gives me a decently-respectable vantage point from which to compare and contrast.
You normally have to LIVE in a place for a while .. in order to get in and among the locals .. which, of course, is how you get a 'feel' for a place.
Plus I spent six years in the military .. in which I met and LIVED WITH people from all over the country ..
.. and a shot of tequila works wonders .. to loosen the tongue and dispense with superficial formalities. [ And who ever stops at just one shot? "Let's go rap to Jose," they would say. ]
Didnt leave until I was 18, when I enlisted in the Navy's Nuclear Power Program. (Mom was crying as the recruiter drove me away that cold, rainy morning.)
[ My cousin was a state trooper there; I used his name to get out of a speeding ticket late one night, while coming home from work.
"Why does this name sound familiar to me?" the trooper asked, staring at my driver's license .. illuminted with a flashlight .. somewhere around midnight. ]
The neighboring school where another cousin's son attends went into lock-down yesterday. [ He said that they told the kids that a rabid raccoon had been seen loose on the playground. ]
He says that they will have to close that school .. that the kids won't want to go back there. The new school where the surviving Sandy Hook students will go is "five minutes away" from where his son currently goes. [ Nana's grandson. ]
» The Slide Continues
The feeling I got when I heard the news from Newtown .. was the SAME feeling I got ..
Following that shooting, I posted an entry titled » Our Long Slow Slide .. into the Drink [ dated Jan 17, 2011 ] ..
.. which recounts an experience I had during a school class-trip .. to Indian Well state park.
[ Pause for effect. ]
» Tragedy Clarifies Priorities
The good thing about such tragic slopes .. is that they clarify priorities.
You can rest assured that nobody in Newtown today is fretting over leaves that havent been raked or carpets that need vacuuming or laundry that hasnt been washed.
The storms-of-life come to us all. During such times, priorities become remarkably clear. The rest falls away as unimportant. As mere trifles. Superfluous trifles.
And I firmly believe that the sooner we learn this, the better. (The deathbed is not the place to learn this lesson. That's too late.)
Much of life is just noise, just static. (Too much of it.) Easy for the noise to drown out the music. Too easy. (Much too easy.)
I don't personally know those families who lost children in Newtown yesterday .. but I *do* know that .. they'd trade everything .. to have their Little Ones back in their arms again.
Every thing. (Gladly.) Priorities. Clarity. Bingo.
» President Obama Addresses the Nation from Newtown
Update 16 dec - Wow. You won't believe the long string of unexpected, quirky events that happened / transpired today ..
Oh. My. Gawd.
It would take too long .. to describe the series-of-quirks that needed to materialize .. but uh, I had a feeling like ..
Today was not even a normal day that I have the Bug. Very unlikely .. the way things worked out. Things out of my control .. all just fell together. So many things. (Consecutively, it seems. Not simultaneously.)
Tho I'm not sure why. It's late [ Sunday night, almost midnight ]. I'm tired. Long day. I'll write more tomorrow.
I would not have planned it like that .. even if I could. But it was powerful (straight-to-the-core) and emotional .. in a profound and nearly-overwhelming way ..
.. listening to the President address the nation .. with the Bug sitting there on my lap .. cradling him .. as he played with his new Christmas toys ..
So it felt like it was bigger-than-me. And in that respect, it seemed a little scary .. especially since the subject was not very cheery.
I did not know that Obama would be speaking at that time .. on that particular station .. nor did I have control over the channel (.. selected by the employees who worked there at the taco joint.). Like I said, we were watching the football game.
» Parental Gratitude
I don't want this to sound disrespectful (cuz it's not) .. but uh, I was feeling *grateful* .. that he was not one of the 20 .. and that I was able to hold him in my arms at that time. Very grateful. (Very.)
So I feel like I have some insight into what the parents of the surviving children from that school felt like during the president's address.
I can totally relate to the photo of that mother holding her boy ..
Without thinking I found myself planting an endless stream of kisses on his head (.. that I doubt he even noticed).
Don't think I didnt catch that the kids who were slaughtered there at Sandy Hook Elementary were the SAME AGE as the Bug. [ He's 7. ]
It got real quiet there .. in the Taco Joint (.. despite being full of people) .. when the President began to speak. Strangely quiet. The owner turned up the volume on the wall-mounted flat-screen. (Beautiful picture. Luscious colors.)
» Suffer Little Children
I mean, I normally wouldnt want the Bug to watch something like that. And he didnt seem to get the gist of what was being said.
[ For Christmas I got him a Skylanders Giants starter kit for Nintendo Wii. And he was playing with the three characters that came with it. ]
But I had just shifted him on my lap .. during the football game, waiting for his mom to come pick him up (.. thanks for being late, mom) .. from facing straight away with me to a side-cradle hold. [ I've been missing him like crazy lately .. not having seen him for two weeks. Two-and-a-half. ]
[ He *loved* that Skylanders kit. You can always tell when kids *really* like something. Both his arms shot straight up .. in the universal symbol to signify » "Touchdown! Score!"
So of course, I was super-happy .. that he was so happy. (I think Santa is bringing the Wii itself.) ]
Hard to miss the detail that Jesus was alive .. when he said "Let the little ones come .. forbid them not". No?
» Horror Unspeakable
In other words, the kids didnt have to die .. in order for Him to lay his hands on them.
[ Notice how this woman here » is laying-her-hands-on her son.
You figure she might be feeling thankful right about now?
Notice how the boy is covering his nose and mouth.
That's the way little kids react to horror unspeakable. ]
In other words, that's what you get when you let the foxes write the rules that govern our nation's financial henhouse.
You get a small slice of fabulously wealthy private folks and (somehow, almost magically, it seems) an enormous national debt .. growing VERY FREAKING FAST [.. to be left for our kids to pay. Called "the public". What. Thee. Fuck? ].
Heck, even the Statue of Liberty herself is starting to ask » "What thee fuck?"
Does that not have the stench of immorality all over it?
Next time you happen to see a Senator .. tell him, "Just because people want to GIVE you crack .. doesnt necessarily mean that you have to smoke it."
Now if *that* aint a coincidence .. then I don't know what is. Cuz there are only a small percentage of Americans .. who think that kind of shit is okay. Very small. About 1%. And even many of them are starting to ask, "What the fuck?"
I find it telling .. that the enormity of our national debt that we continue to ring up at a mind-blowing rate and are leaving for our children to pay .. struck my consciousness only as I sought to comprehend the size of the universe.
» The Question of National Priorities
But while we're here, let's ask the question » what are our national priorities? Or perhaps an easier question » What are not? Do the priorities of our elected officials represent the priorities of the we-the-people?
Even if it makes the folks who are Grieving feel better .. those kinds of things shouldnt be said. Blaming God for our problems is the pussy-way out.
» Sometimes You Just Gotta Do Shit
This is obviously one of those times.
Because Malachi suggests that God Himself will "come and smite the land with a curse" .. if the hearts of the fathers are not right toward their children.
Turn on your analytical mind and check out the next sentence » "No, we don't want anybody shooting first graders in their classrooms .. but rob blind their whole generation? No, I see no problem there."
I mean, if you *really* wanna make the Grieving parents feel better ..
.. and thwart the next such Tragedy .. from breaking even more parents' hearts ..
.. and not just say pretty words .. that don't mean jack-shit.
What does this tragedy say about our nation? Because it's not the first time that this kind-of-shit has happened.
Nor the second. Or the third. (Uh, to be honest, I'm starting to lose count.)
I guess 'corrupted' would be a more clinical term. Priorities 'misplaced' .. would be the nice way to say it.
What do you say?
And it's not just Newtown, either. Newtown was merely the smack-of-clarity that clocked us upside the head. "Oh, I see. Yes, something is fucked-up here. Definitely."
Cuz it seems to me .. that the SY$TEM [ not the parents ] only 'cares' about our kids .. to the extent that they can continue to tap their credit card .. .. and to the extent that our kids PAY the debt that they run up on their credit card.
That was done deftly. (Surprisingly so.)
What can you say? .. that would ease their pain? But that doesnt mean we shouldnt try.
He tried. (He's good at that I-feel-your-pain stuff. Empathy.) He has two young girls .. so I'm sure he can relate.
[ Speaking of Obama .. "Dude, uh, I mean, 'Mr. President' .. you totally want Walter to do your bio. You are history .. and history needs to be treated with respect .. which means » fairly and honestly.
Have him over for some of that yummy White House tea-n-crumpets that we've heard so much about. And we wanna know all the DIRT, too. So make it good-n-juicy.
Walter will kick ass." ]
Everybody everywhere were "suffering little children" .. and it was a beautiful thing.
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