Monday, May 5, 2008

Shallow Shallow Shallow

I am looking at the mug shots of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. I am not among them. I am looking at the photos and not reading the text and I am thinking that I don't care.

So and so's research has saved thousands of lives. I don't care. This pol, or that one, promises he or she will change this, that or the other, or maybe all three. I don't care. I don't care about the 26-year-old Brazilian soccer prodigy and evangelical Christian, nor about the founder of Facebook. I don't even care about Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, though a long time ago I did march near the Burmese embassy with a placard demanding she be freed.

Are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie really heroes? Heroes? That term used to be reserved for firemen and people who jumped into icy rivers to rescue people who should not be in icy rivers. I am tired of George Clooney, who has invaded the pages of even the New Yorker. I don't know what Carinne Roitfeld does and am too tired to learn even though she, like me, is Parisian. In fact, the only thing in this week's Time that sparked my curiosity was an ad for Residence Inn Marriott showing a fire-eater. Now that's interesting. How does he do that? Doesn't that burn his tongue? What if he inhales? He is performing next to a swimming pool and I wonder if that's his safety net.

I think living in a web of lies and untruths at every possible level has jaundiced my views. When one does not know whom to trust, one simply stops trusting. And this is what has happened to me in the past couple of years. Should I believe the New York Times or the News of the World? Geraldo or 60 Minutes? Is NPR any less biased than Fox? My former SO lied to me pretty constantly, either by omission or directly. All ads lie--I will not get the girl by buying a Givenchy suit, and I will reemain a dork if I buy a Harley, except that I'll be a dork on a Harley. What was accurate last week is a baseless falsehood today. Fark, this is simply too complicated for my basic thought patterns. I get way too much bad information, all of which is useless or downright destructive. But then again, useless information is easier to deal with than the stark facts of life.

Hasn't that been scientifically proven?

Here's installment 19 of Wasted Miracles.

“But it was, like, quick?”
She could tell by the way he hunched his shoulders, shuffled his feet for a moment or two that whatever he’d answer would be a lie.
He said, “Yeah. I think so. I think it was quick.”
Josie expected to be taken to the station, that was how they did it on cop shows but Detective Robinson didn’t suggest it. Instead, she rode the elevator down, found herself in the lobby of the building and people looking as if she’d done something. All the residents seemed to be there, the word had spread quick that someone had been killed and the old lady retirees and stay-at-home wives, the janitor, guards and doorman, the Chinese take-out driver and mailman, the delivery guy from the diaper service, all of them were talking in hushed tones, darting glances at her when they thought she wasn’t looking. She was close to tears, she had to get out of there.
She left the building eyes straight ahead, not willing to give the biddies satisfaction. Out on the sidewalk, she searched through her purse for the emergency fifty she kept in the secret flap but it wasn’t there. She remembered Herbie had taken it a week before saying he’d pay it back the very next day but she hadn’t seen him until three days later and by that time they’d both forgotten. So all she had was a couple of bucks, some change, and an ATM card but there was no bank in sight. She felt a tear slide down her cheek, wiped it away.
Truth was, she’d gone to the apartment to break up with Herbie, she wasn’t willing to admit it but last night was it. She was going to bail, and now he had bailed first, most terminally, and it made her feel both cheated and sad.
She remembered an incident when she was a kid, when this woman neighbor who was mean and smelled like a musty closet had yelled at her for stepping on some flowers, and she’d wished right there and then for the old lady to die. And that night, the old lady had. Like Josie had willed it or something. And that was the way she felt right now, that perhaps in some weird strange way Herbie had been killed because she’d been so pissed off she wanted him dead.
That same night, back when she was a kid, she’d woken up yelling that it hadn’t been her fault about the old lady, and her mother had come and held her for a long time, her breath all booze and cough drops. Her mother had told her to always be careful about wishing for things--they might come true. She hadn’t thought about that for years.

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