Monday, May 26, 2008


Other than having the day off I am not much for Memorial Day. Perhaps it's because I am lucky enough not to be touched by war. Sure my grandfathers were in WWII or maybe the Korean War, but I never heard stories, never lost relatives during military service. When my own father was 20 or so he shot himself in the leg while practicing his quick draw out of the holster, a dumb college kid, macho and most likely drunk. When Vietnam came a-calling he strapped the brace back on his leg and was deferred. He was lucky. I am lucky. The luck of the naive and the liberal, a conscientious obector voicing my peace-loving opposition to an empty room, to an echo and I cannot stand the sound of my own voice. Do I really sound so high-pitched? Is my voice really so thin? Maybe so because bumper stickers speak to me. I support the warrior but not the war and I visualize whirled peas whenever I close my eyes. War cannot be won, only survived.

An all-American family portrait: me, my mom and my brother, Andy. I'm guessing this is the summer of '76. A patriotic fashion choice for a Bi-Centennial July.
I grew up watching The Big Blue Marble and listening to Free to Be You and Me. In the sixth grade I read Ken Keyes' The Hundredth Monkey and feared nuclear war just the slightest bit more than I feared scoliosis after reading Judy Blume's Deenie, and that's really saying something considering the hours I spent examining the curve of my spine in the bathroom mirror.
Today I plan on taking Zoey down to the local Memorial Day parade. She will undoubtedly love the fire engines, the balloons, the 25 foot tall Gandhi float that says "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Which reminds me of my old job. You know--Gandhi and Merchandising go hand in hand like that. Well, there used to be this person in Accounts Payable. I never met her, but on her emails she had installed a permament signature with the Gandhi quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." And I always wondered what that meant to her, what change she wished for, what she was doing to abet that change from her cubicle there in Building D. How the signature at the end of her emails asking for people to break-down expense reports promoted peace or goodwill or tolerance. Or maybe all she ever wanted for the world was concise expenses, in which case, I suppose the quote in her signature worked and Gandhi was right.
He was a smart guy, that Gandhi. My personal fave is "Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it." Which right about now makes me quite the Glory Hog.
I am no longer afraid of scoliosis but I should probably start to fear osteoporosis. I slouch. Today I will eat some corn and watch as a parade of happy white people marches down the street to the tunes of an off-key brass band. Everyone has the day off. It is easy to forget that we are at war right this very minute, that my biggest fears are happening right now, as I type, that even though the hundredth monkey is somewhere right this very minute washing his sweet potato people are still getting blown up and displaced as I sit on the sidelines of the parade and catch the candy that Gandhi tosses to me.

1 comment:

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