Victims’ Rights Week and OKC

This is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, as well as the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

This week, I honor my wife, who was in a building two blocks away from the Murrah building when the truck exploded.

The shock wave blew in the windows and threw her to the floor.  She was several months pregnant with Logan at the time.

Some people say she’s not a victim because she wasn’t actually in the Murrah building.

Tell that to her fibromyalgia and PTSD.  Tell that to the shards of plate glass embedded in the wall behind her chair.

Victims' Rights Week Awareness Tree

Dark Side of the … Movie?

I was in the grocery store today — the same one as before.  I was wearing my Pink Floyd shirt with a prism on the front.  The title of the album associated with that prism was printed across the top.  The courtesy clerk took special notice of it.

“What does your shirt say?  ‘Dark Side of the … Movie?’”

I faltered, but regained my composure quickly.

“‘Dark Side of the Moon.’  It’s one of the best selling albums of all time.  Came out in 1973,” I said.

“Album.  Huh,” he said.

Being the non-violent type, I just walked away.

King Harald I Would Be Proud

I’m sitting in a bathroom stall and some guy comes in, talking on his Bluetooth headset.  Not a care in the world, he keeps talking while he does his business.

Is he going to flush? I wonder.  That would totally clue in the person on the other end.

He flushes and continues his conversation, bypassing the sink on his way out.

Ick, I think.  He must really know the person on the other end.  Either that, or neither of them have a sense of propriety.

Oh … pardon me, but I have to set the smartphone down.  Time to flush.


The car idles as my stepson and I wait in line at the Walgreen’s drive-through.  A fancy SUV waits in line ahead of us.

“Look, it’s the Wal*Mart dude!” he says.

“Who?” I ask.

“You know, the Wal*Mart dude.  That yellow smiley face guy.  On that car’s antenna.”

I look up and see a faded yellow antenna ball smiling down at me, a 70s cultural icon, rendered in three dimensions and impaled on the antenna of a $70,000 gas guzzler.  In my stepson’s generation, the smiley face has been co-opted by the world’s largest retailer.

Have a nice day, indeed.

If It Makes You Think, It’s Art … Right?

I see a child’s self-portrait, with depictions of twelve year old boy thoughts in the background.  There’s the obligatory Star Wars character, complete with lightsaber. But lurking in the frame are darker images: a guillotine, and an assassination, the bullet’s path passing through the target’s head — and the boy’s, as well.

Initially, I am shocked, disturbed.  Thoughts of Columbine and Virginia Tech leap to mind.

Then I think back thirty years to my TRS-80 computer, and my animation of a guillotine in action, part of an assignment for A Tale of Two Cities.

Is my concern groundless, or valid?