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.
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.
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?
April 19, 1995: The Oklahoma City Bombing
April 20, 1999: Columbine High School
April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech Shootings
This is a week of tragic American anniversaries. It is a week to remember the slain, honor the survivors, and treasure our loved ones. It is a reminder that those we hold dear can be gone in an instant, and of the importance of letting them know how much we love them, every day.
To my survivor friends and family: Know that I’m thinking of you today, and sending my love. I wish you health, happiness, and above all, peace.
Although this original post was limited to 100 words by design, I’m editing this post in 2014 to point out that since I wrote this in 2009, three more American tragedies have occurred:
April 20, 2010: Deepwater Horizons Oil Spill
April 15, 2013: Boston Marathon Bombings
April 17, 2013: West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion
Only one of these would be considered domestic terrorism, like the ones above, but I think it’s sad that there have been any more domestic terrorism events in the last five years.