“That’s where you find the unarmed bobble-head.”
As opposed to the armed one, I thought? My mind goes to tangible images, so I pictured the only bobble-head I have…. a Christmas ornament that looks like our dog, unarmed and surrounded by the rest of the ornaments decked out in military fatigues.
I’m fairly sure, though, that the Starbucks baristas were discussing an on-line game; something that would be far more threatening than a bobble-head Santa holding an uzi. In the virtual world all things are possible, and a monster with a head that moves around unexpectedly seems particularly grotesque in my imagination.
It is clear that in our virtual world the line between fantasy and reality has blurred. I could write about a life lived completely in a dark, blue forest; and though sad which of us could not visualize a real girl trapped in front of her computer, fleeing monsters through midnight blue leaves.
The online characters my daughter creates are real enough to her to have physical and emotional traits, not to mention names. The spaces she occupies while playing these games are hers in a way that even her room at home is not. Because in her virtual rooms she is in charge… she has designed them and brought them to life and this gives them a reality which outweighs the meager control she has in her actual bedroom.
Want to change room décor? Done!... hair color? Clothing? Location? Done, done done! Friends can be selected and then set aside in an instant. Where in life is anyone allowed this kind of freedom and immediate gratification?
I won’t try to parse out the effects such an easily changeable world must have on our psyches. But as a writer, I will say that it is going to take more and more work for us to illustrate character growth in a time when readers are becoming used to full (and rapid) control over those transformations.
And, as with all change, it is a blessing and a curse. Because while on the one hand it demands more from our craft, on the other hand it opens up a whole new world to explore with our characters; a world in which even bobble-heads might have a chance at true love… if not defense.
“Is this our last vacation day?”
It is a sign of our times that my daughter believes her day off is due to another teacher work day. Somewhere along the way we lost the reason for this day and the meaning behind service in general. In a culture that worships money and power (my daughter just told me she wants to spell her name like the singer Ke$ha), few of us recognize the value of doing something for the sake of altruism.
Yet, we are reminded today that there are some among us who still do exactly this. Our military personnel do not put themselves in harms’way for the pay, certainly. And anymore even glory is missing from the equation. The
truth is, we as a country need these men and women who recognize that service to country and fellow man is critical for protecting the freedoms we frequently take for granted.
I have written before about the pain of war…. A pain I feel that is no longer shared by the masses, but is accepted by those who least deserve it. They are the ones who know that freedom and liberty take work and sacrifice. They and their families pay for our ability to go to work unafraid, no matter what our job; to protest the 1% or the cost of obesity; to write our blogs and our tweets and our Facebook posts without fear of retaliation by our government or by those who hold opposing beliefs.
My daughter does not know what a victory garden is nor why it was ever necessary. She does not know how many servicemen and women are still fighting for us around the world (there were over 1.4 million active service members as of March 31, 2012 – in case you wondered: from the Statistical Information Analysis Division of the Department of Defense.) Most importantly, until now she did not know that it has been a tradition on this day to remember and honor our dead service members at cemeteries around the U.S..
No, I tell her…this is not a vacation day; remembering takes work.
Eulogy for a Veteran by Unknown
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
Subscribe to my blog:
Link here to Betting Jessica on Amazon.com