Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Third of July

It is my son's birthday today. Little family get-together, cousins and uncles etc. My eldest brother is a state employee. Works in some capacity for the prison system. He wore his gun on his belt for the gathering, and his badge. You know, so we'd know he had a gun? It was an act of dumbfounding rudeness. Seriously weird. Or maybe I'm hypersensitive. He's become a bodybuilder, and has gained "50 pounds in the past two years." So of course he wore a muscle shirt. And indeed, he's made progress in the direction he seems to have wanted. Really big arms. His conversation centered around "bulking." A subject about as interesting to me as, say, how to insert dildos into anuses.

I can't stop thinking about it. The weirdness. The rudeness. The bloated egotism. The transparent insecurity. To think that these shallow, stupid, vain, stunted, narcissistic fools had power over me when I was small ... well, it's enough to make me a bodybuilder. The fact that I was once vulnerable to these mediocre scum is insufferable.

It calls out of me an immaturity that I rarely have to face. A sort of competitiveness that I've avoided my whole life. A cross between the learned helplessness of a double-bind childhood -- where futility was the dominant lesson -- and a rage that if indulged it would require traumatic intervention of the legal system. So I avoid it.

The BBC has been on the radio, interviewing Ron Kovic, the Born on the Fourth of July Vietnam War protester. And I'm thinking, this is how they mark Independence Day? I think of that protesting generation as cowards. Justifiably I think, because as soon as the draft stopped, the protests stopped. But it can't really be cowardice. Nor backstabbing liberal antiamerican disloyalty. It's just a different perspective.

I'm not a man who has many doubts. Mostly because I make sure of the evidence before I adopt an opinion. I see the other side of the argument. I see it as the weaker side, taken by those who take it not necessarily out of malice, but from some specific human failing that controls us all, generally. Not a lot of doubt, then. That's something else I avoid. But I really don't pray anymore. I doubt God's willingness to intercede. That can't be the faith of my original salvation.

Well, I'm a little low right now. No matter. That's what holidays are for.


No comments: