Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 19, 2004
What Is The World Coming To?
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 19, 2004 – This is surely a question that has been asked by every generation since the beginning of time? I’m not sure if there is ever a satisfactory answer. Parents look at their offspring and ponder their behaviour – just at their parents before them, undoubtedly shook their heads in dismay as they watched their children behave in ways foreign to them.
Life will continue on, in this merry way, until the last living creature on earth draws its final breath. Knowing this, I’m amazed that I can still be even mildly surprised. However I was watching the news tonight at six o’clock, and a piece was broadcast called “turkey attack”. I immediately thought that a turkey, which can be an aggressive bird, had struck out at someone – somewhere, perhaps a small child. This was not the case.
In this instance, somewhere in the USA (and I certainly hope it wasn’t in the heartland of Dubya’s religious right) some kids stole a credit card and used it to buy a frozen turkey. They then proceeded to hurl it off an overpass at a passing car. This turkey, on it last ignominious flight, smashed through the windshield of the car and seriously injured the unsuspecting driver. There is nothing remotely glamorous about these circumstances.
I imagine if one could say, “I hurt myself when I fell down the stairs at a glittering charity gala or I broke my arm saving Celine Dion from certain death when she stumbled off her Las Vegas stage and was catapulted into the crowd” – there would be a certain cache to the telling of the story. But to have to admit that one was maimed by an airborne, frozen turkey only adds insult to the unfortunate injury. So what about these kids?
Of course, the turkey terrorists will probably never be found, but it begs the questions – “What were they thinking? Are they bad kids? Were they just bored? Are they vindictive, mean spirited kids intent on seriously hurting, perhaps even killing, someone? Were they just curious about what might happen? How should they be treated if they’re caught? Should they go to reform school? Should they be held fiscally responsible for their actions? Should their parents be held accountable? What if the driver of the car dies of his injuries – should they be charged with murder?”
I don’t know the answers to any of these queries, but the asking of the questions made me recall my own childhood years, when from time to time, I was somewhat less than an exemplary girl. However I still seemed to understand consequences. I was involved in the odd Halloween window soaping, played a rather mean game of nicki-nicki nine door, once stole a comic book from a newsstand, had my summer of 16 sign stealing adventure and once flattened the tires on a guy’s car who had done a girlfriend “wrong”. But that was about the sum total of my childhood transgressions. Not serious by frozen turkey standards.
Some people were no doubt inconvenienced and angered by my actions, but no one was hurt – no one died. In this case the driver might have been killed or disabled, caused a chain reaction on the highway where dozens of people might have been injured. It’s the thought process that goes on in the minds of these kids that is the most worrisome.
But when I think about the bigger picture of life, perhaps I’m not so surprised. We live in a world where war, cruelty, corruption, death, depravity, dishonesty, unhappiness, infidelity, murder, violence, starvation, torture and greed are commonplace. How then do kids see kindness, caring, love, respect and generosity as behaviour to be emulated?
We’re falling down as a society – losing touch with what’s important and not teaching our children, solid core values. I’m sure that’s what my parents must have thought when their kids were up to perverse mischief, but it was devilment of a different nature. More innocent – less threatening. The turkey attack by its very nature, has a certain black humour, but in reality it’s not at all comical.
I admit I keep suppressing a smile here, but that’s because of the visual image. It’s entirely possible to laugh when someone falls down or smacks their head on an overhanging branch, but that certainly doesn’t make it funny. However, laugh we must, because the only alternative is to cry at the state of the world, and that accomplishes nothing.
The news continued and the next piece that caught my attention was the dismissal of Carolyn Parrish from the inner circle of the Liberal fold, for stomping on a George Bush doll, and publicly ridiculing Paul Martin. She is now sitting as an independent. The doll bashing, while unacceptable public behaviour, perhaps indicates how a lot of Canadians secretly view elected officials.
Not just American politicians – but our own as well. Now if those kids had just hurled the frozen turkey into the House of Commons, or perhaps through a window of the Oval Office at the White House, I think I’d have been cheering instead of questioning their motives. I think this may well prove that “everything” is relative.