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03/26/2007 Archived Entry: ""
I don't remember JFK. He was in his grave for a decade before I took my first breath.
It's me, PSM. Hi.
I don't know if it's some sort of subconcious desire to grab all the stories I can before...something, or what, but since I started asking people to tell me what they remember and what it means to them, I've just sensed somehow, somewhere down in the primitive, sub-lingual regions of my gut that I'm on to something here.
I used to make my living as an ironworker. It was a struggle for me to overcome my fear of heights so I could take my place among those idiots who walk around on six inch wide iron beams hundreds of feet in the air. To avoid thinking about the reality of the situation, I used to tell myself this fairytale: I was a young, healthy, strapping lad with everything in the world to live for, a decent person to boot, and it just went against all principles of cosmic sense that my life would end so unfittingly.
Then one day a fellow I knew who was also young, healthy, strapping and decent, and with even more to live for, was riding his motorcycle to his sister's birthday party when he was run over by an SUV. He was lifeflighted to a trauma center, but he died in the air. As the sun rose the next morning on a world with one less of the kind of man we wish we had more of, his widow found out for the first time that she was pregnant with the couple's second child. What should have been a 28th birthday was instead a funeral and burial. I mean for the love of God, who writes this stuff?
Besides being grieved, I was never as comfortable on the iron again after that. I knew it was a fairytale I had been telling myself, but it was one that kept me in the air when I should've been on the ground. And it had been taken away from me.
Almost every person old enough to remember, and who has blessed my life with the stories of their own, has consistently opined that this country became a darker, harder, less confident place after Kennedy was shot. The illusions were shattered, as one person stated it. The fairytale was over.
I know this country never lived up to the myth, just as I know it was never my joie de vivre that kept me from falling off the iron. But I can't help wishing, wishing so hard that it aches sometimes, that I could have known an America that looks like the one on the postcards, where optimism...well hell, you know.
I have never regretted that I chose to "take the red pill." But there are days, just rarely, when the truth is so ugly, so brutal, so unmerciful, so relentless, that even if I wouldn't rip the truth from the wall socket and hurl it out the window to crash on the sidewalk below, I wouldn't mind if it featured a snooze button so we could savor just a few more moments in slumbered pretension and warm, fuzzy lies pulled snugly up over our heads.
Posted by Penguinsscareme @ 10:13 PM CST