Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fear

(Before Halloween, I'd hoped to finish that serial I was writing but the thing is... Jon Stewart ate my homework.)

In elementary school, there was a mural, just outside my classroom, of an enormous atom bomb explosion with the words "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" bursting out of the mushroom cloud, along with the smoke and the fire and the whatever-else comes out of an atom bomb. Each school day, teachers marched my classmates and me past this mural to lunch or gym or recess. Marched us back. Mushroom cloud. Fear itself.

I once asked a teacher what the mural was about. She told me, "It's about the future."

The mural terrified me because it wasn't the future as I understood it to be--it was the future of the past, with kids my age crawling under desks and Khrushchev banging his shoe on a UN table. All I saw was a terrible annihilation, some chipped paint of smoke and fire, and, when I asked, a summary of the picture: "It's about the future." No context, just "the future."

Elementary school is like that. If that mural was done today, it'd be like this: the Twin Towers, with the words 'Mission Accomplished' coming out of the smoke. Kid would ask, "But what does it mean," and teachers would answer, "It's the future."

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