May 27, 2011 3:06:00 PM
Adele Elliott - [email protected]
"The city breathing
The people churning ..."
From "Echoes" by dance-rock band The Rapture
If you are reading this, then I suppose you are probably still in this dimension, still breathing. Have you noticed anyone missing? Chris and I sat on our porch on "The" Saturday night waiting for something to happen. It seemed to me that traffic on our street was lighter than usual. So we called a few friends just to see if they were still here. All were.
Harold Camping, who predicted the big migration to heaven, also remains earth-bound. But, do not worry, the original date (May 21) contained some sort of cosmic glitch. He tells us that the Rapture clock has been re-set. Start preparing for October 21, 2011.
Although the whole incident was a big embarrassment for Camping, it was good for the band Rapture, who has not released a song in five years. Blondie got some play last week, as well as a few gospel songs about you-know-what.
Most people were not too surprised at the Rapture anti-climax. We have heard those tired predictions many times. Even the jokes are a bit stale.
Thankfully, we soon had the Arnold love-child drama to occupy our attention. There, too, the humor was hollow. Just another cheap shot. An egomaniacal bodybuilder, with more muscle than I.Q., let his libido overrule his judgment. Hardly news.
I wish only the best for his newly-discovered progeny. It appears the boy may have some company, as there are whispers of others emerging. My only question is why Schwarzenegger didn''t use protection. It must go back to that ego thing.
I am amazed at how we glom onto such superficial "news." Multi-millionaire, playboy, former-stars inhabit a realm that most of us will never even approach. Religious eccentrics will always be with us. The ridicule is too easy. Mocking comes quickly.
During the same week huge parts of our country were crumbled into piles of splinters and mangled metal. Buildings, if they remained even partially intact, flew across streets and zip codes and the futility of man-made borders.
Tornadoes devastated parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. Our president has promised to re-build. But, looking at the overwhelming ruin, that seems almost impossible.
In five states the Mississippi River has spilled over its banks and levees, drowning people, animals, and entire towns.
The evening news makes me cry.
And, that, I suppose, is why we are so fascinated by reports of the moronic. Fake doomsday predictions and romantic peccadilloes are so much more entertaining than the reality of tragedy. They are escapism at its finest. Not really humorous, but, somehow, they inspire a droll wit.
The real misfortunes leave us feeling helpless. Tears and empathy cannot mend houses or hearts or psyches. We can throw money and donations of all sorts at the victim. (I am certainly not suggesting that we abandon them.) But some wounds will never heal. There is no such thing as "closure." That is a meaningless psycho-babble word. When we see those people, shell-shocked, sorting through the shards of their lives, we know they will never be completely "alright." No matter how hard we try to help, we remain weak and powerless.
So, I am directing my attention to October 21, the ever-growing proof of Arnold''s virility, and other silly, unimportant tidbits of "news." Reality is just too harsh.
Kim Kardashian is engaged to an athlete. Her ring is reported to be worth two million! Will their love last? Will they even make it to the altar? That could concern us for a while, if only as a curiosity, and distraction from true pain. Keep breathing.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. E-mail reaches her at [email protected]
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.