In the end, my eyes were dry but my chin was wet
I was getting out of work after another long but OK day & I’d been told about that Connecticut thing & how 20 kids had died, but I hadnt had any time to really think or care about & anyway, it’s my job to tell people on the street that everday 19000 kids dont make it to their 5th birthday because of things like diarrhea & getting bit my a mosquito, so I didnt think it was or could be a very big deal.
And on the way to the bar, because that’s what I do, I was putting my iPhone back in my pocket but it missed & hit the uneven rocky part of the pavement & cracked the front screen in a half dozen places. And I said, ‘Fuck,’ and got upset, but continued to the bar because now I had a proximate excuse for my drinking, so I was weirdly happy.
I sat down at the end of the bar proper, in the corner away from everyone because I only drink there on account of it’s in my way walking home & I can only avoid veering in about half the time. I got out a book to finally finish reading (I didnt) & scraped my phone’s screen with a card to get the sharp glass off a bit more so less would find my fingertips.
It’s for my job, reading: to learn more about how children are affected negative-like from war, directly, indirectly & what they’re forced to take part in, but at some point I couldnt avoid even the broken almost illegible looking window into the wider world of electronic minds & relationships, and I started looking at Facebook. And I saw friends & acquaintances talking about Connecticut & I finally started to read more about it.
It actually wasnt the story about people being shot that got to me at first, I think. Twenty dead elementary students, whatever, but seeing people say, ‘Someone is going to try to blame this on guns,’ started making me angry in a way I try not to let myself get at Facebook, so I launched into multiple conversations about this because how many fucking innocent people trying to live their stupid miserable lives as happily & as fulfilling possible have to get shot with guns that dont do a goddamned thing to protect anyone before we realize that gun control policy does have an immediate effect on how many people have to die when someone who is mentally ill or evil decides to kill as many other people as possible?
I got real worked up & wrote some pretty good stuff in the I’m-sober-and-that-was-still-fucking-well-stated way you review things the next day, even unable to see most of my phone writing it.
And then someone complimented President Barack Obama on his tearleakage speech & I started getting mad on a professional level, like, ‘Dude, how many children has Obama been responsible for by allowing a policy of drone-bombing terrorists when they’re with their families or at funerals/marriages or driving down the street? How many when the drones “double-tap” to kill the people who respond to help those hit in the first place? Surely it’s been 30 this year, if we’re being super generous.’
But I wasnt that upset about children all around the world dying, not nearly so much as the thought of children in grade school who were fucking psyched to learn that a mongoose can regularly kill a King Cobra & that you can figure out how to add a bunch of things at once with this thing called ‘multiplication’ — the thought that these kids got shot in the head (or chest, or stomach & bled crying to death for minutes for someone to help them when there was no one to help them & no help to give) for no reason, and it wasn’t one or two but 20 (& God how is that possible), and really I was more upset about my phone being broken & either having to spend a couple of months with a broken phone or just spend $300 bucks now to get it fixed than I was about 19K kids per day shitting so much that their body cant send electrical signals to its muscles & they die, probably not crying because they’ve known a long time it’s coming & havent got tears or voice to protest even weakly that this was their short lot in the world, punishment for choosing their parents poorly.
I was more sad about the idea of not having another drink than having more money to provide for people in a life & death sort of way. And while I am not solely responsible, I know that the money I waste (literally, by buying things to put in me to come out of me without even providing nutrition along the way) ought to go to 3yearolds who have no nutrition at all. But I don’t really care. I care more about 20 kids I have never met & would never have met — & if I had not heard of them, my life would still have been peach & wonderful — than I do 19K even younger that I tell people about every day & try to get them to part with their money when I part with ‘only as much as I can afford’ each month, and spend more than that in a week on something else.
Fuck me, right?
The universe doesn’t care if any of them live or die, or if the whole earth gets blown up, but I’m not the universe, and I do care, and I have to do a better job of taking irrational specific empathy & applying it to the whole human race.
Love your neighbor as yourself. Love everyone as you love one person, because that’s how you love the most.
I cried like a bitch on the mile-plus walk home, just three drinks in, and went to sleep clothes on, too piss-drunk to let in the girl who’s sleeping with me. She rang the doorbell at near midnite, my roommates got it & she rolled me over when she came to bed.
In the morning, we showered & she held me & stroked my hair, and I kissed her & told her words I use instead of ‘I love you,’ because I know how it goes when you say that, and so do you.
After we got done, we were going to be late for work, but I didn’t let her undress until I had whispered sweet nothings to her crotch & had my ears squeezed with her thighs & heard the muffled arched back song of joy, and then I felt OK again because woman cures all problems of man.