Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"Where Would You Hide?"--a game for the 21st century

In the last couple of weeks, my oldest son and I have taken to playing a game we call "Where Would You Hide?"  We take in our surroundings at the restaurant, the movie theatre, in the department store and devise a plan for a tuck-and-roll under a table, a belly-crawl behind the counter, and a dash for the exit.  In case of an active shooter, you know.

So.  It’s come to this.  We discuss it with an air of humor, and often our playful debate goes off the deep end with wild plans for kicking down doors and super-human feats of athleticism and gymnastics over and around any obstructions between us and safety.  We banter back and forth in much the same way we used to devise our fantastical plans to survive the coming zombie apocalypse.  It’s fun and funny, but with a grim hint of seriousness.  We have given thought, however briefly, to an escape plan.  A matter of 21st century practicality, like marking the location of the exits at a movie theater.

Movie theaters, where we used to feel safe.  Shopping malls, the most ubiquitous of locations.  College campuses.  Elementary schools.  Prayer meetings, for crissake.

Another 14 today, more or less as the numbers finalize, were surprised by violence in a social service agency.  On top of the 12 in the navy yard, the 12 killed and 58 injured at the movie theater, the 27 at the elementary school, the 32 in Virginia, the 13 at Columbine, a news woman murdered on live TV.  Each ripped from life by a gun in a terror-filled, bloody, violent end.  And from each of these deaths—not all listed here—screams of horror, grief and agony from those who remain echo out into the stratosphere like ripples on a pond—never silenced.

“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”—Jeremiah 31:15.

What is happening in our country is more than any of us can bear, should HAVE to bear, more than any of us should bow to accept.  Our voices must join the agonized howling heard in Ramah and Aurora and Columbine and Sandy Hook, with the wives of husbands, brothers of sisters, mothers and fathers of the children left behind in the wake of violent and murderous death.  And we must not let up, we must not fall silent until something gives. 

And all of you who would argue with me the finer points of background checks and waiting periods, assault rifles and armor piercing bullets, don’t bother.  I will not give you the satisfaction of a response.  Your arguments are invalid to the last word.

I do not profess to have the answers or any words of wisdom.   I have no great knowledge or ideas of how to change our frighteningly and increasingly violent society.  I only know that something, SOMETHING has to give.  It has to.  It must.  Enough is enough.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

"You start from nothing and learn as you go...."--EL Doctorow

In the next week or so, I will start a new job.

I have been hired as a newsroom assistant for the Daily Reporter.  It's part-time, 25 hours a week.  My initial duties, after training, will be to 'direct traffic' in the newsroom (that is, channel people to the person who can solve their problem), type up and submit the real estate transfers, restaurant report card, and arrest records, and perhaps type up and edit copy that crosses my desk.

I wasn't really looking for a job, but this, a kind of second career opportunity, just fell into my lap.

With a new editor at the paper, things are being shifted around a bit, departments being combined or moved to the parent newspaper in Columbus (IN); thus, they were hiring.

I interviewed last week, on New Year's Eve, to be exact, where my soon-to-be new boss, elaborated on the basic duties and what the position could grow into with 'just the right person' in place--a person who lived in Greenfield, who was creative, with some writing skills, who knew about the arts and what was going on in Greenfield.  I teared up a bit during the interview.  I had just told John that morning, that if I had to do it over again (and of course, knowing what I know now), I would not choose education, but would go into journalism.  I love to write.  I've been a journal-keeper, a letter-writer, a publicist for my theatre groups, and a blogger when inspired to do so, so I think I'm fairly decent at it.  And now, here it was, a chance to work in a newspaper office.  I was offered the job and 'sworn in' on the AP Stylebook.  I left smiling, and giggled all the way home.

I know what you're thinking, and believe me, I'm thinking it, too.  It will be interesting to measure the effect of  25 hours a week of real employment on the life I lead now.  I've been on a schedule of my own making for...what...six years now?   Yes, some things may have to change, will most definitely have to change.  I truly believe that everything works out the way it's supposed to, and how could I turn down this opportunity, this second chance to do something I think I will be good at AND enjoy?

I lead the luckiest life on the planet.