of Duplicity.

August 8, 2010

The vast and dangerous wilderness

Granddad lied.
Both my Brother and I, at our most vulnerable, in his hands. To mold and ply as he wished. Hanging on his every word.
Leading us out to his garden, to that back of 48 The Oval, What then, seemed a vast and dangerous wilderness to a four year old, was in fact, a few meager rows of cabbage, rhubarb and… potatoes. Those potatoes.
In each of our hands a seed. At his direction, we carefully scratched out small divots of earth and gently placed in them our very own seed of potato. Mine, and my Brother, his. Amongst the many others, already planted. All under the watchful and paternal gaze of our trusted Grandfather.
“There now, some time and you’ll both be eating your own spuds”
Some time, as it turned out, was the very next day.
Again, at his direction, we ventured back into the garden and where he pointed, we dug. Reaping two mature and perfectly suited potatoes for that evenings fare. With immense pride and broad grins, presenting them to our Grandmother for preparation. Our Contribution, Nana.
Some butter, a smidgen of salt. A hint of toil and harvest, The best potato I’ve EVER eaten.
Consider, I was no more that four years old. That I have precious few memories of that time in my life and that this farce, this ruse, this premeditated act of deceit, this lie…this wonderful lie, was one.
Lie to me.
Fill me with tales of fairies and monsters. Of beanstalks and dragon slayers. Have me bite my knuckles in terror and brighten with delight. Lie to me and make me believe. Make up stories of little wooden puppets with schemes to become little boys of flesh and what might happen if I follow the wrong path.
Then…let me grow up. You might be surprised at how easily I figure it out. Sorting truth from fable. At some point knowing the truth about Santa but never letting go of the joy he brought. Looking forward to when I can go to such great lengths to deceive my own.
You might even have to protect me from the truth. Deciding for me, as a child, if I can handle the truth, understand it.
“Mommy…whats this?? ~bzzzzzz~” “Well Honey…I use that on my hair…to..curl it. Now let me have that and you stay out of Mommy’s things, like you’ve been told, okay?”
“Mommy…whats this?? ~bzzzzzz~” “Well Honey…I use that to pleasure myself with. Here, let me show you in this Sex manual that has pop-ups for children just your age”
This trend of always telling the truth to our children, for truths sake. Really?
Yea…Lie to me.

of Atonement.

August 8, 2010


Recently I bought a new backpack. This, because it is important to me to be in a position to scorn all the Americans abroad that would opt to display the flag of another Country on their own backpacks. Either out of embarrassment or in hopes of avoiding having to represent or defend.
That they would go to such measures, is in some way, a declaration of responsibility on their part for that which they would avoid having to explain.
That, or they are just fucking pussies.
I am in no way a supporter of the current policies or paths my Country now embarks. Domestically or abroad.
What I am though, is responsible for them.
I am an American. I am wholly responsible for it’s actions. The system in place allows for dissent and redress. If so offended, I might, by the rights allowed me, take steps to institute change. If, by doing nothing, the offenses or offenders remain, I am as responsible as if I’d authored them myself.
This nationalist streak in me is, at times, confounding. In the end, I chalk it up to nature. As a social animal (with latent island tendencies) I am part of a pack. Alpha or Omega, I am a participant.
What I am not…is sorry.
There are no apologies forthcoming. Not from me.
Not for today, but more importantly, yesterday. If responsible for the deeds of my Nation today, certainly not for those before, that I played no part, had no influence, or cannot change.
Perhaps, were I to allow or promote a sequel to the many, and often horrible, missteps of my fore-Fathers, having ignored history, an apology might be warranted.
Even then though…
The Turks need apologise to the Armenians. The Japanese for Nanking. The Germans for Hitler. The Holy See to Islam. The Romans to western civilization?
For what purpose? To what end?
My Grandfather perished in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Should I insist they find and march their distant offspring, before me, prostrate in contrition?? Will that spur me in turn to find and apologise to some decedent of an American atrocity?
I wish my Grandfather had survived. I wish I had been able to know him but no apology from some unwitting, non-participant, can make it so or have the least effect. If that we could sit together and observe, taking heed, “You know those things…that they did…let’s not do those. OK?.”
That might have some affect.

As a small boy, eating with my family in a cafeteria on base, I watched my Father get up from the table, without a word, and grimly walk over to a young Airman that, as it turns out, had an American flag stitched on the seat of his jeans. My Father lifted the young Airman from his seat and with little fanfare but some protest, repaired to the restroom. A few moments later my Father emerged with the offending patch in his hand and again sat to finish his meal. The Airman was nowhere to be seen. My Mother horrified, my Brother and I, in giggles (promptly hushed).
If I spy you, in some small cafe, replete in all your “American summering in Europe” regalia, with a Canadian patch on your backpack. You might expect the same.