of Ridicule

September 9, 2010

The art of ridicule

They sneer. Subtle but so noticeable smirks in my direction. They carry their footballs everywhere, so to remind me, and carry their heads even higher in their aim to ridicule me.
They are the Ghanaian’s and I could sit and watch them play for hours.

If wanting to ignore or forget the conflict that is otherwise so obvious, one only need do just that.
You could, seeing the smiles, hearing the laughter, the good natured taunts and robust encouragements, pretend to be elsewhere. As if in any village or small town spanning the breadth of any third world nation or Continent of Europe, for that matter.

As in Iraq, there is a small force of Ghanaian’s. As in Iraq, having lost to them before, I am again subjected to footballs held out in mock contest with raised eyebrows “hmmm?”. Again, having my heed of defeat and the wonder of their triumph known, I am constantly assaulted with emphasised deft maneuvers of feet or head. Huge bright smiles and jeers mingled with genuine laughter.
I might find a different route to chow, hurry along a little used path to shower or avoid them by turning my head. But I won’t.
Not out of some ridiculous notion of pride or National representing but because it’s become a highlight. A moment of joviality in an otherwise barren landscape. It has me elsewhere.

When in Iraq, I noticed that any patch of dirt would do. Tanks or gunships flying or rumbling by, largely ignored by children. In dirt, contrasted by the bright colors of favorites team shirts. I always noticed their squeals of delight or protest, grunts of exertion, seemed to somehow drown out the squeals of rolling mechanical tracks or the thumping of blades. It seemed somehow they kicked up more dust as well. My imagination, I’m sure.

I’ve never been an ardent fan but aware. I have no team preference but tend to root for the team that will do the most to incite the loudest complaint from the bleachers (or blast walls). I am guilty, I confess, of using my position of approving compensation to incite even more complaint. “Oh…an Arsenal shirt!…back of the line” Next day…Manchester or Chelsea. Always able to garner whoops of approval or groans of disgust and certainly one or two, quickly turning a shirt inside out, to avoid a similar fate. Cowards.

Perhaps the U.S will rescue me the next time, from this horrible predicament.
It’s torture. Obviously.

of Fallout.

September 1, 2010

At first, I scrambled to discover what is was that I wrote that gave such grievous offense. Reading and re-reading, I thought that perhaps if someone was unfamiliar with my sarcasm, my penchant for points scored by illuminating the opposite and absurd, might come to a conclusion I’d not intended or hoped for.
In the end, I decided it must have been the accompanying photo. A parody, a ridiculous suggestion of the opposite of what I had wanted to convey.
It was, after all, what my Sister had pointed to in a vile and hateful email sent me. Railing the message and it’s unintended consequences.
It seems, it was not.
At first, I was mildly abashed. After some reflection, decided to remove the photo. I wrote my Mother and expressed regret at having given offense. Even though I was also shocked she might have ever perceived I held anything but love and admiration for such a wonderful Man.
I solicited input from friends. Thinking I should consider my inability to pursue in clarity, my love of words.
One, Alice, wrote and commented that my intent was clear to anyone that knew me. She pointed out that my Family obviously does not. She also acknowledged that she was indeed the inspiration for the post. Having told me a story about how her child had happened upon her “curling iron” and how she dealt with such a awkward moment.
Alice is a wonderful writer. One of my favorites. It seems though, she may well consider a different pursuit as well.
Another vile and hateful message. This one though, relieved me of any doubt to what had given such offense but, more importantly, any culpability in any misconstrued sentiment.
It seems, even though Alice was so clear, my Mother believes my “curling iron” analogy was directed at her. Horrifying.
It seems we can find offense and slights wherever we look, if we want to see them. Even if they obviously (Thank you Alice) don’t exist.
So it seems.