Friday, April 13, 2012

Are You lookin at ME?

I’m a big fan of paranoia, and I would be a lot more vocal about it if I weren’t afraid of being hauled off the street and thrown into a black van by burly thugs as I walked leisurely to Mr. Gower’s drug store for a sasparilla. 

I say this because paranoia has run in my family for generations and we’ve grown comfortable with it. True, I can’t sit with my back to a window because at age six my mother had me convinced that an errant bullet would come crashing through the window and cause my untimely death, but I’m okay with that. And you may not believe this but about twelve years ago, a bullet actually DID come through my window and nearly killed me. And no, it wasn’t my mother sitting in a sniper’s nest outside, trying to teach me a lesson.

The first time I realized just how paranoid I was occurred on November 22, 1963, the day that President Kennedy was shot. I remember lying in bed that night fearful, teary and certain that Lee Harvey Oswald had not acted alone, and the person who had really shot the President was not only still on the loose, but climbing up the side of my building with the sole intention of hiding out in my second floor bedroom.

Even now it creeps up behind me occasionally and taps me on the shoulder just to let me know it’s still around. Today for instance, I was checking the stats on this blog and saw that one person from Italy had read it. Right away I’m thinking, Jeez, I hope it wasn’t the Pope reading my Easter essay. He might be really pissed, send a cadre of secret Swiss Army guys to kidnap me, and take me back to Rome for a little “renouncement” of my heathen ways, if you know what I mean.  

Of course that is more than a bit egotistical, even for me. I doubt that the Pope reads this blog, right? I mean he has a lot more on his plate and is so backed up with work. Look how long it took him to forgive Galileo. Still, someone in Italy read it, so why not him? Naw...couldn’t be.

The good news about embracing and assimilating paranoia into my DNA is that finally ... FINALLY, the entire country is catching up with me. That means either three hundred and some odd million people are mentally ill, or I am a visionary!

Think about it. As a people we are convinced there is danger EVERYWHERE. Just look at any news source on a daily basis and you can see it. Here’s a partial list of just how paranoid we’ve become. For example, we live in dread fear of

1. Global warming
2. Homosexuals
3. Mexicans
4. Mexican homosexuals
5, Any Middle Eastern country that starts with the letter “I” or ends with “stan”
6. The Chinese
7. Guns
8. Conservatives
9. Liberals
10. Mexican Homosexual Liberals and Conservatives
11 The Government
12. Anyone who is religious
13. Mexican Homosexual Liberal Religious Conservative Atheists         
14. Fracking
15. The economy
16. The Mayans
17. The Muslims
18. The Mormons
19. The Mennonites
20. The Methodists

By the way, no one is really afraid of Mennonites or Methodists. I just went overboard on alliteration. The Mormons however, are a crafty bunch, and if you’re gay, try to stay on their good side. 

Things got so paranoid here in America that for a while, even breast milk was under suspicion for containing dangerous toxins. BREAST MILK for God’s sake! Next it’ll be exploding suicide puppies or terrorist cats connected with an international ring of felines know as Al-Cat-A

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
-          For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield, 1966

You were soooooooo right Buffalo Springfield. Paranoia does indeed strike deep. So much so, that over the last three to four generations we have become a frozen nation who are afraid to step out of the box  for fear that we might be labeled as a dangerous non-conformist. The onslaught of information that overloads us constantly is gnawing away at our individuality. We are gradually learning to march in lockstep with groups rather than skipping along merrily to our own tune.  And why? Because more and more, we are being told to fear this or hate that, or that this group is planning to hurt us, while the other group cries out and says the same things.

We’ve got to stop believing everything that a few people tell us, folks. Stop believing the news, the politicians, or the radio station that tells you what music you should like or dislike. Stop believing the Facebook crazies, the bloggers, including me, and start thinking for yourself. Read a book. Think. Form an opinion and stick with it based on what you know, not what people scream at you from a box in your living room.

I swear, if I didn’t know better, I’d think that all of this was some genius, Machiavellian plot to reconstruct society into a kowtowing group of sheep.  Of course, I can say   that because I’ve already admitted to being generationally imbued with paranoia. But you don’t have to. You can still think for yourself, can’t you?

Don’t be afraid to challenge convention. Today, right now, and from this day on, THINK before it’s too late. Or you may wake up one day and hear yourself say,

We better stop, hey, what's that sound
everybody look what's going down

That’s it. I’m done bitching. Everybody hug, everybody eat. Abbondanza!

No comments:

Post a Comment