What does the birth of Baby Jesus mean to us three years into the new millennium? I had my own Carrie Bradshaw moment this holiday season, (if Carrie spent her holidays in suburban South Texas and wasn't a vapid, shoe whore). I've been wondering: Was Jesus a schizo? Was Mary the most gifted liar in the history of knocked up teenagers? And is all of this the reason we feel justified in bombing the shit out of Iraq?
While Christmasing at a good friend's home this past Saturday, I glanced over at the trash can sitting in the corner of the kitchen. We'd just finished a fine meal of epic proportions. My belly was full, as was my heart. That's when I saw it--the newspaper--sitting on top of the trash, hardly unfolded. "20,000 feared dead in Iranian earthquake", read the front page headline. I'd heard something about an earthquake on CNN the day before, but I was busy with, well, Christmas, so I ignored it. I hadn't heard how extensive the damage was. But now, there it was in black and white. And on the front page, too. I picked up the paper and began to read.
The chatter around me fell into a slow motion roar as I was sucked in by the facts about this natural disaster. I don't normally like to think this way, but I can't help but feel like it's another sign that the world is coming to an end. At least, our little American world that's so politically apathetic, each gubernatorial race has to come up with it's own Entertainment Tonight-able candidates to get the voters' attention.
And as my host handed me a beer and beckoned me to join the others in the living room in a game of Trivial Pursuit, I wondered if we, as Americans, aren't playing a trivial pursuit of sorts with most of our lives. Totally insulated from the rest of the world. Fat and happy.
The next afternoon, my mother finally noticed the story in the paper--a good two days after the quake happened. She announced it to the entire house. Everyone in my family was shocked and dismayed. "It's been on the front page of the newspaper for two days," I said. "We haven't been reading the paper," was their reply. Even my father, the newspaper junkie, had taken a holiday. And about two seconds later, when lunch was served, our attention turned to more immediate matters.
What does it mean when the world grinds to a halt for 3,000 dead Americans, but can't be bothered to interrupt its highest Christian holiday for tens of thousands of dead Iranians? And what does it help for me to post this soap box rant on the internet? I should get out there and do something. But I've got to return some gifts at the mall and meet some friends for lunch. After that, I have an appointment for a massage--a gift from a friend who had a very good year.
I'll just have to worry about it later.