Our Reality Is Fragility

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Somehow I found myself in an argument over the phone on Wednesday evening with a member of the family in the States with whom I’ve argued vehemently quite a few times before. I had thought we’d by now put that sort of behavior behind us. Apparently, though, I’d “triggered” something in that individual and all hell broke loose from that side of the Atlantic.

The phone was slammed down on me. I can’t go into why and I really shouldn’t anyway. Suffice it to say we have all probably had something like that happen in our lives at some point or another.

I had already been feeling a bit under the weather – I’d had a mild headache. After being hung up on, I became so angry and stressed I felt myself getting physically ill. I wound up with that horrific migraine-like headache, finally dosing myself with painkillers for the first time at 1 AM, and tossed and turned much of the night.

With understanding and permission, I slept in on Thursday and, aside from a few tweets, stayed off the net and did no writing whatsoever.

Free Stock Photo: A group of superheroes in costume at Dragoncon 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Free Stock Photo: A group of superheroes in costume at Dragoncon 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.

It was a reminder. It doesn’t take much for us to feel healthy and reasonably together, but then all of a sudden we’re transformed into a barely functioning mess. We humans are fragile.

Our fragility is probably why so many of us are also perpetually drawn to ludicrous “kick-ass” entertainment and “bad-ass,” almost “bullet-proof” (sometimes even actually so), fantasy characters.

Screen capture of NPR web site, May 16, 2015.
Screen capture of NPR web site, May 16, 2015.

Playing “pretend” in spending some time escaping from our fragility and, indeed, mortality, is fine. Yet let’s never lose perspective. Asserting fantasy characters, be they men or women, can ever truly serve as serious standard bearers for human “strength” is preposterous.

Main reason: they’re fictional.

In stark contrast, for example, the real life young women and men of Kobani, in Kurdish Syria, who fought to save their town from Isis/Daesh: that’s true human strength. And we should also never forget some of them died horrible – and decidedly permanent – deaths in that fight. For them, there will be no, uh, “sequel”:

Screen capture of RFE/RL web site, May 16, 2015.
Screen capture of RFE/RL web site, May 16, 2015.

Regardless of how brave or strong we may be, of course it takes very little to finish any of us off. One slash with a knife can kill. So can a single gunshot. So can one good smack over the head.

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