Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A DAMN

[An allegory or fable. Imagine breaking through the police line; imagine being interrogated by some nervous executives of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, or JPMorgan Chase, on some 42nd floor.]

Footsteps behind her back; expensively creaking bison-leather brogues. Men clad in aluminosilicate glass and stainless steel. Babbling in their tower.

How did she get here, all tied up in an Aeron chair with sickeningly blue Ethernet cables, and such breathtaking view? Deep below her: the corpse of the American Dream, bobbing on the currents of the East River.

This you must understand, they say.
(They flip through the pictures on her phone.)
Some of us work on the plantation.
Some of us own the plantation.
Face it, woman.
Facts are facts.
We own the plantation.

What better plan than telling the truth?

Let me read you from today?s headlines, she says. Zoo owner sets exotic animals free, kills himself.

(They are not moved. They do not understand.)

Here, she says, is what I want my son to know. (Not that I?m telling him; I want his life to teach him.)
One. You are your heart. You?re not your wallet. But open both to those in need.
Two. Money cannot be made. Making money does not generate wealth. But if you make conversation, if you make friends, if you make love, there is more laughter, more happiness, more goodness, more kindness, more caring in the world.
Three. For whoever?s sake, young man: Do give a damn.

Yeah, yeah, they say. Not how the world works, missy. We?ll get to him; we?ll teach him; we?ll tame him. (Face recognition software unleashed on photos of a three-year old.)

Outside the window, unabashed and soaring on the rising storm ? the sweetest tune, a thing with feathers, summoned and submitted to a candid land.

Four. Give a damn.

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