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JWR 3.11- 1 Year
(For Amy, the best friend Iíve never met.)
I see the shining exoskeletons of steel with the reflective glass tattered up and down every side a thousand feet high. I remember standing there, at the base of one of those hulking, ridiculously tall buildings, and looking straight up as vertigo washed over me. When I see them now, there is still the steel and the glass, a silvery-grey dance one hundred and ten stories to Heaven but then there is the inevitable locust-like swarm of black, billowy smoke, thousands of two-dimensional birds of paperwork dancing in the air, and sun-red fire from those planes. Those fucking planes. Has anybody said that yet?
Those fucking planes.
Weíre going to continue to be bombarded over the next couple days with sentimental, sappy stories of loss and pain and then honor and hope. I say, we donít need it. It wasnít that long ago. We all remember. But still, we rushed to memorialize and commemorate every single story involved in this. We are victims of our own shame.
We donít know enough about history so we try to categorize every drop of information so we wonít be able to say, one hundred or a thousand years from now, ďWhat really happened?Ē
I will tell you a secret Iíve come to realize. I wasnít sure why I felt sad and hurt, felt simple pain after what happened. It wasnít all the people that died. I donít care about that. All the stories of the people that died and all the widows and fatherless children donít get to me. I can admire and wholly respect the men and women who did heroic things. The passengers on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania are the most heroic people I can think of. I will go so far as to call them bad motherfuckers. But I didnít know anyone who died, thankfully. You know I donít care about that stuff.
You know that I do feel for those that did lose someone. But my emotions from that day come from my own selfishness and the initial indifference of others.
I came home from lunch and watched the TV and saw what really happened for the first time. Later I spoke to a friend who simply didnít care. I think of the blank and horrified faces of everybody but one person and it makes me sick. He deserved to be slapped.
But then I realize that I thought things would change and that saddened me and frustrated me. I didnít want things to change.
Things havenít really. Those fucking planes were for nothing. They accomplished nothing. Sometimes I think of a man who travels for hours to do one specific task, but then he is stopped before he can complete that task and the futility of it all, the preparation and the voyage and the time, but it was all for nothing. Itís just so depressing. Those planes caused a lot of damage, hurt a lot of people, but didnít change anything.
Let our military do their thing. Let them finish their business in Afghanistan. Let them go to Iraq and give Saddam the butt fucking he deserves. And, guess what, even if he doesnít deserve it, do it anyway. No questions, if it looks and sounds like a duck, kill and eat the fucker.
What happened deserves itís memorial. It deserves a remembrance from every man and woman, but in their own way. Stop pushing for a memorial now and let it come in due time. Pearl Harbor didnít get itís memorial until more than a decade afterwards. World War IIís memorial is still on the way. Give a little time for perspective.
Itís been a full year. Weíve all gone on and weíve all had experiences that do not relate to the aptly named 9-11 at all. Listen, if people can still walk around and shoot other people out of the blue, bring your attention a year ahead, to the present and focus on something that matters now. Thereís pain out there that has nothing to do with 9-11. There are people out there that are in pain that have never been to the beautiful, majestic World Trade Center buildings or the stoic, powerful Pentagon. There are awful things that occur to people, in front of people that have no bearing whatsoever on 9-11.
We are not perfect. We make mistakes. We hurt each other and donít talk enough. At times I think those men who say the world is a despicable, awful place are right, that they have a point. But I know they are wrong. I have faith that life and this world exists as six billion individual people interacting with each other and a constantly changing environment.
The attacks hurt a place in me that I canít reach. Itís so deep and seemingly unreachable. Itís the spot where pride comes from. This is America and even though most of the rest of the world hates our pop culture oriented, Capitalistic, self-centered, asinine culture, THIS IS AMERICA: WHO GIVES A SHIT WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS?
With all due respect, who cares what the French think? Who cares why North Korea hates us? Who cares why Canada feels like we donít respect them? America serves a very important purpose: we lead the world, and do a fine job of it. Yes, the British and Canadians and even the French are with us in our fights. The Canadians contribute an amount of support that outweighs others nations based on their size. But...they are not America. None of them. We are gunned for, duh. When youíre in front, you get hit first. We know it. We hate it, but we have to deal with it because we want to be out front. Our choice; our duty.
Iím just some guy on an iMac in a basement with Fear Factor on in the background. I affect nothing. I know the way I would like the world to be. I know the way some things should change. I canít do it. Even the things I could change, I canít force myself to.
Let this be just one more unimportant editorial amongst the thousands of others, people who talk about the way things should be, what you should do, how you should feel. I donít want to do any of that. Feel how you want, watch as much on the attacks as you want, hold who you want, talk about what you want, cry as much as you want.
I wonít say there will not be another attack. I hope there will not be. If there is, my only hope is as follows: enough of this happy horseshit concerning everyoneís feelings. Letís get in there and stop all of this at the sources. Period.
God love us all. Know that I do, too. Out of touch, out of sight, out of mind. All we have are memories of what we were.
P.S.: For the next several weeks (one pre-determined week aside) I am going to be using the Ramblings to feature what was my college thesis, a piece of fiction, slightly modified from its original state. I hope itís enjoyed on some level.
Copyright © 2002 John Lemut