This is a first for me on my blog. Normally I would take an article like the one I’m about to show you and use it as inspiration for my own thoughts, which I would then write about here. In this case, there’s no possible way I could write a better article than David Niose has on what I believe to be the very heart of much of what is wrong in the world today.
Now, having just read those words, please don’t tune out. I know many of you want to only expose yourself to happy, positive thoughts, (not that this article is necessarily negative) but I believe this article is so profound and important that it should be read by everyone. I believe this so much so that I’m reposting it here.
The intended audience is the American public, but I think this relates to just about everyone, everywhere. Anti-inellectualism and lack of critical thinking is pervasive in nearly all cultures and societies globally and is really at the root of much of our human dysfunction. Please feel free to share this with others.
[Continued from Part 6]
Casey drifted in and out of sleep. Her IV kept her hydrated. The medications kept her calm and drowsy. She no longer cared about remaining conscious. At one point she awoke to find that both legs were gone and her left arm was missing as well. She was in another room now. Room 432 it said on the plaque by the door. She expected this must be somewhere in the “psych ward” of the hospital. Nurses buzzed in and out like bees. She ate but did not taste food. Her consciousness seemed to blur and time melted into something unrecognizable. What woke her was the sound of music. A nurse was standing next to her changing her IV bag. From across the room Casey heard a familiar tune.
“Ding dong the Witch is dead, the wicked old Witch is dead…”
It took Casey a moment to realize through the fog in her mind what it was. Suddenly she was awake. Her mind was clear. That song was the ringtone she had for her mother. It meant that her mother was calling her. She looked at the nurse and almost shouted “My phone! Can you grab my phone please?”
The nurse looked at Casey for a moment and then turned and walked to a small upright closet. She opened the door and the music got louder. She reached down into the closet and hauled out a phone that was blaring the popular song from “The Wizard of Oz”. The nurse slid her finger across the bottom of the screen and put the phone to her ear.
[Continued from Part 5]
Casey could feel the chemicals in her body doing their job. She felt light and cozy and there was a tug in her mind that pulled her towards the sweet embrace of sleep. She needed a distraction, something to keep her mind engaged. Turning to the nurse in the room, she asked politely, “May I have my purse, please?”
“Why do you want your purse?” the nurse asked, raising her eyebrow just a bit.
“Oh, I want to make a phone call. My brother is flying in to see me this morning and I wanted to see if he’s boarded his plane yet,” answered Casey.
“Yeah, I guess that’s ok,” said the nurse as she reached for the purse that lay on the counter across from Casey. Rather than handing her the entire purse, the nurse rummaged through the inside and pulled out Casey’s phone.
“Here you go,” she said with a touch of softness in her voice.
“Thanks,” said Casey smiling at her.
[Continued from Part 4]
Casey was still irritated with Megan. She hadn’t heard from her friend and Casey was tempted to call her and ask her why she never showed up. If Megan had hooked up with a guy, she was probably dead to the world at this point and would never hear her phone, so Casey decided to wait a few hours.
Her eyelids fluttered. She felt drowsy. There was a sleepiness that was slowly overtaking her, which she attempted to resist. It was silly of course, but every time she had slept in the past twelve hours or so she had awakened to find another piece of herself missing. She had a hard time shaking the idea that she must not fall asleep. Fighting sleep however, proved to be difficult and eventually she succumbed and her eyelids closed. It seemed like only moments had passed when a nurse was gently shaking her.
“Casey. Casey wake up. The doctor is here to see you,” a nurse whose name Casey had forgotten said as she shook Casey’s shoulder.
Casey looked up and a man in his late 40’s with dark hair streaked with gray and a chin covered in stubble smiled at her. He reached out and extended his hand. Casey took it and it felt warm.
[Continued from Part 3]
Casey awoke feeling the need to urinate. She sat up feeling groggy. Grabbing her phone on the coffee table she saw the time was 3:21 a.m.
“What the…?” Casey thought still trying to chase the cobwebs from her mind. Megan should have been here hours ago. She checked her text messages to see if Megan had contacted her since she fell asleep. There was nothing new nor did she have any missed calls.
“Why are people getting so flaky with me all of a sudden?” she wondered. She texted Megan and asked her where she was. “Knowing Megan,” Casey thought, “she may have gone home with Mr. Dark Hair”. Casey hated to think that, but Megan was not always the most reliable person she new.
Casey felt pressure from her bladder and recalled that she never peed earlier and now she had to really go. She grabbed the comforter with her right hand and flung it off of her so she could stand and hop to the bathroom. Once free of the comforter, she leaned forward to grab the coffee table to use as leverage to help her stand. As she shifted her body forward, she once again felt that unusual feeling of a loss of balance. As before, she felt even more off balance than the last time she attempted to stand. She looked down at her left leg in the dim light emanating from the kitchen. It took her a moment to realize with horror that her entire left leg was gone. She pressed both hands down where her thigh should have been and it met only the resistance from the sofa cushion.
[Continued from Part 2]
Casey fought through a gray haze to bring herself back to consciousness. It took her a minute to realize where she was and how she ended up there. She slowly began to pick herself up, placing one hand on the coffee table to her right and the other hand on the sofa to her left. Sitting back down on the sofa gently, she put her hand up to her temple. There was no blood, but it hurt. She must have hit her head pretty hard.
Casey wondered what time it was. Surely Alyssa should have been here by now. She wondered if Alyssa had showed up and knocked on her door and when she didn’t receive an answer, called Casey back. Casey reached for her phone on the coffee table. As she did so, she felt oddly off-balance. More than she had earlier. Her left leg felt strange. She looked down and her pajama bottom covering her left leg was flat at the knee, as though there was nothing that extended past it. Casey’s heart began racing. She reached for her lower leg but all she grabbed was loose fabric from her pajamas.
“What? No!” she screamed.
[Continued from Part 1]
Around 4 p.m. Casey picked up the remote for her television and turned the TV off. She’d already watched two movies (a horror film and a comedy, in that order) and downed a quart of ice cream. How she maintained her figure doing things like that were beyond her. Feeling drowsy, she decided to crawl back into her cozy bed and take a short nap. After that she might actually try to do something productive.
When Casey awoke, her bedroom was darker. Not completely dark of course, as the last dying rays of sunlight were trying desperately to get in to her room, but dark enough that Casey realized that she’d been asleep for several hours.
“Great,” she thought. “Pretty much wasted this day.”
[Authors note: I’ve mentioned before that I don’t write a great deal of short fiction and I’m trying to get in some practice, so I’m posting a short story I wrote recently. Due to the length, I’ll be posting it in seven parts, one part each day starting today. Please let me know if you enjoy it. Thank you.]
“I’m walkin’ on sunshine! Whaooo”
Katrina and the Waves broke through Casey’s dream and dragged her back into the world she did not want to enter. It was a world of light and noise; a world of responsibility, expectations and disappointment. She squinted as the morning light found small holes in her bedroom window drapes and hit her rudely in the face.
“…walkin’ on sunshine…”
“Ok, ok, Goddamn it,” Casey said aloud as she reached for her cell phone, which was lying on her nightstand next to her. She knew from the ringtone that it was her friend Megan.
Stephen King, the famous horror author once told me “Chris, you’ve got a lot of talent and some great ideas. But you lack discipline. You’ve got to get those ideas out of your head and onto the paper. Dig deep into your soul and rip out the guts of your inner self and fling it around for the whole world to see. If you do that, you’ll be successful. I promise.”
Ok, that may not be EXACTLY what he said. It was more like, “Yeah, can I have a pack of Marlboro Mediums, please?” (He used to come into the convenience store where I worked years ago) But this was my idol, Stephen King… talking to me! I knew what he really meant. And now here I am, years later taking his advice (sort of).
Turn around and take another route
I really like Will Smith. If he’s in a movie, I’m probably going to watch it. And even if the movie is bad, I may still enjoy it just because he’s in it. This is true of the movie After Earth. It didn’t do well at the box office and it was not received well by critics. But I don’t care. I enjoyed it and the honest way it dealt with an important theme: conquering fear.