Daniel (Danny) Lance Wright, Author

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Proud Participant

Father to adult son: “When you get home I’ll have a trophy waiting for you with “Participant” engraved on it.”

This was a line from a television show last week and intended to be funny. It was. I laughed out loud. But, it also has been circling my thoughts since. Allow me to explain what led to that comment in the program. A girl leaves her boyfriend because he never does anything. He counters by telling her that he most certainly does; he buys very expensive tickets to watch his favorite baseball team at least once every week during the season. She, in the end, put the brakes on his argument when she said, “Exactly. You spend your time watching life lived, not participating.”

After a short time, the humor vanished. It, in my mind, became a valid indictment of our culture. This is nothing new though. We can watch any newscast, read any newspaper and see at least one article or hear one story concerning obesity in America and the number of hours spent with television, electronic games, the internet and many other diversions, some absolutely mind-numbing. It’s just that it’s the first time I’ve devoted a few of my remaining active brain cells to the subject.

In no way can I sit in judgment of anyone in this discussion. I love movies and I love reading. I’ll watch a fair share of televised sporting events, hours of standard television fare plus numerous news broadcasts. And, let’s not forget the internet and wonderful social networking at sites like Facebook; ergo, the few remaining active brain cells comment. The point is; this is all sideline stuff, viewing life from the comfort of a chair, not living it—a fat fostering feeble fun-fest, so to speak. I don’t think I want to calculate the hours each week spent observing life lived by someone else. I might cry. And, that would put a damaging dent in my declining and jealously guarded machismo.

I think I’ll take a leap, a short one I believe, and tie in the dumbing down of America in this billowing scenario. We have all seen very recent examples of, so-called, leaders in Washington and wannabe leaders who get confused on what the constitution actually says or know American history very well. Do you suppose these people were raised on a steady diet of allowing someone else to think for them while eating potato chips and watching life lived elsewhere? I think so.

With each new age come challenges to be met and overcome. Could it be that the era in which we now live has provided us with too many conveniences, too much contradictory information, too many sources that occupy the mind but never challenge it? I think so.

The first step, I believe, in correcting this is a tiny one indeed, but important; make a point to approach someone today you don’t know. Shake their hand. Introduce yourself. Get to know someone new and find out about them; not because you have to for business reasons but because you want to. And, I don’t mean in a text, email, phone call or any other modern detached way. I’m talking old school, face to face. These days, it may actually seem like a new approach, a novel new way to learn about the world around us.

Before becoming housebound due to age-related problems, my eighty-seven-year-old father used to make daily trips to have coffee. It really didn’t matter where as long as it was in public. It had little to do with the drink and everything to do with participating in life. He would talk to anyone on any subject. In this way, he developed healthy opinions on living, politics and many other subjects. I’ve noticed that since he is at home all the time now that his opinions reflect that and are no longer his own but parroted from favorite news shows. I think his case is a microcosm of the greater problem today.

Am I shouting down televised news shows? No. I’m advocating balance. Do we really have healthy ways of forming opinions these days; or do we adopt others’ opinions and we really have no logical basis for believing what we do and could not explain a stand if called to do so? Is it possible that we just hear something ad nauseam from well-paid opinion editors, religious leaders, etc., until it becomes truth? I think so.

Does this mean that I’m giving up reading, watching movies and television, using the internet and all those other wonderful ways to be entertained and get information? Nope. I just need to get out amongst them more often. I’ll have to make a daily thing of it. After a time, maybe someone will present me with a trophy that is engraved with “Participant” on it.

Daniel (Danny) Lance Wright
Author of
"Paradise Flawed"/Dream Books LLC/2009
"Six Years' Worth"/Father's Press/2007
"Where Are You, Anne Bonny?"/Rogue Phoenix Press 2010/ ebook available
“Trouble”, short story/CrossTIME Science Fiction Anthology, Vol. IX
“Dancing Away”/short story/Untreed Reads
Coming Soon
“Defining Family”
“Annie’s World: Jake’s Legacy”
“The Last Radiant Heart” (re-release)
“Helping Hand for Ethan”
“Hackberry Corners, Texas 1934
"The Lost Decades"

No comments:

Post a Comment