My daughter, the AngryWhiteGirl is seven years old. The biggest concern in her life is that she might get something for dinner that she does not like (like fish), and will be forced to eat it or go to bed immediately, without eating. Household money, or lack thereof, is not on her agenda. Neither are the pointless wars the country is involved in, the cost of gasoline, the overabundance of the tired, poor and huddled masses that enter the country illegally on a daily basis, or the broken healthcare system. She lives her life day to day, being a kid, making me laugh, annoying the cat and making sure that I am available to read to her at bedtime. Not a worry in the world.
I have been reflecting on this recently, and went back and thought about my tenure as a seven year old. 1968 was a turbulent year, with Vietnam, assassinations and decay of society. I realized that I, at that time, was oblivious to all that, as well, and my only concern was whether or not I would be home at 4:00 to watch Mr. Cartoon.
I began to lament on what the next ten years would be like for her. Is it getting worse, or is it the same shit that has been recycled from my childhood, just packaged in different forms?
My son, AwesomeWhiteBoy, was seven years old seven years ago. He was five when the when the fucking ghoulies crashed the planes, but at age seven, remembered everything he saw on the magic box in detail. It left him with intrepid fear that, at any moment, it could happen again, and has made him defensive, strong and on guard. He began martial arts at age seven and now possesses a black belt (3rd degree), and is bigger than most of the adults in his classes, regularly defeating them in demonstrations. But his view on the world is a negative one. Some of that came from the ambush, some of that comes from me. I’m not sure I have done things right there. But, things have not changed much from age seven to fourteen in the world, and it’s all he knows now. Will things stay the same for my daughter?
Have things been the same all along? In 1968, financial problems were about to break loose, creating early seventies “recessions”. Gas prices were going up, and there were gas shortages because of tensions in that litter box on the other side of the world. Vietnam was a daily bloodbath and soldiers were dying…for what? California, Arizona, Texas, and of course, New Mexico (the name just invites those seeking a better life) had their illegal problems, it just had not expanded North yet. The healthcare system…seemed like a respectable profession to be in at one point, began to be corrupted by doctors doing unscrupulous things.
So it appears that it’s all the same, whether it be now, seven years ago, or forty-three years ago, when I was seven. The fifties had the threat of the “Reds” pushing the button. The forties had the Big War, the thirties had the Great Depression. Same stuff- recycled packaging. Strangely, after processing all of this, I felt like my daughter will just survive it, like we all have. The future, always full of hope, but rarely comes to that fruition, is really exactly what it used to be.-The counterpoint of that great philosopher, Yogi Berra.
I didn’t like fish when I was seven either.
The Angry White Guy is Chris, a person I’ve known since… oh, I don’t know, pre-first grade? Something like that. He is the man responsible for the world famous Gargoyle Letters, and a million other crazy real-life stories I hope to re-post at the website soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this piece as much as I did. -Jeff