Friday, May 6, 2011

The Drip, Drip, Drip of the News - Something Happened Pt. 2

Every day it's the same thing in the semi-darkness
just before dawn. Touch, but don't look.
I must save another newspaper for the day I "awake."
Each morning, as I go outside to retrieve the newspaper, I approach the rolled tube lying on the sidewalk with extreme care.

I usually get up at 5:30 a.m. and it's still dark, yet there is the porch light. This provides enough illumination to make it possible to see through the transparent plastic protective sleeve of the newspaper.

Without making out any of the specific words, I can sense that the headline on the front page has been an impressively large font size most every day this week.

Today I want to read. I want to find out what the world is, in effect, shouting about. Can't I "wake up" for just a minute or so? I swear after that I'll go back to being Van Winkled...

Then I remember my fresh vow.

My Recent Failures
In light of some recent news leaks that reminded me of the flawed nature of this project, I've decided to crank down on the news faucet. It wasn't that it was gushing. It was that I had allowed it to drip and dampen my potentially pristine ignorance.

Drip, drip, drip...little pieces of news were slipping into my life.

Here are three  items that have happened in the past few weeks that I'm not supposed to know about and how I came to come in contact with the "drips."

Could a birth certificate really be big news?
1 - President Obama "released" his birth certificate:
I learned this because one of the newspapers I'm stacking in the garage for future reference (after Sept. 11) was turned the wrong way and I glimpsed the main headline.

It only takes a second for a few key printed words to register in the brain.

Of course, this particular headline raises many questions that I assume readers know the answer to, but I don't...

How is it more than halfway into his presidency people are still talking about whether Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen? What was released that wasn't released before? Why was it held back? Are the naysayers satisfied? Or has doubt gone mainstream? Is this a big news story or is it a sideshow circus?

2 - A tornado or tornadoes did major damage to Tuscaloosa, Alabama:
I know this because I was speaking to the woman who comes to clean our house. We were talking about the hail storm right here in our own town occurred on Easter afternoon. This was perfectly permissible because it's first-person local news, which is not banned by the Van Winkle Project.

But then she started telling me about her sister in Alabama and about the power plant that was destroyed and that there was no electricity for a huge swath of the state and that the president was headed there today...I couldn't stop her or stop my ears.

3 - There seems to have been a thing people call a "Royal Wedding":
Well, how was I not going to know that? For weeks there were pictures on magazines at the grocery store check-out lines. I had to assume some of them were not Global Lying Star inventions, but true. William really does love Kate! And, there was the main source of this unwanted information: people were talking about it.

And the bride wore what? I have no idea.
It should be noted that Americans sometimes have a conflict about the Brits. Should we really care about what their royals are up to?

So the conversation became, "Are you going to get up in the middle of the night to watch this wedding or do you think the whole royalty thing is a farce? I mean, the country is actually run by a parliament and the prime minister and what goes on at Buckingham Palace is sort of like the world's most expensive reality TV show that the rest of their nation pays the bill for."

That's the critique, but don't misunderstand (especially if you're from the U.K.). I'm sure England is a lovely country. It's just that between the Atlantic and Pacific shores of the U.S. some people (not all) seem to still hang on to their King George III hangover.

Know Any Good Plumbers?
The point of this post is that the news faucet continues to drip into my life. However, so far (knock on wood) it has never turned into a flood. I'm only slightly dampened (to keep pressing the metaphor to the point of screeching) with the minimal amount of knowledge. Apparently, I'm not good at this kind of "plumbing," so I have no certainty that I can ever shut it off completely.

I have to say it's much worse to know just a little than to know nothing. Even knowing that on May 1 "something major happened" destroys a chance at "blissful" ignorance.

I know, but I don't really know. And with incomplete knowledge lies the potential for worry and concern. Fear, even. What is waiting out there in the darkness? - V.W.


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