Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I grew up poor (for the most part), underprivileged, probably underfed. That last one was mostly by choice. You'd elect not to eat if the only option was government cheese too. The schools I went to were in bad areas and underfunded. I was in 9th grade before I even knew what a cappuccino machine looked like. In America. Can you even imagine?
Plus, this was the era of the Moral Majority where all the bright lights of religious citizenship (Falwell, Swaggart, Bakker) told me day in and day out that to be good was to be godly and for three easy installments of $149.99, I too could go to heaven.
Poor, undereducated, surrounded by zealotry... how did I not become a suicide bomber?
I think the first problem was that the religious education I was suppoed to be getting was coming through the television. We didn't have cable, but still, there were the seven broadcast channels (and several UHF ones) to choose from. Like the short-sighted 8-year-old I was, I opted far too often for cartoons over Jesus. Too much He-Man, not enough PTL. And there's no way He-Man is going to turn you into a suicide bomber. Confused about your burgeoning sexual identity maybe, but not a suicide bomber.
Also, being a poor kid in America isn't really so bad if you don't know what the alternative is. Eating lots of ramen sounds like a sad way to grow up, but when you're a kid, you get to boil water and then drop a brick of undulating dried noodles into it, then watch it disintigrate into wormy chicken-flavored goodness. Sure, you'd get rickets every once in a while, but didn't all kids? I had no idea. The only thing more fun than ramen are metal leg braces. Why would you want to blow yourself up if you're already half way to being bionic?
No, there just isn't any scenario I can fashion that makes the suicide bomber thought matrix accessbile. Maybe there would be 72 virgins waiting for me on the other side, but honestly, I'd be a little more preoccupied with the blast concussion, the fireball and the Pops-shrapnel I'd have to become in the transition.
Being completely honest with myself, I just don't know if a suicide bombing would even be logistically feasible for someone like me. I'm not that detail-oriented. I'd end up the most half-assed suicide bomber there ever was. I'd be like those dudes who tried to blow up the US embassy in Syria. You shave off all your body hair, you put passages from the Koran in your pocket, you make the suicide video tape with the AK-47 and the fetching green bandana, strap detonators to gas cans, drive up and... did you bring the detonator trigger? I thought YOU were bringing the detonator trigger. No, I brought the map and the beef jerky. So what, do you want to just rush the compound with these guns? We can't do that, we'd be killed. Ahahaha, very funny. OK, let's go.
I barely have the heart to point out that they were a day late.
Do you still get into paradise if you don't take out any infidels? See, these are the kinds of questions that would pre-occupy me to the point of preclusion. Well, that and the fact that I'm Catholic.
In the president's speech yesterday, he did go out of his way to say that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. But then the whole point of his speech was about the war in Iraq. And he gave it on 9/11. Mixed message? I wonder if he even thinks so...
If you ever get confused, just do what I do and look at the following:
I'd never make it as a suicide bomber, but my head explodes just a little bit every time I watch that.
OK, enough with the explodey-death. Tomorrow's post will be 9/11-free. Maybe something about pastry.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.11