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Vitamin A

Vitamin A.

Something tickled the back of my neck. A fleeting note of wrongness on the plane, a new window into some vast absurdity.
I closed Killer Angels and slowly turned my head to look for that absurdity over my left shoulder. An elderly woman, perhaps in her mid-seventies, sat in an aisle seat. She had not succumbed to the Old-Lady-Bob-Hair-Trend. Her hair hung long and limp across bone-sharp shoulders, and the sunlight from the portals discovered an ancient gleam of strawberry at the roots.
The object upon her dessicated lap inverted rightness.
The woman was hunched over a number 10 can of chopped spinach. The can had been raggedly opened; a serrated circle gleamed with green juice. While her toothless jaws repeatedly mashed together, dripping juice, she dug into the huge container with a wooden spoon.
A little boy sat in the seat next to her. He wore a blue cap that read: WILBUR. The top of his bewildered eyes had disappeared above the brim of the cap. He gradually tried to become both one-dimensional and transparent.
The woman caught me staring at her. She finished her mouthful and stabbed her spoon into the can.
She had rainbow eyes, somewhere over which mutant birds flew.
"Is there something here you see which makes you stop and think? Some curiosity?" She indicated the spinach. "I will not dry up in time! I will no longer dust the floor with my breasts!" She grinned at me, a green and leafy grin. "The creams don't work. This once worked for a cartoon sailor. Thought I'd try."

I have since learned that minding one's business is the core of wisdom.

The Day the Towers Fell

I wrote this on the evening of the terrible event.

September 11, 2001

"The Day the Towers Fell"

I was adjusting inventory for my brother's business when ---, the good-natured racist sot walked through my office, asking me if I was watching what happened. It was a little after nine am.
"Watching what," I asked him. I was busy and wishing that he wouldn't interrupt my concentration.
"They got us. They bombed us."
"Say what?"
"Check it out."
I didn't turn on the small television immediately. I prided myself on being immune to news, to all the media shit that floats in and out of our country every moment of the day. But the magnitude of his statement was just too much for me to ignore. I switched on the set and saw the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center smoking heavily from close to the top of the buildings. Right beside this image in a split screen was the Pentagon, smoking as well.
The newscasters jabbered away. Two planes had crashed into the Towers, and one into the Pentagon. Believed to be a terrorist act. Befuddlement settled over me at first. Disasters like this, offensive disasters projected from a foreign state don't happen on United States soil. Pearl Harbor was the last time our country was hit, but even that was safely hundreds of miles into the South Pacific, away from the mainland.
But this was New York City and Washington, D.C. D.C. carries the title of capital, where our leader resides. Although, John Lennon put it best, "The United States is the Roman Empire and NYC is Rome." The Towers of the World Trade Center are the pulse of our Economic Sovereignty.
As I thought this screams emanated from the television. With a rumbling, the South Tower collapsed. To see a building collapse is nothing new to any American privy to the movies. But I was watching it live, and I swiftly imagined the thousands of people within those Tower walls, all of whom oblivious to any kind of script or cut in action. The last moments of their lives tumbled with the behemoth. Before I could try to understand what had just happened that second of my life the North Tower fell. I think I blinked.
On the heels of my thoughts for the horde of lives just vanquished in a few leaps of a second-hand came a selfish,selfish thought.
There will be a war. And the war will take your brothers.
I pushed it away, but felt it lingering outside the perimeter of my thoughts.
There were others in the office with me, watching the news. A Palestinian terrorist group claimed responsibility for the tragedy. "Raghead," and "Sand Nigger" were bandied about. The words were said with both anger and glee, as if those expressions had always been boiling deep inside, and this terror had prompted and reconciled such responses. I remember one bold statement from within the office in particular: "Would any of you allow a stranger into your house? Then how come our country don't take up that policy? It's all because we're letting them in and the Democrats. The democrats are giving away our country!" The tirade shifted to the computer and how he thought it was the Beast of Revelation.
I am not refuting the anger. Anger was justified. Of course, I was just as angry at whoever had done the ferocious thing. But that anger must be directed at those responsible. We have too much history of casting blame where blame does not lie. As I listened to him I began to feel another layer of fear atop what I had just seen blanket me. I began to sense history creeping up on us again. The repetition of damaging history thrives within an environment of anger and ignorance. I thought of the recent German removal of Jews. I thought of the sequestering of Japanese-Americans after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Are we going to do it again? How many Americans of Middle-Eastern descent are going to find that their lives are changed tomorrow? How many bruises on children's faces? How many jobs lost?
Of the one who refuses strangers into his house I wanted to ask, How many generations can you count back to he who first came here? How was he received?
The Falling of the Towers is already too strong an anchor on our hearts. We must make sure to end the misery between our shores there, rather than fall prey to our anger and spread that misery within. Let's make sure those who planned the hijacking of the planes have the regrets. We don't need any more.