A couple days a week, I take Jesse out of school for two hours in the middle of the day so she can breath freely and regather herself, as she continues to push her way through the roadblocks erected by OCD. Today I took her to Whole Foods for lunch. As we noshed on our pizza and sushi, the TV in the eating area was running some talk show on Fox. I have no idea what it was called, but it was four makeup-clad women with pushed-up boobs blathering away with a great deal of energy. Thankfully, we couldn’t hear the audio, but subtitles were running.
Needless to say, in our Roku-based, ad-free, streaming world, my kids and I are almost never subjected to this sort of torture. Jesse stared unblinking at the screen for a while, and slowly her mouth stopped chewing. Then she turned to look at me, a little puzzled and incredulous.
“What are they doing?”
I didn’t quite know what to say. “Talking. It’s called a talk show.”
“What do they talk about?”
Uh… “Stuff. I dunno.”
Uh… “Because I guess people think it’s fun to listen to them talk about stuff.”
A numb silence descended on us for a moment. Jesse started eating again and watched the screen. “Who are they?”
Uh… “People who want to be famous.”
“Are they famous?”
“I don’t know. I guess so.”
I thought about it a moment. “What do you think would make a person famous, Jesse?”
My little monster/angel thought about it. “Maybe… a hero. Heroes should be famous.”
My heart started humming. I looked at my sweet thing. “What other kind of people do you think might get famous?”
“Someone who rescues animals and people.”
My heart started dancing. “Who else?”
“An inventor. Someone who invents amazing things. Like medicines that save people.”
Rainbows appeared and rays of sunlight shined on my soul. “Who else?”
“Someone who discovers a new species, now that would make you famous!”
I tried not to cry as my eyes gazed at the beautiful face of my child, my first-born, my mirror, no longer distracted by the garbage flowing through the television screen in my peripheral vision.
I couldn’t even voice my cynicism as I pondered how wrong she is about fame. I didn’t have the heart to tell her.
But she shouldn’t be wrong.
Let’s stop vilifying and glorifying the sick, psychotic, desperate people who revel in killing, taking, judging, condemning. Let’s stop worshiping at the altar of the weapons they use to do it. Let’s stop giving so much air time to people who want to be heard just because they want to be heard, but who don’t give a shit about the message they deliver. Let’s put alleged physical beauty where it belongs in the pantheon of things that matter. Like lower, much much lower on the scale of things.
Let’s find the heroes, the rescuers, the healers, the inventors, the seekers. Let’s celebrate them. Let’s fill the airwaves with 24-hour coverage about them and make them famous. Maybe our lost souls will look to them and find a better way out of the darkness. Maybe we can use the power of all that untapped goodness to start making some changes around here.