Sunday, February 02, 2003

I remember the first time the space shuttle exploded in mid-air, I would've been about 25 years old. I suppose it was sad, although to be honest it had little impact on me. Some ten years later, I overheard some college students talking with each other about the event, which was seminal for them, not unlike the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy for people who are half a generation older than I am.

In my life, there are no seminal events like that. I remember all kinds of things - not being able to go into Detroit for a fieldtrip to Greenfield Village in 1968 because there were riots on account of Martin Luther King, Jr. having been murdered; riding back from a trip to Iowa to see my grandparents in 1969 and looking up at the moon and knowing there were men up there; Nixon resigning on television in 1975 (I still can't believe that he came a long way toward rehabilitating his image before he died); walking out of a linguistics class in 1981 in Urbana, Illinois and learning that Reagan had been shot and worrying that George Bush would be an even worse president (how innocent we were!).

But none of these events seem to have touched me, or changed me, or been imprinted indelibly either wonderfully or horribly onto my memory. I'm left cold by them, and it makes me cringe a bit to hear the latest victims of the shuttle accident described as heroes: A hero is, in the simplest terms, someone who risks his or her life to save someone elses'. Dramatic destruction so easily elicits hyperbole.

Am I a cold heartless bastard?

The Swedish phrase for the day is allt eller inget. It means all or nothing.

by Francis S.

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