Evie was called forward in the assembly and the principal announced that she was the winner of the essay contest. Many of her peers looked on jealously as she was handed the certificate and the £30 voucher.
“Evie,” Mrs. Baxter said. “Your essay was unique, and was a breath of fresh air for all of us judges. Many of your competitors seemed to follow the same line of argument, and there was a surprising similarity even in much of their wording. How did you manage to write something so original?”
“Well, I um, I made it a point to not use Wikipedia at all, and in fact, once I started following that rule, I decided to avoid using the internet at all.”
“But, how could you possibly have managed gathering all of that clever information without the web?” the principal asked in astonishment.
“Well, after school one day, I missed the bus. So I had to wait for my mum. She said to meet her by the side exit, so I went down a hall that doesn’t get used much and I found a really weird room that no one seemed to know about. It was all full of books and stuff, so I had a peek. Before I knew it my mum was ringing me, asking why I hadn’t come out yet. I told here I was reading an actual book. Soon the “Library” became my favourite place in the school, and no one ever bothered me there. I used the books to research my essay.”
“How novel,” Mrs. Baxter said. She then turned to the deputy head and whispered, “Did you know we still had a library?” Mr Turner just shrugged.
It was a labour worthy of Hercules. Flynn had hardly slept the night before owing to his awareness of the task that was before. Now the time had come and he would have to pull together every ounce of courage as he was about to enter into the unknown. This was not just the stretching of his comfort zone, but a true unheaval of the established order.
“All you need to do is go in and get it.” The words reverberated through his very being.
He took a deep breath and proceeded into the precincts of the charity shop and approached the counter.
“Do you – do you have a red scarf with dragonflies?” he asked. “My Gran said she thought she saw one here.”
“If we do it will be along the back wall,” the middle-aged volunteer said.
Flynn took another breath before setting out past the mismatched dishes, shapeless cardigans, and the ever present mustiness of the air.
There it was the scarf of his quest. He snatched it from the rack and hurriedly returned to the till.
“That will be two pounds,” the volunteer said kindly.
Flynn whipped out his phone to pay.
“Sorry we only take cash,” the volunteer said.
Cash? Flynn though, beginning to panic. Who uses cash?
Unwilling to be defeated he said that he would be right back and made his way to the ATM.
Flustered but not defeated, he returned and made the purchase.
In so doing Flynn had overcome the most extreme test yet to be encountered by a Gen Z. Little did he know that his greatest labour was yet to come when he would have to do battle with Gran’s rotary phone.
There is a major online real estate company in the UK that is currently running an ad on radio which I find disturbing. In this commercial an empty nest couple are discussing the kids having left, but their rooms and childhood belongings remain in place for their eventual visits. It is then that there is a message ringtone and they shift their stance and say “after all its only a bunch of old junk.” The indication is that they just saw how much money they could make by selling their home. What makes it worse in my view is the company spokesperson then over dubs saying that said company “knows the real value of your home.”
Of your home? Of your house maybe, the harsh impersonal sale price of the bricks and mortar, but the property in and of itself is not what makes a home! Home is an intangible full of relationships, emotions, and memories. A house might be only a house, but a home is so much more.
We are bombarded by such messages. Advertising and “social influencers” strive to indoctrinate us into the lie of image. Life, however, isn’t about the number of your followers. It isn’t about sexualising our toddlers with “mini make-up” and “sexy clothes.” Yes, the stuff is for sale online, not to mention preteen pageants and the like. Films and game have gratuitous sex and violence, and television is awash with swearing – all in the name of ratings and advertising revenue.
We as a society have gotten so tied up in “what’s in it for me,” and the “bottom lines,” that we are beginning to miss the real values of life. Even our “altruistic” politicing is often reduced to the image we produce. It isn’t, if we are honest, always about social justice, but rather that WE seem to be champions of the cause. Worse still these are fluid. Global warming is eclipsed by race relations, that is eclipsed by gender politics, that is eclipsed . . . .
I am not saying that all well meaning people are just going through the motions, most probably aren’t, but when our own reputations, wealth, etc., dictate our “bottom lines” we need to pause and take stock. Just like the message in the real estate ad. Have we missed something when “home” just means a house, or justice means just making some noise about something?
Others will stay home, and watch their television sets
There will be those armed to the teeth
Others will trust the good of humanity,
And that disruption will be brief
Some on the Right will have the their militias
So will the Left, but odds are they will miss ya
The attached photo struck my fancy and gave rise to the idea of what a Liberal militia might be like. Okay, that said, it is rather tongue in cheek as I am generally left of centre in my views, though I am also an 0311 infantryman. So please read it as a bit of fun.