Sunburned in January
When you are sunburned, even the slightest touch hurts. Right now, it is as if all of Richmond is sunburned and the things that ordinarily wouldn’t bother us now sting and burn. I am speaking for myself, but I don’t think I am off-base here. I was never a fan of CSI or Law & Order-type shows but now the idea of them is positively revolting. The other night as I was packing lunches for the next day, one of those Law & Orders (which invariably I wind up calling Law & Order SUV) started with the rape and murder of a little girl. I couldn’t switch the channel fast enough. This is entertainment. Flipping through the Weekend section the other day, I bristled at the ad for that cheeseball curiosity known as the Mystery Dinner Playhouse putting on their production of “Murder at the Irish Wake.” What I once thought of as merely rubber chicken and scattered chuckles now seemed in horrible taste.
Saturday, as our family watched some playoff football and built stuff with Legos there was a knock at the door. Two squeaky clean young men wanted to save our souls on the front porch. I did not want to open the door. My husband opened it anyway without the safety benefit of keeping the slide lock at the top of the door engaged. He sent them away politely but I wanted to stop them and say, “Don’t you know what happened two weeks ago? Tell your bosses to get a new marketing plan!”
I do hope the sunburn will go away. I don’t want to stay overly sensitive to these things -- I think I was sensitive enough already. I dwell in a murky area in which I am both staunchly anti-violence in our culture and yet an occasional (and I hope discriminating) consumer of it. I watched every second of “24” last night and probably chuckled a little when Mrs. Huber met her fate in the kitchen on “Desperate Housewives.” I am an unabashed Buffy fan. And one of my all-time favorite movies, “Fargo” is dark, violent and at times wildly funny. The sight of that leg in the wood chipper is as funny as it is horrifying. But perhaps my own true feelings are revealed in the speech given near the end of the film by Marge, the heroine of “Fargo”. Her character -- a trusting and naïve woman but a shrewd sheriff -- and the movie itself are distilled in that one brilliant moment after she has apprehended the killer and is talking to him in the police cruiser while he stares blankly from the back seat. “I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than money, you know. Don't you know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well … I just don't understand it.”
I don’t understand it either. But you know what? It is a beautiful day.