Shame on her. She brought her kid into a bar. Well, it’s more of a burger joint. Dusty floors. Loud people. Lousy beer. Televisions blaring. Great burgers.
She’s wearing a Walmart shirt and name-tag. Her little boy is eating the same thing I am. A cheeseburger.
The television is rolling footage of recent floods, bodybags, crime scenes, explosions, outbreaks. I can see the look on the boy’s face watching the screen. He’s troubled.
One headline reads: “The end of the world?”
That does it. He pushes his burger away. “Mama, I’m scared.”
To tell you the truth, I don’t blame Junior for feeling disturbed. Because I’m disturbed too. Everything on television is god-awful. And I’m sorry to say, it only gets worse.
I’m talking about screaming congressmen, overpaid athletes, and celebrities who, for personal reasons, conscienciously object to underpants.
Then there’s child murder, animal abuse, cyber terrorism, killer mosquitoes, killer fungi, undercooked chicken, ozone holes, reality TV, Korea, Isis, and suicidal McDonald’s employees. And if that’s not enough to scare the shucks out of you, watch a little politics.
I won’t lie to you, Junior. It’s bad. We have everything from soft-porn in supermarkets, to beheadings in the headlines. You have every right to mess your britches.
But before you get upset, there’s something you can do. In fact, it’s something I do myself. It’s not a cure-all, but it certainly won’t hurt to give it a shot.
Spend some time in the woods.
Yesterday, I saw eight raccoons—a mother and her young. They walked by the creek through the high grass. I followed them along a stream, running into a natural pond full of lilies. As far as I know, I’m the only one who knows about this pond—but probably not.
Anyway, if you visit in late afternoon, the mosquitoes will suck you dry, but it’s worth it. Because there are enough frogs here to make you deaf.
At sunset, the sky lights up pink. By then, you’ll be thinking about important stuff—frog-noise helps with that sort of thing.
And if you’re really lucky: fireflies.
Look, I don’t promise many things, Junior. But I swear, if you stare at something more real than your television, your television will seem less real.
Sure, earth has its share of problems. God knows, our time here is no line-dance. But if you ever get a chance to see the place I just told you about, you might wonder where in God’s name anyone got the idea the world was ending. In fact, you might even laugh about it.
It’s going to be all right, friend.
That’s not an opinion.