My daughters and I invented ‘The Flatbutt Society’ at a party celebrating a victory. Behind the exuberant silliness, we recognized long hours of sitting in chairs to gain skills that could make our book project successful.
Dreamer straps on his school backpack. He heads out to his educational war. He does battle with reading, ‘riteing and ‘rithmetic!
Sometimes he understands the assignment and wins. More times he misses the point.
He rushes home to sprawl on the sofa. His laptop turned on. He spends hours in hard thought. Why is he so different from other young men?
My oldest grandson has autism. When I visit him, I listen in astonishment as he introduces me to the history and daily life of complex civilizations in his digital world. With a gift for perfect mimicry, he passionately articulates the moral dilemmas of his life in the vocabulary of his fantasy world.
I recently watched in astonishment a 90 minute documentary about young warfighters who pilot drone bombers in the Middle East ‘War on Terror’.
Dressed in combat flight suits, they sit at the joystick controls of their war planes in an air conditioned cubicle in the Southwestern American desert. Sometimes they hit their targets. Sometimes they don’t.
After a tour of duty bombing the bad guys, they change into shorts and tee shirts. It’s a short drive in an air conditioned car to supper in an air conditioned suburban house.
They join their kids in ‘PlayStation combat’ games on a flat screen HDTV before bedtime. They wake refreshed and after breakfast set off on another day of killing human beings real life dead in a different desert on the other side of the globe.
Dreamer works hard at understanding who he is and how he can help family and friends. The ‘Playstation joystick’ warfighters seem to nonchalantly accept their job of killing people.
Some consider Dreamer a ‘weird’ defective person. Some celebrate ‘PlayStation joystick’ warfighters as patriotic ‘heroes’.
I wonder what is truly ‘heroic’. Struggling to know oneself in order to help family and friends? Killing “bad” people by remote control on the other side of the world?