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the healthy oyster

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“How does a pearl develop in an oyster? A jagged grain of sand makes its way into the oyster’s shell and makes its life unbearable. The oyster exudes slime to cover the grain of sand and the slime eventually hardens into a pearl. The oyster nearly dies in the process. To hell with the pearl, give me the healthy oyster!”

Bertolt Brecht, from the play Galileo


Remember that little kid in Brooklyn who was walking home from school alone? He asked a man for directions and instead of getting help he got suffocated and chopped into pieces.
 

Remember those ladies in Cleveland who were walking home and the bus driver pulls over and says, “Want a ride?” Then he imprisons them for a million years and does unspeakable things.
 

What’s wrong with me? Sitting around thinking about bad people, bad things that happen. Actually, let’s just say evil. Sitting around and mulling it over. Evil.
 

Well, maybe I have to. Call it the urge to make sense of horror.
 
We do like talking about it. We need to know that evil villains are out there, and we need to know just what the hell they are doing with themselves. But Michael Moore convinced me that absorbing the stream of frightening news stories makes me a consumer chimp. We get scared, and then we go out and spend money. And SO many things scare us. It can be liposuction malpractice. It can be a tornado. It can be government spies.
 
So if I don’t inform myself, then I also won’t have to numb myself. With shopping, for example, though there are many mind-numbing activities and behaviors available.
 
But I have to inform myself. If I don’t, then the whole world will just slip away.
Actually, that’s pretty tempting. The entire world. Gone.
No, that would make me exotic, irresponsible. None of my friends would approve.
 
So I will just have to be scared. Or numb.
Tough choice.

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