The Age of Manipulation

This is the age of information, but more like the bombardment of information. From the internet to the millions of books, everyone who can write wants their voice to be heard and given as much consideration as the millions of others who want to be heard. The public processes information too fast and with so much volume, it is hardly surprising that people know very little about a whole lot of subjects. In previous times when words and information were scarce, people put time and labor into their reading. The public, then, knew very well the value of every word and the implications that could be drawn from each one. Now, the public is pushed on every side by words. For each modern word touts an agenda and a bias. Feeling a responsibility to give every writer equal audience, the public gorges itself on more and more information. And just when it is just about to vomit, it forces more down its collective throat. As a consequence, the public has become indistinguishable from a lazy man who, because he cannot manage to govern himself, is manipulated not by the man with the wisest words, but by the man who speaks the most often.

Ode to Being Normal

Ode to being Normal

Ah, thy perfectly adequate face,
Thy conventional clothing,
In the daylight, they strike one in an unexceptional way.
Thy verbification and vernacular,
The way thy lips maneuver as thou dost impart,
In a crowd, they seem commonplace in this faddish day.
The displacement of thy hips as you traverse,
Thine average gait,
All alone, they resemble everyone else.

The Wooden Box

I grabbed a cup of water and put it under the faucet. The sound of the water pouring into the cup drew my mind away from the present. I drifted where I always went. I needed it. My mind bent on how I could get it next. I heard the sound of pounding in the distance, but the sound of the cup filling to the top drew me back to reality. Quickly, I turned the faucet off and poured some of it back out. Why did I need water in the first place? Couldn’t I just survive on what I really wanted? Ah… there was that pounding again. It came from the living room.

“He always wants out but he’s not going to get out. Ever. However, a little rest on the couch would be nice.”

The pounding got louder as I entered the living room.

“I’ll just spend a little time in here. It won’t bother me too much. Resting my legs feels good anyway. Now, if I could just get more of that stuff I need.”

I felt an excitement in my stomach just thinking about it.

“I need more of it. I did the last of it months ago. Ah… if only it lasted longer.”

The pounding really got loud now. It came from the large wooden box sitting beside the couch. I slammed my fist on the top of it and yelled, “Shut up!” Sometimes he can be so annoying. At least he wasn’t trying to talk to me. After all, he put me in charge. He should accept how things worked out and just be quiet. On the top of the wooden box a small window controlled the only visual communication between me and him. His breathing was rapid and his eyes danced wildly back and forth as they pleaded with mine. I ignored him and sipped my water.

“Why is this water never enough?”, I thought. “It would be if I had what I really needed. I just can’t seem to find it. It’s not available anymore.”

My eyes wandered around the room. Dust and dishes were scattered throughout the floor. My clothes were strewn on the back of the couch and the only chair I had. Memories of children running through the house went through my head more like ghosts than real thoughts. I really should get a maid. Cleaning is just not a priority. I guess months of fulfilling my needs takes it toll on a house. The wooden box made it seem like the room was furnished more than it was.

“He could clean the house though.”, I considered. “Oh, he would just love that.”

I laughed a little. I sipped more of my water and peered out of the windows. It’s so dark nowadays. I can’t remember the last time the sun peaked over the hills. Darkness prevailed outside the house rendering the windows useless. I stopped looking out of them months ago. There were no neighbors anyway. My street used to bustle with laughter and children’s games. That was before I found what I needed. The pounding started again and this time he spoke.

“Please let me out, “ he said, “I’m sorry I tried to stop you.”

I stood up and kicked the box. “You wanted this Jerry. Just shut up! I’m in control now, and no one can tell us apart anymore.”

“Help me… Help me!”, He cried.

He sobbed quietly as I stood up to leave the room. Jerry used to be my friend. I guess in the end, it was me that turned on him. He always did what I said. Now he can’t do anything.

Dave walked down the hospital corridor. The sun shined through the windows of each room as he passed. Today would have been an excellent day to go fishing, but he had urgent business that could not wait. A Bible could be clearly seen under his arm as he stepped into hospital room 124. A man lay on the bed in front of him. Dave stepped aside to let the nurse finish her check of the patient’s chart. She placed it back at the foot of the bed. The name on the chart was Jerry.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me?”

Jerry’s skin was pale and thin. It looked as though it was draped over his bones like a worn out curtain. Although he was continually moving, Jerry was clearly bed ridden. The sound of the previous question seemed to be sucked into nothingness as the beeping monitors that were hooked to Jerry’s body persisted through an otherwise quiet room. His eyes danced wildly back and forth and his mouth formed inaudible words. He looked like he was crying. Dave spoke again.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me? I’ve come to help you.”

Silence.

“Jerry, I’ve come to tell you about Jesus.”

Jerry’s eyes stopped for just a moment and made their way over to Dave’s. His head shook as he leaned toward Dave. He didn’t have much strength left. Jerry opened his mouth to speak. At first there was a deep gargling sound and then an ever so quiet voice, almost like a baby’s voice, resounding in the small room.

“Help me… Help me.”

At this, he collapsed back on the bed and his eyes resumed their awful dance once again.

“Jerry? Jerry!” Dave called out, but it was no use. He sat in the room for what seemed like an eternity hoping to see more moments of lucidity. The beeping of the machines were relentless. After a while, a nurse walked in and Dave felt it was time to leave.

That night, Dave slipped into bed with his wife. He had not repeated the account of his visit to anyone, and his heart was heavy as his mind drifted back to Jerry. He could still hear his cry.

“Help me… Help me!”

Sleep came slowly to his heavy heart, but his body soon gave way to the familiar rhythms of restful breathing. After all, God gives his beloved ones sleep.

That same night, Jerry slipped into the darkness once more and never returned.