Thursday, March 28, 2019

Microstory 1069: Oscar

They call me Oscar the Delightful. I’m not a particular happy person, but I’m also not at all grouchy. It was just really important to my peers that they come up with something pseudo-clever. That’s the way it is with normal people. They like to come up with things, and have inside jokes, and they like to recall what they know; see it return to action in some other way. People are obsessed with the familiar, and despise the unknown. When you’re a child, everything is new, and you accept your new reality, because you’ve been given few reasons not to. But as you grow and mature, you start to become jaded, and the things you liked when you were little solidify themselves as the most important components of your history. If you were raised to be racist or homophobic, for instance, it’s difficult to break free from that notion, because those terrible lessons whoever raised you taught you remind you of a time when you were comfortable, and had everything provided for you. An animal will always return to where it know it’s given food. Lots of people think that those who were dealt a crappy hand are the worst kind of people, but in many cases, they’re the best of us. They lack this inescapable nostalgia, which—yes—can make them irritable, or hard to work with, but it can also make them more flexible, and even empathetic. They’re not tied down by the rules of yesteryear, and can better recognize the needs of the future. If they were quote-unquote cared for by racists homophobes, they’re less likely to maintain those convictions themselves, because it’s not like they feel some closeness to those people, so they can’t trust their beliefs. It is my theory that the hard knocks are the ones who progress society better than anyone. People who feel too comfortable about the way things have always been aren’t going to make much of an effort to change it. But the people whose lives sucked because of the past are going to do anything they can to change the status quo. Sometimes that means staying on the fringes of society, and participating in criminal activity, but it can also mean great things for us. Then there are the idealists, like Viola Woods. She saw how broken the world was, and felt a drive to fix it. She was raised by wealthy parents in a safe town—recent events notwithstanding. She could have lived a very comfortable life until she died an old woman, surrounded by her loved ones. She was killed because she put herself out there, and at risk. She made herself known, and painted a target on her back. That’s not to say any of this is her fault; I mean quite the opposite. She was killed because people don’t like good people, who try to improve the world, because remember what I said about nostalgia? It becomes written in your bones, and Viola threatened that, whether she was in the right, or not, which she was. She died because she was brave, and since I grew up in a similar household, under the same tax bracket, I think I could be doing more to better my world. I am excited to read this full series, because while you may have started it to get to the bottom of her murder, it can also help us understand who Viola was, and perhaps break free from our personal inhibitions.

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