Saturday, July 30, 2011
My Children Will Not Be Appearing On White Dwarf Star Search, Thank You Very Much
When you look up at the heavens at night, a goodly portion of the pinpricks of light are white dwarf stars. Those stars don't function anymore; that is to say, they are not ongoing concerns in the star business. They've run out of hydrogen, and have imploded. They only "shine" because they once were capable of making heat, and it takes a long while for a star to cool off. Apparently there aren't any white dwarf stars that have cooled off enough to stop being visible altogether, because it takes hundreds of billions of years for them to achieve space's room temperature. But they are all already kaput; they just appear to be functional. When we look up at the night sky, we're just having a really long wake five minutes after the murder, so to speak. They're dead, Jim.
I'm not interested in the TV show these people are trying out for, or Craftsman tools, or much of anything in the videos. It catches my eye for other reasons. These people are not unusual. It is not their fault they have been gelded and made useless. They did as they were told. I find them interesting, because they appear to my eye to be about average. They have participated fully in American public life, and it has made them useless to themselves and to others. The reaction necessary to shine is missing, and the ingredients have collapsed in on themselves, and they only have the slowly fading appearance of the citizenry they sprang from. God bless them, they've got enough mettle to try to squeeze something from the raw material of their lives: Maybe I can be crowned the king or queen of the shiftless, and appear as a Reality Sideshow geek, displaying my underdeveloped limbs and the stubs of my intellect for a few pennies.
Whenever the topic of our children being homeschooled comes up -- and it always comes up, and not by way of us mentioning it -- everyone blurts out the same thing: Aren't you afraid your children won't be "socialized"? No one ever hesitates one moment to consider that the question might be an ipso facto insult to us, or even to ask themselves what in the hell the term itself means. The lack of thought in formulating the question removes any malice from it, and we never take any offense. Our own relatives ask us the same thing. We just consider it a dumb question, and dumb questions aren't rare enough in our lives to pick one out and manufacture a barrel of umbrage over it. Aren't you afraid your children will turn out just like you, instead of just like me? would be a more amusing version of the question.
There is, essentially, no crime in the town we live in. But there was a real, live murder a year before we moved here. A disreputable young woman with some children she doesn't care much about paid her boyfriend and one of his friends $2000 to murder her husband, who had made her angry enough to try to divorce him, and then kill him because he had once thrown a stick of butter at her. The two boys shot the estranged husband to death, and because he happened to be playing video games with another fellow at the time in his seedy apartment, two men were murdered for the price of one. The murderers turned old enough to drink liquor while being held without bail. All such criminals are short on real savvy and long on what they learned watching TV, so it took about fifteen minutes to figure out who did it and why, and they're all going to prison for a good, long while. Maine doesn't have a Casey Anthony drive-up window at the courthouse -- yet. The paper took pains to point out the murderers were Honor Roll students, fresh out of the local high school. They were exquisitely socialized.
We are trying, with no help and a lot of opposition, to produce decent, productive, ethical, moral, well-read, arithmetically capable, ambitious, vigorous, funny, kind, intellectually curious, self-regulating adults. And the only question anyone has for us is: how can we live with ourselves, knowing we're keeping our children from the wonders of attending the White Dwarf Star Academy.
Somehow we manage to bear up under the shame of it.