A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Semper F

This morning I was woken at 7:34 by the telephone ringing. The boys use their cell phones exclusively, and won't pick up on the land line even if they're standing next to a ringing phone. They just assume it's not for them, and don't want to be responsible for any messages. So I had to struggle out of bed to answer it.

The caller asked for Amir. He sounded like the man who had called yesterday from the College, asking about Amir's registration for the fall semester. So I carried the phone upstairs to him. Amazingly, the boy was awake enough when I opened his bedroom door to take the call.

I got right back into my still-warm bed for "five minutes" more sleep. Taz had figured out that any action taking place before 10 o'clock would have nothing to do with going for a walk, and was still curled up under the covers. I could hear Amir over my head pacing back and forth for a long time. I heard his voice every once in a while between long stretches of silence, as though he was listening to a harangue and occasionally saying, yes....ok...ok...yes.

He came downstairs eventually to replace the receiver. He was confused--unsure exactly with whom he'd been speaking. He had an appointment at 1500 Main Street at 11:00. But he so didn't want to go.

1500 Main Street is the Federal Building--with a Marine Corps recruiting office on the first floor. They've got recruiting offices in the local colleges, too. My caller ID revealed nothing, so I just went ahead and called the downtown office. A couple of inquiries got me to the person who had just telephoned.

"Is this about my son enlisting in the Marines?" I asked him.

"No, ma'am," he replied. "I just wanted to inform him about some educational opportunities available to him."

"But, in order to take advantage of these educational opportunities, he would have to enlist," I persisted.

"Well, yes, eventually," he answered.

"My son is not interested in enlisting," I told him. "So he doesn't want to waste your time or his own."

I yelled upstairs to Amir that his appointment with the creepy guy was cancelled. He was so happy he ran downstairs to hug me. "Mommy is awesome! Hurray for Mommy!" he kept singing.

If those fuckers think they can get their hooks into my son, they've got another think coming. If their cause is so honorable, why do they have to dissemble to the extent that a kid doesn't even know who he's dealing with until five minutes before he finds himself shipped off to the desert?

By the time he gets out of school, there'll be nothing left to plunder in Iraq, and we'll have moved on to Iran. Then maybe he'd have the opportunity to shoot his own second cousin!

I don't fucking think so. Not as long as he's got a Mommy .


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