I really try to maintain a steady, prosaic, socially compliant life, the sort that doesn’t attract much notice from IRS auditors, the FBI, SEAL Team 6— people like that. I’m sure they’re all very nice in person. But now, it occurs to me that I could be noticeable, because I have in the past operated my Timex Ironman watch’s timer, my cell phone, and my 6-quart Presto stainless steel pressure cooker, all at the same time. No doubt these objects are equipped with information transmitting capability to some data collecting utility somewhere.
For a long time I was terrified of pressure cookers. My dread came from an incident in my childhood involving a pressure cooker and my mother, a truly brilliant and multi-talented woman, who probably lied only once in her life, and it was a whopper. Before my parents were married, she told my father she could cook. All I distinctly remember is her yelling, “Joe, get in here!” and how very unusual it was for her to want my father in the kitchen while she was cooking—and the sight of that pork roast clinging to the ceiling.
Probably like most distractible Americans, I think of Boston with grief, indignation, and overwhelming gratitude that it was not much worse; certainly it could have been. I’m not sure what sort of vigil this is that distracts those of us willing to be distracted: are we waiting to be told whom specifically to blame and hate? And will he become a target for our Team 6 heroes to take down (especially if they bring a dog)? I’m not sure what sort of boost we need to commit the incident to history and move on. I realize that law enforcement agencies do not have that luxury; I’m referring only to ordinary citizens with ordinary concerns, which include extraordinary concerns with how people who work with extraordinary situations do their jobs. We ordinary Americans are relentless at this. And if they’re going to give us a bad guy, they’d better give us a hero.
After reading a few news accounts, I watched the new Superman trailer. Looks like a great cast, and an original story line: a new bio is issued the son of Krypton. But we have new villain bios in real life now, and I’m not sure Superman is even up to the job anymore. Perhaps his job description has changed, and for the better. The “S” on his flight togs isn’t really an “S.” It’s the Kryptonian symbol for hope.