The Calm Of Complacency That Attacks Us During Summer Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie, Editor
ZERO PLUS 1355 DAY--New York, NY, Saturday, May
like everyone else in America. The last thing I want to think
about this summer is Terrorism.
The sun is shining. The
waves slap against the beaches, singing the siren song to those
of us who love to soak up the rays of summer and think about
BBQ's and soft breezes shoving the sounds of jazz jammers gently
past our ears as we sip a Starbucks under the starlit sky above
Washington Square Park.
its glory but also nightmares
Who wants to think of
some Terrorist looming in the shadows, fixing the wires on his
or her suicide bomb? Who wants to worry about the cell down
the street of angry young people plotting where the next example
of Terror power can best be ignited to drive the infidels into
their captialistic shells?
Certainly, I don't. My
children and grandchildren don't. And, with only a few exceptions,
odds are the great mass of American humanity prefers to slap
on the sun block and dive into summer's refreshing pool waters
than to think of sealing up a "safe room" and huddling
inside it if the "dirty bomb" explodes on or about
the 4th of July.
Summer is a time to loll.
It's a time to recharge the batteries. A time to thaw from cold,
wet winters. It's time to remove the pasty pall of winter and
let the skin turn golden brown as we baste and glow healthy
looking from the outside.
But, there are countless
numbers of us who, forgetting about external Terrorism, still
have our Internal Terrorists gnawing at the marrow of our being
even when the sun is glistening and the birds are chirping.
Take bathing suits, for
Summer brings its glory
and joy, but also its nightmares.
is seeing how we look in a bathing suit
Rolls of fat hidden by
the winter coats and thick layers of shirts and sweaters are
now free to jiggle and ooze over the edges of waistbands, exposing
our secret Terror that we are not as young, as firm, as trim,
as attractive as either we might have once been, or in comparison
to those whose bodies look as though they had just been sculpted
We tend to forget that
one of the greatest fears we face each day is the Mirror Terrorist.
He or she is the creature
who casts back upon us a reflection that is warped by reality.
It indicates that our bodies have become victims of the Gravity
Terrorist, and that our flesh--once taut with youth--has stretched
and become burdened by adipose tissue attack.
Around our waits, thighs,
buttocks, chests and chins hangs, jiggles and Jell-as much more
flesh than we imagined during the freezing, chilly nights where
those extra fat cells served to keep us cuddly unto ourselves.
Now that our clothing is being shed by Nature's necessity, the
bulges pop out like so many warts marching over our noses, and
all we can see is the fact we are not equal to, or even near
parity to any ad we see on television, the magazine or newspapers
representing what the human body should appear to be when it
is shed of its layers of cloth.
This is real Terrorism.
Terror Monstor lives inside of our fat cells
While the percentages
of another Terrorist plane crashing into a building is remote,
the odds of any of us feeling like a slug crawling along the
pavement of life when we gaze at our near-naked reflections
in the morning mirror are so real and practicable that feeling
"less-than" is about as real as breathing or sneezing.
Our Terror Monster lives
inside our fat cells.
But, let's not discriminate.
There are those of us
too, who feel we are far too skinny.
Some of us look in the
mirror and see a rack of bones, a meatless exoskeletal figure
who, turning sideways, disappears from sight.
I grew up
a skinny kid
I grew up a skinny kid.
People called me "spider legs." I had pimples to boot.
I was sure I was an "ugly stick" whose only attractiveness
bent toward a Praying Mantis. Now, I'm huge. The mirror I look
in today shoots back this hulking blob of once-firm flesh, sagging
here and there and everywhere with such ferocity that girdling
myself is not an option I discard since dieting just can't compete
with Ben & Jerry ice cream sales.
I live in Fear, Intimiation
and the Complacency I was never going to be "like others,"--i.e.
physically attractive. I compared myself to the "lookers"
and lost the battle every time I looked in the mirror. I even
answered a Charle Atlas (an old but famous icon of how to not
let someone kick sand in your face) and practiced his "Dynamic
Tension" techniques in hopes my body would transform miraculously
into some beach lifeguard form so I could strut around like
the cock-of-the-walk and crow about my physical magnificence.
Those who manage our
HomeLand Security in Washington D.C. would scoff at the idea
that America's true Summer Terrorism isn't worrying about the
"dirty bomb" but rather the "dirty mirror"
in their bathroom, that belies the truth they are not worthy
of shedding their clothing and matching the pictures of the
"hard bodies" streaming across their television screens
or plastered on the cover of People.
But the reality is that
we do, indeed, Terrorize our self-image daily by thinking we
are "ugly" or that we are "less than" because
we don't meet certain "attractive" standards we set.
The Beast of Terror licks
his summer chops over this fact. He thrives on our insatiable
desire to compare ourselves to those we want to be, and does
flip flops because we walk around blowing up our self-image
every time we fix our gaze on another person we think is "more"
than we in attractiveness.
Instead of trimming down
and working to become more fit, we are lured into the Ben &
Jerry sale, and bury our snouts in Heath Bar Crunch, gobbling
up scads of fats as though we were prisoners of our own self-deprecation.
We put the Fat Terror Gun to our own heads. We torture ourselves
by resigning our minds that "we're always going to be like
this--fat and ugly or thin and scrawny."
So what do we do?
In any Moment of Terror
we have a choice.
options are ... to live in the Shadow of Terror.....
We can become Sentinels
of Vigilance or surrender to the Beast of Terror.
There are no other real
We are living in the
shadow of Terror or the sunlight of Vigilance.
... or the
Sunlight of Vigilance
If we are Vigilant, we
think in terms not of how we appear vis-a-vis others, but rather
how healthy we are. If we really want to compare ourselves to
ourselves, the question is are we happy with what we see on
the scales and what we put in our mouths--not in relation to
rising above others or living in the quagmire of being less
than them, but more akin to what is right for the people we
love and care about--the Children.
A Parent of Vigilance,
a Citizen of Vigilance, a Loved One of Vigilance, a Grandparent
of Vigilance each has his or her own private goal to live the
longest, healthiest, happiest life so that he or she can pass
on the health, happiness and longevity of life to the next set
Thus, how we look, act
and feel becomes important not to just those whom we pass by
and stare at in comparison to what we look like, but, more importantly,
to the children, to our loved ones who look upon us as role
If we care about what
we look like from a healthy, happy and longivity viewpoint,
we will do what is right for our bodies for the right reasons.
Keeping trim and fit
is a gift to our children, grandchildren and loved ones. It's
hard to compete with a child's energy when you have none, or
to laugh when you are sad because you feel "ugly"
If we wallow in the Complacency
of our own disrespect for our health, we rob our children and
loved ones of the pleasure of our best company.
Stuffing our faces and
sitting on the couch only bloats our Beast of Terror's gut.
When we're too tired, too hungry, too full of gas to move, we
leave our children and loved ones to the mercy of the Beast,
who will, as he or she did with us, make them feel like we did
when we were children.
But, if we're active
and healthy and fit, we can take the children by the hand and
dance with them in the sunlight of the summer. We can be fit
for them and banish the Beast of Physical Terror away.
How can this seemingly
minor goal help fight Terrorism?
Choose to be fit and healthy
Internal Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency suffocates us--whether it be based on what we
think of ourselves or a more global resignation from caring
about what happens in the next election.
The more Complacent we
become physically, the more that impacts our minds and our voices
and our belief in fighting for the rights of the future generations.
true Summer Vigilance
Keeping fit is a piece
of the Vigilance Pie. Eating the pie is piece of the Terrorist
So, we can all choose.
We can chose to be fit
and healthy for ourselves and our children and loved ones--and
not to impress those around us.
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