Friday, August 22, 2008

Taco Bell Breakdown

Finally, she's moved out! Totally and completely, out of her room... and into every other room in the house! She's packed and unpacked shoes ten times. Life goes on and one still has to dress for work.

Dia's best buddy moved yesterday. Elizabeth, Dia's left kidney left town for Notre Dame, but first she dropped by--ostensibly to return Dia's princess tiara (she knew college wouldn't be complete without it), but I knew that it was just an excuse, she came to see me as I have acted as her underground cheddar supplier for years.

I watched her leave and as she strolled down my front walk, she gazed around her as if smelling the air and taking in the surroundings one last time. I felt her saying goodbye to the very nature of things. It was as if she was embracing the change and immersing herself in it.

I'm wandering about wondering how bad it's really going to be before this college move-out thing gets done. When will I have my "Tacobell breakdown" (a favored Mom-cry spot on the BYU college campus).

I don't cry. Dia says I insulate, and that it's not necessarily a good thing. Yesterday we discussed that "When we don't get to the deepest feelings, then we can't explore our innermost thoughts." Sounds like a "the worst you feel now, the better you'll feel later" concept to me.

I'm skeptical. How does that work?

"If I don't deal with it now," she warns that "it's going to come back to bite me." Great, then I'll deal with it later.

My girlfriend (mom of four college girls) assures me that children need to move on and if I've given them strong wings, I'll have no regrets. She reminds me that someday they'll flit back, and with luck they'll bring grandkids.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Marsh Paste

It’s one of the winding up days, leading to college. Aidan has already removed Dia from the back-to-School “Tell All About Me” poster. He has a brother, father, mother and cats.

“Well she’s gone isn’t she?” he reasons.

The two of them are downstairs perusing the contents of the freezer. Dia makes a selection and is in the course of spooning out a bite when Aidan says, “What’s that stuff.”

“It’s marsh paste.” “Yuck,” Dia comments, thinking fast.

“Hmm, what’s in it?” He asks, wrinkling his nose.

First you take, marshmellows and you pound them, then you add cornmeal and okra and then roll it,”

“Yuck,” he interrupts, and moves onto the other mystery contents.

Dia turns her back to talk to me and moments later we hear,

“YUM! I love marsh paste.”

Dia races over to the table and snatches the container of frozen whipped cream from Aidan, cuffing him in the process and sending him scuttling off to the nether regions of the freezer in search of more “YUCKY” stuff.

“You should just be able to tell them something is gross and have them trust you,” Dia states huffily.

I respond, “Your kids are going to be so messed up.”

She replies, “And that would make you sad… because then there will be nothing left for you to do.”

Ah, I’ll miss her when she goes. She makes me laugh.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dia's Satellite for Tulsa World Article

An argument for book banning . . . or at least a forewarning of content

By DIA DARCEY Satellite Correspondent 8/11/2008Last Modified: 8/11/2008 4:14 AM

My advanced literature class has introduced some truly enlightening literature this semester.

"Yay! More black-and-white pornography!" I exclaimed as we students were assigned the latest required reading by our English teacher.

In Advanced Placement, we are offered both timeless classics and newer, popular titles to challenge and advance our thought processes. Still, at times, I feel that I'm being subjected to more detail than may be found in an X-rated movie. This kind of pornographic content should be banned, or at least censored.

Heck, I'd even appreciate a warning scribbled on a Post-It note inside the front cover.

Personally, I would prefer that my primary sex education NOT occur accidentally during English class. When teachers require this material, they condone the content, whether they like it or not. How can administrators sleep at night when they're promoting this double standard? "Here, read about this and this and this. Aren't we learning a lot? Whoa, hey! Stop that! Where ever did you ever get that idea?!"

'Monkey see, monkey do' goes doubly for teenagers, and as much as we teens try to prove our maturity, the facts still stand firm: Raging hormones, developing frontal lobes and social stresses combined with ever-widening freedoms create more judgment problems for teenagers than any other age group. How can intelligent parents block cable, V-chip MTV, ban HALO III and punish us for dirty language, but not bat an eyelash as we pull out our homework assignment to annotate the (at least) R-rated "Beloved" or "Catch-22"?

What, you think it won't affect us because it's on a page? Because it's not a series of moving pictures or graphics? Because it's in print, it requires an advanced vocabulary and increases our comprehension? Some of the most influential mediums in the world were and are books. Anyone ever heard of the Bible? "Mein Kampf"?

What we listen to, what we watch and, believe it or not, what we read, affects us. When faced with my resistance, my English teacher does her best to give me a few reasons that we, as high school seniors, are exposed to these kinds of books:

Art is art, and those who would define, refine or confine it lose its very essence.

Who is to say what is acceptable and what is not, and how long will it be until the tyranny of politically correct editing creates a real "1984" state?

The truth is only truth when it flows without barrier or constraint, letting loose the human soul to spring unfettered across the wide expanses of creativity!

Only illiterate, ignorant zealots want to censor books — we fear what we cannot understand!

Truly discerning readers are able to appreciate the author's purpose in including any language, events or descriptions.

Personally, and as an AP literature student with a kick-butt ACT reading score, I'm a bit skeptical of the generalizations that all censorship is the product of ignorance and can be placed on the same level as cannibalism, deforestation and Hitler. It seems to this ignorant National Merit Scholar (not to drop titles or anything) that everyone is anti-censorship because none of us wants to be labeled a philistine.

Book-banning is bad, of course — it's censorship. It is simply un-American to chain the creative tendencies of our budding authors because of fogey old ideals. I am not advocating censorship. I'm asking the schools and publishers alike to consider my point of view. Even as an 18-year-old "adult," I would like a choice in my exposure to gratuitous sex, violence and language, even in the name of learning, literature or art. I would prefer compelling literature without the public-pleasing passages that "elevate" the book to best-selling status. But in lieu of that, I need some form of warning, a label, a rating or even hint on the outside of literature to let me know the extent of objectionable content therein, no matter how highly the talk shows recommend it or how "enlightening" it may be.

In every other entertainment industry, producers are required to rate their product so the public can make an informed decision. Which is the greater travesty? Depriving the reader of information, judgment and free choice and calling it freedom of speech, or risking the buzzword "censorship" to facilitate knowledge and choice?

Voltaire is credited with the remark: "Though I may not agree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it."

It's a truism of freedom of speech and indeed, of all American liberties. I would not like to contradict, but rather augment, this passage with another phrase: ...however, I do not have the obligation to read, listen to or analyze whatever garbage you have randomly passed off as "art" this afternoon.