By Mike M.
Lately there has been running on TV an advertisement for some company, where this black guy is explaining to us the definition of the word "epiphany".
I thought about this odd word for awhile.
I am from the South and from Arkansas in particular, so.... These big words take a little to digest sometimes. Epiphany means.....A sudden insight? What those old Greek folks called a "Eureka Moment"? Something that was plain as day, right there in front of you, and you dang near stepped in it, but you didn't maybe because you SUDDENLY SAW THAT MUD PUDDLE for what it was....?
I started to wonder if I had ever had a 'real' epiphany. A shot of light out of the dark. Following are some of the list of items I came up with as I rambled in my head. Maybe you've shared some of these yourself.
When I was 3 years old, some demons and monsters tried to crash through our front screen porch in Dallas, Texas one night. Probably my first epiphany. I suddenly realized that, yes Virginia, here there be monsters......
Sometime around the age of 5, I was with a grandmother during one of her Southern Baptist/Pentecostal/ Hallelujah meetings, and I watched a lot of totally grownup human beings chasing things I couldn't see, and generally yelling a lot. I suddenly realized that grownups could really be strange at times like these.
During the same year, our house burned down and we went to live in a travel trailer. This 'camper vacation' lasted for a long time, due to hard times, I guess, with Dad's job and whatnot. I suddenly realized that very important things can be taken away from you without any explanation whatsoever, and too bad.
I also discovered that same year that the demons and monsters in Texas just HAD to be Halloween kids in costume. I hoped.
At the age of 8, I was told to forget about Christmas and Easter and Halloween, as all these are "pagan" (whatever THAT meant) and we'd now be going to a church for the first time in our family's life. It was the "True Church", just wait and see. So... with great ceremony, the little 12 inch Xmas tree and small ornaments were laid to rest in the Magic Trash Can, and we moved to Memphis and I learned a few things about how it might feel to be Black and in the South in the early part of this century. This because I was a student in a 95% black school district, and I also didn't share any of anyone else's beliefs.
I suddenly realized that black folks weren't any different from me. Gee. If THIS is true, then I guess maybe no one else from other races were either. This thought has grown throughout the years, although tempered with some experience.
At 13, I realized that just possibly, the sweet kiss of a girl is the loveliest thing on earth. This thought too, has grown throughout the years, although tempered with experience.
I had a REAL epiphany that same year, when I attended my best friend's funeral. Augustus Jones was my buddy, and he could run like the wind and catch any football flung at him, and he lived a few miles and a couple soybean fields over from us in our trailer park. He and I pelted snakes in the sewer pond in July and raced humpity-hump through the tilled up rows of field dirt in the fall and winter and built forts out of cast-off tents and tarpaulin and dug through garbage dumps for treasure.
He was riding home to his small house one night and some car hit him on Austin Peay Highway. He was 13 too.
I suddenly realized, again, that very important things can be taken away from you without any explanation whatsoever, and too bad. These are a few "epiphanies" I realized I had experienced throughout my little life. There have been others, of course, but one has stayed in the forefront. And this one was the biggie. The big Mama Jama. This realization had been gathering as a snowball falls since I was younger, and gathered weight on its trip down a mountain. A scary and VERY heart-rending thought if true:
I always wanted to be a grownup. I always looked up to "grownups". "When I grow up....I wanna be a...."...etc.
After having the realization that the Tooth Fairy was a figment of my childhood; a seemingly harmless diversion, but a lie, nonetheless; could I trust "grownups"?
I had been told of Santa Claus. Of the Easter Bunny. I suddenly realized that grownups lie.
I suddenly realized that "grownups" would tell me many things....many nice and warm and loving, but they would also lie to you if you questioned certain things.
I had the biggest epiphany of all: Very few people ever "Grow Up".
Some grownups lie. Some grownups will be sneaky. Some grownups will kill other grownups for the most bizarre of reasons.
Most in my experience have chosen to stay locked into beliefs and 'truths' they KNOW are silly, but.....
They gave up the Tooth Fairy, right?
They stopped believing in Santa, right?
Yes, we KNOW there is no silly rabbit laying eggs in the yard in April.
(Trix are for kids.....)
All these grownups learned all these same things just about the same time as they learned about Christianity.
Or Hinduism. Or Islam. Or....Name it.....
Why have they shed some of these myths, and held onto the reins so tightly to the other horse?
I surely don't have a good answer to that one.
As if holding on to one last Linus-Blanket of Security, some grownups HAVE to hold on to the last vestiges of their childhood. This is fine. This is great. No problem with honest, thinking, people having their own mind and tolerating others.
As a Free Thinker, though, with your own set of thoughts and epiphanies, think of this following:
Most of these 'grownups' (as history demonstrates time and again) will one day pick up a sword and demand that YOU believe in THEIR Tooth Fairy...........
They will. It's just a matter of time until the "Grown Ups" knock on the door.
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