Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Boy(s) Who Cried Emergency

Once upon a time there was a boy whose job was to cry emergency. People believed that the security of a very large flock depended on his doing the job loudly and at the right times.

There was a problem, though. The boy had a hard time pronouncing long words like emergency. If there had been, for instance, a nuclear emergency during the time he had the job, the results might have been comical rather than alarming. So his bosses came up with a code word -- actually, a number -- that was short, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. They also came up with color codes that could be used to describe the precise shade of emergency on any given day.

Eventually the boy outgrew his job and a new boy was found to sound the alarm. The new boy had no trouble pronouncing long words and was actually quite good at it. He still used the code number and colors from time to time, too, just for variety.

This was all very well, but the real wolves were not one bit scared away by the constant bleating of alarming words. As the flock listened contentedly to the song of emergency, the wolves were circling around, picking off weaker prey and devouring them. At first no one noticed much, because who cared about the weak ones? But over time the pack of wolves grew fatter, stronger and bolder on a steady diet.

Meanwhile bridges were crumbling, schools were closing, jobs were evaporating, and people had no health care. Their ears filled with the cry "emergency," they struggled to find non-existent public transportation to take them to the unemployment office. Their children graduated from college with six figure loans to pay back, but no jobs on the horizon. The grown children wanted to move back home but alas, the homes had been foreclosed on by the banks -- banks which had grown fat while everyone was listening to the emergency song.

Where had all the money gone? $1 trillion had been spent to make everyone safer in the long, long emergency. So in the end, the song of the boys came true. It really was an emergency, and no one needed to be reminded about it anymore. All they had to do was look around.
Hannah Kreitzer & the wolf, from last year's Draw-a-thon. Join in the fun this year at Draw-a-thon II at Space Gallery in Portland on Vet's Day (11/11). Kenny Cole's show on drones "The Hellfire Story" will be on display, and artists will respond with their ideas of what bringing our war dollars home could look like. More info here:

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