Saturday, June 14, 2008

Life in the Benign

My brother-in-law thinks he is really smart. He always wants people to know what he knows and how much. Now, John is a great guy. He's funny, sometimes charming and works very very hard and always pays his taxes, admiral attributes no question.

It's just that John doesn't really know what is going on in the world except as it applies to him. He knows the cost of fuel has increased, and that it now costs him nearly $100.00 to fill up his Explorer. He knows the USA is at war somewhere in the Middle East, but he doesn't really know why. He assumes it's about oil. He knows who is running for president, but he doesn't really know anything about the candidates other than what some guy at the farm supply has told him. He's not going to read anything for himself. He won't investigate urban legends; that would take too much of his time. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't worth the time away from the tobacco field.

This attitude is what I term, 'benign." For too many people here, the world begins and ends at either end of the AA Highway. It's not a cancer, in that, people don't die from their ignorance. On the contrary, they live. They go to church on Sundays, and they support their schools. They join Homemakers and meet monthly to discuss cooking, recreation, and all the things going on in their hometowns.

So, I'm not talking about a cancer. It's more like an algae... you know... that fungus that turns a pond green and lingers there year after year after year. It doesn't spread beyond the pond like a malignancy. It just exists, stagnate and green.

Such is my brother-in-law and so many other people here where I live. Their literary boundaries stop at True Confessions and The Bracken County News. They read the Maysville Ledger Independent for obituaries and farm sales. News commentaries, political analysis, entertainment news and world events are not relevant to life in the benign, so they go unknown .

My brother-in-law graduated from high school here. He lives in the city, but he took Bracken County with him. My step-daughter grew up here, but she lives in the city. She left Bracken County behind, probably forever. To overcome the benign, is too often to escape it. The world can't get in here, so the open-minded must go into the world. Opportunity is out there, not in here. So, Bracken County stays the same. Life in the benign exists while the world passes by.

No comments: