Shuffle says… no shuffle, instead I’m working off a weird mix of Stiff Little Fingers and Metric of which right now is playing “Harp” Stiff Little Fingers, Get a Life

In this spirit of Thanksgiving [yeah, this is an old post I forgot to put up] and awkward reuniting with family members you aren’t all that close with, I feel I should write something about family. So of course I’m going to talk about how we like to kill each other in our imaginations.

Every kid at some point in time has fantasized about the death of his/her parents. Discussing this with a friend, it was suggested that this must be “a boy thing”, but I beg to differ. Many of this archetype’s major supporters are women. You see it everywhere. Almost every child age hero is an orphan. S.E. Hinton (woman) wrote about this fantasy in The Outsiders as well as every other book she ever wrote. As further evidence you have things as recently as Harry Potter. From years ago you have Diana Wynne Jones’s Eight Days of Luke or that Boxcar Children series that was so popular that they continued publishing books for years after the author was dead.

Though the premise is a common one, I always just thought it was a device until  I read Dave Eggars’s Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. In this reflective, psuedo-postmodern endeavor he suggests in the opening chapter that all children fantasize about being orphans and the deaths of their parents. I’ve done it many times myself and so have you probably. This is not to say any of us actually wish our parents dead only that we romanticize the idea of the orphan.

You see, parents are our link to the past (*cough* nerd reference *cough* [Link was an orphan, by the by]) or better phrased a link to our past. We are all of us in some way tied to a station, be it class, religion, race, or some other pigeon hole by parents and no matter how you grow or change when you sit at their table you are their child once again. With them out of the picture it is far easier to imagine how you would live your life differently. Perhaps you would take more risks, have friends over at their house all the time so you’d never be lonely, and have chocolate cake and beer for breakfast every day.

In the words of Rage Against The Machine says “who controls the past now, controls the present” our parents control that past. They were adults at a time before we were making distinct memories. If they are no longer here to tell us what we are then we could be anything we want. We could potentially reinvent our childhood and through that, who we are now, whom we are destined to become.

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