On Callousness and Fire

Posted: 8 June, 2013 in Rants

Shuffle Says: “National Brotherhood Week” Tom Leher, The Remains of Tom Leher

Some weeks ago a building near my house caught fire.

To illustrate my obliviousness I walked by the place on my five block walk to the to the grocery store and noticed nothing. On my way back the entire corner of the intersection was at full blaze. About ten emergency vehicles, dozens of public servants and at least a hundred onlookers crowded the streets.

I must be a real cold bastard because here were my thoughts:
—fucking tourists
—strange how such a pretty fire can render someone’s dreams to ashes
—I’ve been here long enough, people. now get the fuck out of my way.

This whole thought process didn’t take long. Some asshole’s cigarette or bad wiring or a toaster too close to the wall has caused me a very slight inconvenience.

However the next day my shameful annoyance made the paper. The Tribune had an article about the not-so-great Chicago fire entitled, “Nightmare Commute: Red Brown and Purple lines closed for a whole fucking hour”

OK so I added everything after the word ‘closed’, but that was the article —nearly an hour. Poor Ben Davidson told reporters “I’m just trying to get a north bound train!” then complained about lack of good detour information. Three young Irish tourists “ Didn’t know what to do” And A DePaul University student was late to class.
I’m sorry, but the L was ON FUCKING FIRE! I think your professor/boss/date will accept this as a viable excuse. Most of them will be able to verify your claims by looking out the window to see billowing clouds of smoke.
I kept wanting to insert “also a whole corner of an intersection was on fire!” I assume no one was hurt, or killed as they didn’t mention it, though it does emphasize our lack of concern with human life.

Another story not only on the same day but the very same page noted casually that 50 people were shot this weekend. This story warranted ten percent of the words on that page for a total of  two sentences and an inch and a half of column space. On the same page, twice as many paragraphs, four times as many sentences, and three times as much space was used to convey the confusion of young Irish tourists.

Fifty people is not an sideways glance. Fifty people is not a quirk. Fifty people is considered heavy casualties in AFGHANISTAN. Fifty people is a masacare at a school campus. As usual I’ve no idea where I’m going with this. I was just a tad abhorred at my own curt dismissal of a fire on my own block and to see it set against what’s going on in the rest of the city through the lens of a newspaper gave me a moment’s pause.


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