titanic-sinking-lifeboats1 I heard that phrase in the context of the Paris shootings. The one at the store. Where hostages were taken. I was listening to Al Jazeera, and the commentator said, “among the hostages appear to be a number of women and children.”

A normal enough statement, one heard in many contexts. Fires for instance–first attend to the women and children the men are admonished by each other.

It sounds quaint.

It sounds sexist.

It sounds wrong.

Not that I don’t believe in taking advantage of every possible opportunity to get ahead in life, and being favored to survive is certainly one of those things. Can’t say I’d turn down the offer if it came to that. I’m a long way from being noble, so I probably would. Take advantage of the “women first” offer.

I’d no doubt try to lay it to something else. I’m old. I’m not agile like I used to be. I can’t swing from trees anymore. I deserve special treatment. Yeah, I can come up with a good excuse I figure, should I need to.

But it’s not right. I have to admit that. Like it or not, it’s not fair, not right, reeks of all sorts of bad things. It’s not stoic I know. Nor is it rational much.

It places a burden unfairly on one sex for no good reason. You can’t help being male, so why are you supposed to die first as some goofy sort of gallantry? Nobody believes that “fairer sex” crap any more.

Boy from the day you were born, know this–in case of emergency women and children have more right to live than you. Unless you’re disabled or feeble-minded. Or maybe not. If you aren’t healthy in mind or body, ain’t it better to cull the herd and save the fittest? Old ladies would not pass that test.

It’s harder to make an argument against not saving the children first. I can, sorta.

Look, nobody is here by special dispensation. We all were born from the union of a sperm and egg. All are destined to die. Plenty of babies die, plenty of fetuses die. Plenty of old people die, and all in between. There is no way to judge why somebody is worse off by being cut off in the “flower” of life. Heck one could argue that some don’t face as much suffering as the old have had to endure. That’s a good thing. Given none of us knows what happens “after”, heck dying might be the best of all worlds.

So you see, it really makes no sense. We need to stop this women and children first nonsense. We aren’t God, and it’s not our job. Yes, I realize that a toddler isn’t going to be too adept at making his way to the life boat, but then again when there is only a little space left, the toddler will fit and I won’t. It’s just how shit happens.

Yeah shit happens.

Kay Hagan, newly elected from North Carolina in 2008, wanted to take a swim in the Capitol pool. She was told it was male only, cuz some of the senators preferred to swim with their junk free of a suit. Can you believe that? 2008?

Kay Bailey Hutchinson was interviewed about it on UP with Steve Kornacki. She didn’t see it as a big deal. She thought you have to make a lot of allowances for these older men who are going through “the transition”.  You know, the transition? From being troglodytes to human beings? And exactly how many decades need this transition take you might ask?

Did you know that women, as late as the late 90’s were warned about getting into an elevator alone with Strom Thurmond, that dead-man-walking-racist-piece-of-shit? Then there was Robert Packwood. Does this crap never end?

Somebody posted on our high school alumni page, “what would you do over again if you could?”

That’s always an interesting question I think.

There are lots of answers you can give that sound so, well, intellectual or spiritual or some combination of both.

“All the stuff that happened, even the stuff that wasn’t pleasant contributed to who I am today. Who knows who I’d be if not for everything.”

Yep, I agree. It’s pretty much unknowable.

Still.

Others say,

“I’d not change a thing! It’s been a hell of a ride.”

Yep, I agree.

Still.

See the error of the above, or so it seems to me an error, is that it means you really haven’t grown much, emotionally at least. Don’t you want to take back time wasted with people you now know to be idiots? And people that turned out to be deep and thoughtful and nice? Wouldn’t you have liked to have spent more time with them?

I would.

I’d like to not have participated in any form of bullying, or being mean to anybody just cuz they weren’t in my “group”. I’d like to have been more my own person and not so much of a follower of the crowd. I’d like to have argued with teachers more. I’d like to have been more principled.

These insights come from age and experience. I’d like to think I’d grown some in the intervening years. I was a racist as a kid, because everyone I knew was, though that is no excuse. I’m less of one now, though no doubt I can still be taught a thing or two about being not-white.

I accepted that as a female my life was defined in certain ways. I don’t now, and I’d like to think that matters.

I thought God was a bizarre notion as literally enunciated in the King James Version of the bible. I think quite differently now that I know what a fundamentalist is, and that that version of God is, yes, pretty warped, but there is a vision that makes a lot of sense to me and that  heartens me immensely.

If I had it to do over again, I’d not go to law school but I would go to grad school. I’d have been a theologian or a philosopher I think. Don’t know where that path would have led, but I know one thing. There is no better place to live than in a college town. Anywhere.

An old friend of mine once told me that she had listed in her teenaged years, all her goals in life. Some twenty-plus years later, she was proud to say that her goals were the same. She thought that was a badge of some sort of maturity. I thought it was sad. To be that much older and to have no better goals than the ones you jotted down as a sixteen-year-old?

Save me from people who have no curiosity or breadth of vision. Bring me the dreamers, the wonderers. On them are built the future that I wish to inhabit. The rest? Oh gosh, they are still in the cave, still thinking that the shadows are the reality.

We can’t know who will be the Plato nor the fool. So messing with who lives and who dies should not be our prerogative either. We’re all just doing the best we can, and trying to avoid the troglodytes ya know?

 

 

 

 

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