Bubble Girl

There are second-graders touring the library today, and my first thought is how cute they are; they’re just a few months older than my niece, and it makes me happy to see kids her age. There’s a little girl scratching another girl’s back, almost maternally, which kills me. One little blonde girl is holding her teacher’s hand.

Then I remember, suddenly, what I can’t see from the outside—that these sweet-looking children have their own hierarchy, a social structure that probably makes some of them dread going to school. I remember what elementary school was like for me, and I realize that although I can’t tell who is who, some of these kids are bullies; some are taking their place as the “cool” ones; and some of these adorable, tiny children have already learned how arbitrarily cruel people are.

I started this post a while ago and left it sitting as a draft, and now I can’t remember why I named it “Bubble Girl.” Maybe I was thinking that I need a bubble, only to keep out feelings instead of germs.

 

Some stupid religious pseudo-philosophy I read today

While cataloging a cart of religious fiction:

If you use an axe with a dull edge, the energy you expend and the power you apply will be spread out and dissipated over a dull edge. The axe becomes ineffecient and ineffective. You need to put in more time, energy, or force to accomplish the same amount of work . . .
“I’ll remember that,” I said, “when I cut down my next tree.”
“You won’t cut down trees,” he said. “But you’ll still need to remember it.”
“Why?”
“Because it can change the way you live.”
“How?”
“Replace the word “axe” with the words “your life.” If your life is dull, and you don’t sharpen its edge, then more strength must be exerted. A dull edge is one that is less focused. It doesn’t converge to a single point. The same with your life. If your life isn’t focused, if your life doesn’t have a single focus, if it’s spread out in many directions or with unclear purpose, then it will have a dull edge.

What an absurd assumption, that a person’s life should be as single-purpose as a tool for chopping wood.

This is what’s so ridiculous about believing that someone else is in charge. I would much rather have experiences just to have them, learn things just to learn them, go into the world asking every question I can think of instead of believing I already know the answers. That is one of the many things I hate about religion, the way it makes people fit their lives into a template.