I’m always at a party somewhere
and it’s killing me
but the alcohol eases the pain
of being around other people
like my friend
who shoves his phone in my face
and says, “Hey Man, you GOTTA see THIS!”
as he starts a video
and although I probably didn’t want to see
whatever he had to show me
it was too late
because now I was watching it already
I was locked in
and what I was soon looking at
was some guy
having a really bad day.
It was a sunny afternoon.
It was a bad dive off a dock
and his face connected
with a concrete ledge
twenty feet down.
I am sure that he didn’t mean for it
to turn out like that.
You could hear the dull whack of
flesh on cement
and groans from those spectating.
Everyone there knew that it was bad
but they didn’t really know how bad
until the man surfaced
and floated face-down
in a growing pool of blood
as people around him
shouted in confusion.
A woman cried, “Oh my God! Oh my God!”
She started sobbing.
Things have such an eerie quality
to it when they’re real
even on a small screen.
The video cut to that man lying unconscious
on a hospital bed
with a large tube feeding him air.
The doctor holding his face together
pressing in with his hands
suddenly let go
and the entire thing split open
so that you could see all the way
to the back of his head
where his teeth now were.
His skull was halved like an apple
but somehow he was still alive
though you knew that he would
never be the same again
if he even survived the operation.
Now, I’m no expert
but I’m pretty sure that if you get certain things
shoved in your face all of the time that
you will eventually become numb to it
so this had got me thinking about how desensitized
we must be to find entertainment
in somebody’s life getting destroyed,
somebody with a family
with sisters and brothers
wives and children
and I could not help but think
that this was just a little
cold and sadistic
because it horrified me
to consider all of the pain
that man must now endure
as they attempted to reconstruct his face
and all of the surgeries that would follow,
the extensive hours in the hospital,
the bills and
what it was going to be like when he
looked in the mirror next or
every time for the rest of his life
if he wasn’t dead or a vegetable.
And now here we all are
with our faces still intact
cackling like demented hounds
again and again
passing the phone around the room:
“Hey! Come check THIS out!”
“Oh Dude, I gotta see THAT again!”
“Bahahaha…Fucker got it good!”
There is a growing sickness on the web
and in ourselves and
maybe it’s always been
a part of us
this interest to see others suffer
to watch them become humiliated
while seriously injuring themselves or others.
This is what happens when people
lose respect for human life
but just because they have
and just because it’s out there
(one mouse-click away)
doesn’t mean that I have to subscribe to it.
So the next time somebody
shoves a smartphone in my face
and shouts, “Hey Man, you GOTTA see this!”
I’m going to do the smart thing
and look away
because there are brutal things that
happen out there
and these things have a tendency to remain
with me once seen.
But it’s always good for a laugh, right?
As long as it doesn’t
happen to you
or anyone that you care about…