Carlin notoriously wrote that the innocent victim was an outmoded idea. That there are no innocent victims. And if you’re born into this world, you’re guilty, period, fuck you, end of report, next case. Your birth certificate is proof of guilt.
It was always one of my favorite bits.
All comedy aside, though, what the hippie dippy weatherman was hinting at was something terrifying that we rarely confront:
We haven’t grown up enough yet to know that we were never innocent in the first place.
Give that thought a moment to sink down into your solar plexus.
It reminds me of a poignant article published on the anniversary of the most devastating assassination in our nation’s history. The journalist wrote:
What we lost, and what we have been mourning and seeking to restore since that day, is the image of country as this place where all skies are endless, all possibilities are open, and all big things are doable, that sense of ourselves as a nation in spring. But we were never innocent. What we were, you see, was young.
Perhaps losing our innocence, then, is this integral part of coming of age. And maybe it’s not event, maybe it’s a process. Where we widen our awareness of evil and pain and suffering in the world around us, but we also realize, oh wait, maybe all those enthusiasms and joys and voracities of our youth are still available to us, they just require a lot more work to secure and sustain.
Look, we can’t unring the innocence bell. We can’t return to that naive time before the world sank its jaws into us.
But just as swiftly as the sky will turn blue again, we can always choose to bask contentedly in the peace of where we are today, grateful for the magic carpet ride of history that brought us here.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you grown up enough to know that you were never innocent?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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