Take up arms, people! We live in a violent world. A world where a certain segment of the population knows no boundaries, abides by few rules. They look to prey on the weak, those who are unaware, the people who are blissfully content to believe that if they live a just life, and are fair in their dealings with others, that no harm will befall them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Arm yourselves with weapons. Arms yourselves with knowledge. Arm yourselves with awareness. Arm yourselves with the ability to move from quiet defense to balls-to-the-wall offense at the flip of a switch. Your life will depend on all of these. There are people living among us who are seeking any opportunity to take advantage, for that sliver of vulnerability, of our bodies and our minds, to harm us in the physical world, in the digital world, in the psychic world. We must remember that life is not fair, life doesn't not protect the good and decent, life is completely and utterly neutral on ethics and morality. And when we are in battle, know that it is the ultimate zero-sum game: One person wins, another loses. It's as simple as that. There is no room for what is "deserved." There is no room for "fairness." There is only survival. And when someone is trying to take something from you, you must take up arms. In every way possible.
Our mothers said we took baths together when we were babies. I splashed you; you splashed me. And it was sitting under an oak street, out in the fields behinds your house, that you told me we'd be married forever. We shared an ice cream cone and I showed you how to throw a pine cone. You tried your best, but it didn't go too far. And we giggled at that. I told you that after our high school graduation we'd start looking for our own place together. It had to have an extra room, you insisted, for the future. But the workadays turned into workaweeks, which stretched into workayears. And with the slow, quiet passage of time, you floated one way, while I drifted another. One day, a friend told me you were getting hitched with a guy from your circle of town acquaintances. I wondered if you'd ever thought of me. I wondered if you'd remembered the oak street, or the melted ice cream, or me kissing your cheek before you stood up for your diploma? Did I cross your mind, or had I become just a long ago playmate that stayed for a while but then passed through your life?
Alfred C. Martino
Updates from everyday life as seen by me