Thursday, February 7, 2013
Hello all you lovey readers, it's Salvic here with a look into the minds of the past. Before I get into the story, (I know you are excited to hear about it, but you will have to wait) It's Q&A time. UtopiaDreamer had yet another request of me and asked me if I would consider doing a blog on the book series "50 Shades of Grey".... umm, to that I would have to say no. First of all, while it is somewhat old, for some reason that I still can't comprehend, our great-grandmothers all read it while they were in their youth. I like to look at older stories than that. In my personal opinion, that particular series of books is nothing more than written pornography that I would just prefer I was not exposed to in a virtual reality, or VR as I like to refer to it, setting. Secondly, I would like to keep this blog at least respectable... think of the children! I'm sorry that I can't really use your request, but keep sending them in; the laws of statistics say that I will be able to use one eventually. My second question (I only have time for two, sorry lovelies) is from Gertrude Ironfist... interesting name, strong name. "Dear Salvic, I'm in love with you, will you marry me?" Well... Mrs. Ironfist... I'll have to pass. Please take no offense; it would just be unfair to all my other admirers. I do hope you understand.
Now, I know that you have been waiting patiently for what story that I decided to cover but trust me, it was well worth your wait. For this week’s blog, we go back to 1948 to a small town setting. This story, "The Lottery," written by Shirley Jackson, was recommended by the user UncagedMage, and has a powerful underlying message that I feel everyone will benefit from hearing.
As usual, I checked my netmail, poured myself a glass of Drazzer Cola, and got comfortable for the ride. The nodule gave me several options of which set of eyes to watch through. I could be a child, the husband, the woman that has an unfortunate time... or a bird sitting on a tree nearby. I figured that the bird would have a better overall view of the people involved in the story, so that's the view that I chose. The story starts off with a summer day. I'm sitting in a tree in the middle of a small town square, enjoying the sun on my feathers. (It's odd having feathers, just so you know) People start trickling in and gathering together around the town center. The men are talking, the boys playing, the girls watching the boys and giggling. The wives join the group talking to one another, spreading gossip here and there, and then they go to their husbands. What struck me as odd at this point in the story is that it was the middle of the day. These people seemed to simply drop their jobs and lives and said "Hey, I think that I'm going to go to the town square for a meeting." How long has it been since that was the norm? In our current society, time is highly valued, and we better be getting paid a lot of credits in order to drop something else. To these people, it was just something that they did. They didn't need any other reason other than that it was the thing to do... kind of makes me want that particular aspect of society to come back. "Well boss, I'm going out to grab a bite to eat in the middle of this important meeting. It is just what we do. I'm so very glad that you understand..." I digress, so back to the story.
Suddenly an old man came to the square carrying a worn, black painted box. The box was placed on a stool and two men, one a boy really, came and held the box while the old man stirred something inside it up. A lady came to the meeting late and apologized exclaiming that she forgot what day it was. I heard hushed whispers, usually children asking parents why they used the black box, or if the lottery had always been done. A few questions were asked by the old man about people being absent and if they were, who would draw for them. Once that was settled, the old man started calling out the names of heads of the household. One by one, the man of the house (or in a few cases boy, or woman) stepped forward and hesitantly took a piece of what looked to be paper from the box. They were calling this meeting a lottery. Now, where I come from, winning the lottery would be a welcome thing indeed; however, these people seemed on edge, not wanting to draw a paper from the box. I wondered to myself... "What kind of lottery could this be?"
Somewhere in the middle of the picking papers, someone commented out loud that the village up north was talking about giving up the lottery. An old man retorted that young folk thought that nothing was ever good enough for them, and that the next thing they would know would be that the young folk would want them to go back to living in caves. He then went on to say that there had always been a lottery, and that and old saying said that if you had one, you would get a good harvest, and that if they did not have the lottery they would all end up eating chickweed and acorns. To me, this a classic example of elderly people not liking change and doing everything in their power to stop it from happening. (All you elderly people reading this, no offense intended... after all, you are obviously not afraid of change if you follow me.)
After the papers were picked, the old man running the show told everyone to look at the papers. Everyone waited bated breath as the men opened the papers. The the wives immediately started asking who got it. A man named Bill seemed to get what they were looking for, and his wife immediately started complaining that he didn't have the proper amount of time to choose. I'll admit, at this point, I do not have a clue what the "Prize" is. I assume that it's some sort of tax, or chore that the town will have them do. Judging from her reaction, I suspected that the man might have to go to war, or the wife would have to cook and clean up after the whole town for the rest of the year... boy was I surprised when I found out, and like me, you will have to wait to know yourself.
Papers were placed back in the box and it was mixed back up again. One for each member of the family it seemed. The wife was still complaining and her husband said to shut up. In modern times, saying shut up is not that big a deal, but back then, from what I have read, it was. This must have been a tense time for them for him to tell her to shut up in public like that. One by one, the wife complaining throughout the whole process, each member of the family save the youngest son (the father helped him) picked a paper out of the box. One by one, the family opened the slips. The wife wouldn't show the crowd hers. By process of elimination, it was known that she won the lottery and the organizer made her husband show the crowd. She again claimed that it wasn't fair as the crowd surrounded her and started pelting her with rocks. They needed to conclude the lottery quickly so that they wouldn't miss lunch. The town didn't seem to care that the woman didn't find her fortune particularly lucky.
Now if you are anything like me, you consider the story barbaric. Tell me this, my lovely subscribers: Can you honestly tell me that you have never done anything solely because of tradition? The people in this story didn't know why the lottery happened but largely followed along out of habit and tradition. Come on... you know you do it. How many of you have kissed your loved one into the new year? How many of you say "bless you" when someone sneezes? Just like those things that we have been brought up to do out of habit, these people held a tradition that, while brutal and senseless to our modern day minds, was simply what was expected in their culture. Before you throw the first metaphorical stone at the stone-throwing characters in this story, let me suggest to you that you evaluate your lives and see all the stones you yourself have been throwing. Do you make fun of someone just because everyone else does, because it has become a tradition to your circle of friends? Do you say or do things simply to fit in with what everyone else expects? Is there anything else that you do, yet have no recollection of why you do them? These things are for you to dwell on, not to tell me about. What I would like you to tell me about is some old literature, that has been made into a VR nodule, that you would like to hear my insight on. Any other questions are welcome as well, and don't forget to tell your friends about me. Be sure to like and subscribe if you haven't already. Also, I decided to try something new this week. many of you know that I am fond of old music, mostly rock and alternative. I think that it's a travesty that many people don't know these great songs that I love. In the blog post is a name of a band and the song that I want you to listen to. Just look for the bolded and underlined letters, look up the song, listen to it, and write me a line of lyrics from it. I'll give the first person to correctly post me a line of lyrics from that song, a mental encryption of the album it came from. This has been Salvic Rodvic and I'm out.