Aphelion Editorial 036
The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...
by Dan L. Hollifield
Hello and welcome!
Well now... By the time that you read this
I'll be laying on the beach, watching the pretty girls walk past, and
soaking up the sunshine- both electromagnetic and liquid. In short; I'm
on vacation! If you live near Daytona, look for me at the Sunshine
Motel from May 5th thru May 15th. I'll be the third drunk on the right.
But... I'll be home again all too soon to suit me.
(Ahem, it's now well past time that I meant for you to read those
words, for this issue of Aphelion has been delayed by equipment failure
at our ISP. Also, one of our editors suffered from a bit of bad luck,
himself. The staff had to wait for me to come home and re-upload some
of the files for the new issue. Being on the beach, I was out of
e-touch with the world for some two weeks. OK, here's what we're going
to do- This issue is going to run until July to make up for the late
start. I'm also including both the May and June Mare Inebrium stories
that I had slated. This is our Contest issue also, so I doubt that the
quality of the stories will lead to complaints that they've been online
for an extra week or two. I apologise for the delay, but hard drives
will crash, I just thank heavens for the tape back-up. Kudos to
Aphelion's ISP's employees for working round the clock to repair the
damage! I guess that I need to buy a laptop to keep in touch on
vacations from now on. Well, back to the editorial as I wrote it last
But you don't want to hear about that, you want to know what I'm going to rant about this month.
Crank telephone calls, that's what.
We lost a dog during the last week of April. She jumped out of my
father-in-law's car at a local store and was seen to jump into a
stranger's vehicle. I made fliers, posted a reward all over a
five-county area, and collected dozens of false reports that so-and-so
had the dog. So far, all were fakes. I can accept that some of these
people had seen the wrong dog and were just trying to help, but the
ones that pissed me off were the fabrications. We called or drove to
check out reports that were just lies. My Lady-love was reduced to
tears time after time as we checked out pranks by people that thought
that making us run all over the state for no reason was a fun thing to
That sucks, frankly.
Have we descended that far? Is a momentary giggle worth causing pain
and suffering to an innocent woman? Has humanity sunk that low?
Evidently. Causing random pain to people that one doesn't know seems
to be the newest American pastime. Baseball runs far behind. (Forget
that I don't even like sports to begin with. Forget that our lives are
too short for such bull. But don't forget that a woman is crying even
as we speak. She's not the only one- life is full of real pain with
real causes that need to be fought.) So, what's so important about a
From the evidence, it gives all kinds of wise-asses the opportunity
to be cruel... to someone that they have never and will never even
Makes you proud to be an American, don't it?
OK, trivia. I can hear you say it. It’s only a dog, who gives a
rat's aperture? So, what if some dim-wits use that as an excuse to
cause random heartache to someone that they'll never meet?
But doesn't that reflect poorly upon the rest of us? I think that it
does. We should all care about what one another is feeling. Don't we
lose a bit of our humanity when some joker makes one of us cry? And
what of the parallels between a snatched dog and a kidnapped child?
Most pet-owners love their pets as if they were their children. Love
knows no species, in this case. Where is the reasoning behind such
pranks? What has caused humanity to become so perverse as to get
pleasure from hurting someone that is helpless and already in enough
pain as it is?
Well, if you're expecting me to have some glib, flip answer you're
going to be disappointed. I just don't know. Somehow, our last couple
of generations have been very lax in our parenting duties. We've failed
our children, you see. We've screwed up.
This is the same thing that allows kids to tote guns to school and
kill their classmates. As parents, we screwed up. I doubt that any more
of an awkward, socially-inept, clueless teenager could exist than what
I remember as myself growing up. I was one of those guys that you see
as the butt of all the jokes in the teen flicks of the last thirty
years. I wore glasses, was un-athletic, read actual books rather than
Cliff Notes, knew lots of the answers in class, moved from state to
state as my Father changed jobs- so I was usually the "new kid in
town", and was invisible to females until I went to college. I got beat
up a lot at school. Weekly- some weeks it was daily. I've been thrown
up against brick walls by drunken upperclassmen, kung-fu-ed at by
bullying peers, had knives pulled on me, heard my family and myself
insulted. In short, I was the typical '70s geek. You've heard it all
before, I'm sure. I endured, I occasionally fought back to some effect,
and I withstood a lot of abuse- but it never occurred to me to shoot
I was raised around guns and was taught both accuracy and safety
before I was taught to ride a bicycle. I often went out into the woods
and practiced with my Father's pistol. I knew where it was kept, I knew
how to load and shoot it effectively, I knew how to take it apart and
clean it- all before high school. Both of my parents worked full time-
I was one of the first of the "latch-key kids" and was unsupervised for
several hours each day after school. Any day I pleased, I could have
taken the pistol to school and blown away my tormentors- but it never
occurred to me to do so.
So what made me different from those kids today who massacre their classmates?
It wasn't religion- I don't want to go into it right now but as long
as I can remember I've always felt faith to be more important than
religion. (If you want me to explain that, tell it to the Lettercol and
I'll finally sit down and relate my beliefs in a webpage. I hate
arguing religion- I try to avoid it always.) It wasn't provocation- I
had oodles of that! It wasn't television- I saw JFK assassinated when I
was six. There were lots of killings and beatings on TV in the '50s and
'60s. It wasn't easy availability of weapons- I had that.
So you tell me. What was different? I can't tell you, I'm not an oracle. I'm an editor- a writer- no more, no less.
I lay it on parenting, myself. Mine evidently did a good job, or so I must assume.
By the way, how did I get from crank calls to here? LOL! Well, that's stream of consciousness for you.
Thanks for your time.
© 2000 Dan L. Hollifield
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