Gimme Gotcha

When Talya was five, she asked me if life could be a dream.

I wondered if the concept of Family could be a dream, a fiction designed to camouflage the dissonances of hearth and home. Does Family mean Gimme. Gotcha. You owe me?

What about the Human family? Does it mean that some members are more desirable than others? I have never heard of a horse cramming its own into ovens in places like Buchenwald. Violence in the Human family is being called a World Health Problem. The world, it would seem, is sick. Sick, sadly, in more ways than we can blame on covid 19.

As we kill off our young, in wars cloned from one landscape to another, what happens to the future of our species? Not to worry. We will soon upload our memories and consciousness into robots. We will send hordes of these robots into space. They will create unrecognizable off-spring who will populate other galaxies. Aren't you comforted?

The elite of all ages have been driven to prove that their way is the only way. Do you really think that paradigm has changed? The Gimmes thought they could make a killing in real estate in Vietnam. The Gotchas saw Baghdad as a place to market cell phones. How do we tell the Gimmes and the Gotchas from the true heroes, those who destroy, from those who create? How do we vote for a better society for all when some candidates want only bigger wallets for themselves? When some hide their hatreds behind slogans, and other don't bother to hide them at all?

It's not new. It's eerily familiar. Do you remember these lyrics?(1)

Landlords mad and getting madder

Ain't we got fun

Times are so bad and getting badder

Still we have fun

There's nothing surer

The rich get rich and the poor poorer

In the meantime

In between time

Ain't we got fun

If we can't drink the water, foul up the air, if we drive off our allies...should we care? If we don't, who will? What will I tell young Talya? If life is a dream, who will wake us up?

It is easy to despair.

And then the phone rings, and a small voice pleads, "Nana, won't you please come out of the phone and kill the monster under my bed?" And there is hope after all.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2020

adapted from the book "Gimme Gotcha", c. Corinne Whitaker, 2014

(1) Here's the Mitch Miller and the Gang version. Doris Day and Benny Goodman also performed it.