I saw an article in the newspaper this past week, likely you saw it too, of a man who had killed a lion with a bow and arrow. The product that came from that hunt was a picture. The lion was not endangering folks, the meat wasn’t eaten, they didn’t even stuff the lion for a museum or use his body to study lions. The man showed skill, got a thrill and they took a picture.
The world is full of shock and outrage, I feel that too. But I also feel disturbed about our society. Trophy pictures of folks with their big fish, or deer, or even lion are nothing new.
Here’s the thing:
Isn’t the trophy picture the origin of the selfie? Now, sometimes, it feels like we live our lives in trophy picture mode. We are all shouting: “Look at me! See what I did! See where I am? See who I am with?” at the top of our lungs (figuratively speaking, since we usually are posting on facebook with the thump of our fingers).
It disturbs us when someone takes the egotism to the next level. Big game hunting isn’t new, in fact my distress is because I thought it was old hat, and we were, as a society, beyond killing a big, beautiful, majestic animal to take a trophy picture. That we had moved on in our understanding about animals and the complex diversity of life “on this fragile earth, our island home”*. That we no longer feel like everything was put here just for us. That we are stewards of creation, not petty dictators.
Isn’t the whole selfie craze a form of trophy hunting?
I went on a three day safari at Masai Mara in Kenya a few years ago. It was pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming incredible. I took many, many, many pictures…and posted some of them on facebook. I couldn’t resist sharing!
Seeing lions was a real high point of that trip (Masai Mara is famous for lions) and I took about a hundred pictures of lions, but I didn’t feel a need to be in the picture. The most awesome, amazing, incredible experience of my life and no selfie! Does that mean I wasn’t there?
Owning a single-wide mobile home in the desert with a pop-out sitting on a quarter acre of hell with crappy roads that are getting worse with no end in sight.
Last Friday Grandma said that the power bill was really high. It didn’t make sense based on previous usage and no one is there right now so it should be lower. I looked at the data, then called the electric company. They went into their data and could see that for the first week after the trailer was vacant the power usage was very consistent and at a lower than occupied level, suddenly on June 7 it jumped by a factor of three. It has stayed at that high level ever since.
The lady I spoke with mentioned that sometimes when a property is vacant people just pull up with a motor home and plug in. She suggested I call the police to go look around. They did, no outward sign of a problem, thank goodness. But now the mystery requires trouble shooting from far away.
Before this came up I was already having nightmares about the trailer, I believe they came from knowing what a gosh awful decision it was to purchase it in the first place, doing so even though I knew it was a bad decision…and not being able to get rid of the cursed thing and move on.
My new nightmare is a week in the desert in August. 107 degrees and 30 mile an hour winds…what’s not to love?
I was helping my grandmother with some paperwork and she was complaining about how dark her apartment was. I said we could turn on the lights. She said “I hate ceiling lights.” Then proceeded to rant about them. I knew that it was time for me to leave.
I sometimes have foresight: certain outcomes are very easy to predict. I have even had a few deja vu dreams. It never does any good. One person with foresight (or modest reasoning skills) cannot change most outcomes. People have a gift for not hearing what they don’t want to hear, and someone else pointing out an inevitable outcome does no good.
One of the existentialists wrote about coming back knowing the results of your decisions…and being forced by circumstances to make those same decisions again. So mostly I don’t think much of foresight.
And yet…I am trying to help my grandmother apply for Veteran’s Administration (VA) Aid and Assistance. I was pointed in the direction of a “VA Accredited Claims Agent”. They charge a fee, a relatively hefty one, especially considering that the people they represent are low income. The fee has to be paid by someone other than the veteran or surviving spouse…and the payer is not to be reimbursed.
They sent me some paperwork and reading it makes me wonder whether they are on the up and up. I don’t know that there is anything wrong; it just has a slimy feel. A little foresight would not come amiss right now. It could save me both money and angst. It might be worth a day (especially if it save me a bunch of time and trouble) to know whether trusting these folks is a good idea or not.
On the other hand if they are competent it could be worth it. I am having trouble getting the time to do the most basic stuff. Not using this outfit means trying to find someone else to help. I make calls in the morning, then go to deal with my grandmother’s dogs so she can go to lunch, plus miscellaneous errands, come home to find I have missed the return calls. Try again. It can take more than a week to speak to one person and not be any further ahead. I would definitely give up a hot day running errands and scooping poop for the foresight to know if this is worth it.
Throughout my life many things have provided inspiration. Not feeling any particular motivation right now so I went through all of my digital pictures, and I think I have taken more pictures of the great blue herons that live near my dad’s house than any other single subject. I found myself taking pictures of them again just yesterday.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Muse.”