Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Forgive My Naïveté, Six Years Ago Today

I wrote this journal entry a few days after September 11, 2001 - September 16th - on an old website of mine, writing under the pseudonym Jeffrey Champ. I was about 19 at the time, so please forgive my naïveté...

#0023: The One Without a Title
By Jeffrey Champ

This one is serious this time. Gravely serious. I just could not think of an appropriate title.

I could have written about the events of September 11, 2001, on, well, September 11, 2001. But I felt I needed time to take it all in. I needed time to watch the news. I needed time to feel the whole spectrum of emotions associated with something that is not often associable.

Something to think about: The continent could have been easily folded diagonally.


September 11, 2001. I woke up early that day. I am not going to bore you with specifics of my day, but there it was. The television was on. New York City. Smoke everywhere. Like a really bad science fiction film? Yes. At that moment, I could only think of one word: epic. There it was, the greatest city in the world--Rome itself, as John Lennon once put it--on fire. Epic. In a perverse way, the camera shot showing the City from the sea--miles removed from the actual chaos--seemed serene. Why? I do not know. I do not even remember why I felt that way. Maybe it was Step One in the evolution of my emotions for the whole week.

If you have any exposure to the current events, you probably have heard it all. Four planes crashed. The Towers collapsed. The Pentagon. The souls lost. Their loved ones desperately seeking to find them. This day became more real to me. Real. With names. With faces. Very human. Very fragile.

Then there is all the heroism. All the emergency employees--police, fire, medicine, volunteers, etc.--just doing their job. Heroes by just doing their job. By putting their lives on the line--and past the line--all in a day's work.

And then there are the hijacked hostages who fought back. I seriously wonder if I would do the same. I would like to believe that I could, and that I would. If I could only have a pinky finger's amount of whatever they had--

It has been said before and will be said often in the future: God Bless America.

I have been reading what the Internet community has been writing on this subject. People with websites who have updated recently. From personal homepages to what the World Wrestling Federation has to say. I personally recommend recording artist Moby's website. He lives a stone's throw from where the Towers used to stand. He updates his thoughts regularly, speaks his mind, and has many regretful afterthoughts for posting too hastily. Just click on "Moby Updates."

Speaking of community, the streets of America seem more friendly, more empathetic. I guess it is true that an extreme event usually brings out the extremes of human nature, for better or for worse. Good people are better people; bad people are worse people. I can only cling to the hope that good people outnumber bad people. I truly hope I am correct.

I am going off on a tangent, but here goes: A few months ago, I wrote this song. Without going into much detail, it seems really ironic in light of recent events. Maybe I will perform it one day, if and when I do perform music in front of people again. But then again, it is not much of a song. Not really a good song, either.


"Don't feel like Satan / But I am to them," wrote and sang Neil Young in the song "Rockin' in the Free World." Terrorists. Allegedly Islamic fanatics. What I am about to say might bite me in the ass later, but I feel like going out on a limb here. I believe that the Allah of these 19 dead hijackers--and their very much alive co-conspirators--is not the same Allah that the innocent Muslims worship and serve. Why do I say that? Think about it. If you are a Christian, is the Jesus Christ you follow the same Jesus Christ that hate criminals obey? Is the God that bids you to love the same God who bids them to hate? Oh, hell no. (I am assuming that you, the reader, have chosen the side of love and all the positive qualities of humanity. Please prove me right.) Bold statements? You bet your ass. Short-sighted? Probably. Stupid? It's your opinion. It's a free country. God Bless America.

And that is how I feel about the subject. Remember to be kind to each other. Love your loved ones. Give blood. Give money. Give prayers. Give. Thank you for reading.

God Bless America,
Jeffrey Champ

"She is Liberty / And she comes to rescue me"
- U2, "In God's Country"
(AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

This is a follow-up journal entry, written the next day, September 17th. I call these "journal entries" because I had no idea what a blog was six years ago. And what was the deal with these Friends episode-inspired titles?

#0024: The One With a Title
By Jeffrey Champ

The last time I tried my hand at being humorous was late at night on September 9, 2001. I posted the script of "Remember the Hey, Yeah?" on September 10, 2001. It had been a long time since I wrote an "episode," so it surely was not reflective of my best work.

But I digress. I wrote a bizarrely somber piece yesterday (the 16th)--"The One Without a Title"--and I really do not know how to make of that Thought. Sometimes it makes sense to me; other times I don't remember what the hell I was thinking at that moment. But this Thought, this one right here, will have a little more life to it. I still have a lot to say about Tuesday's tragedies (plural because the singular cannot justify the amount of pain handed that day). But I still have a lot of laughter in me, and I hope you do too. But I apologize in advance for any inappropriate sarcasm.

Friday the 7th
Interstate 10. Eastbound. Rush hour (which also deserves the pluralized treatment). Looking around, looking around. All sorts of people in all sorts of automotive vehicles, talking on all sorts of cellular phones. I am not here to talk about safe driving habits. No, I just realized, at that moment, how silly mass culture had become. Everyone needs a cell phone. Everyone talks on a cell phone. Talking on it. Into it. All the livelong day.

I thought back to when times were simpler. Back to the time before I knew how to use a PC. Even before then. Back when the cassette tape section of the record store was prominent. When only people named Zack owned a cell phone, a big ass one at that. Bigger than Jeffrey Champ's "I'm happy to see you all the time when I put my cell phone in my pants pocket" cell phone.

Again, I digress. Y'know, the time when no one had cell phones. I became a little nostalgic of apparently simpler times. Oh, how sweet the past was when you don't quite remember how the past really was. Sure cell phones are convenient, but I was thinking at that moment that maybe too much of a good thing wasn't that great.

Sing it, Stevie!
And so four planes were hijacked. Yeah, you know where I'm heading with this. People onboard the doomed airplanes--with their wireless telecommunicators (not a real word, or so my spell checker would have you to believe)--called their loved ones for the last time. "I just called to say 'I Love You'" kind of thing. People in the Towers, on the highest floors, did the same when the people in the planes disappeared. They shared their final emotions with the people they actually cared for via phone and/or email. Those trapped in the rubble in the aftermath used their little Nokias and their little Qualcomms and their big ass Zack Morrises. For some, it lead to their rescue and subsequent safety. For many, it was one last call. One last "Hello." One last "I Love You." One last "Goodbye."

So I've done maybe not a 180, more like a 143 (or any other arbitrary number that does not equal 180 degrees). Technology gone bad is technology gone bad, but technology is not inherently bad. Nuclear power? Heads says energy, tails says death. That's all I have to say about that one, for now. Thanks for reading.

So that's that. Thanks for driving down memory lane with me.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note: Comments are open only for seven days after publication of each blog entry.