My husband told me, (he told me, because I don’t read the news), my husband told me that there was a man in Baghdad, a doctor, with a family of six, that couldn’t leave his apartment because there was a war going on outside. His children had to crawl on their bellies into the bathroom to avoid gunfire. After being trapped for 10 days he managed to make contact with someone in the media. The story took hold like wildfire. The U.S. became very sympathetic. Middle class housewives shook their heads and blew their noses in front of the evening news. The U.S. sent in military to remove the doctor and his family of six from their prison/home. They gave them access to housing in the green zone. Everyone nodded and shook hands. The housewives were satisfied. Their meaningless faith in government upheld, they thanked their gods in their warm churches.
2 months later the doctor and his family were kicked out of the green zone. Denied access. They had nowhere to go. But no one cares anymore. The housewives have moved on to the next story.
There are horrible things in this world. There are people right this very second, but not just this second, but every second of every day of every year, there are people, thousands, millions of people who are, right this very second experiencing life outside of the green zone. There are people right this very second who are having such traumatic experiences that they will never laugh again for the rest of their lives. There are people who are dying, killing, maiming, torturing, beating, castrating, moaning, begging, weeping, grieving, ignoring, burning, starving, stealing, stabbing, bleeding and hating. Right now. Every second these things are happening to someone, somewhere.
But, not to me.
There is no tragedy here.
Not in my life. Not on my street. Not in my town.
I live in a green zone.
My life’s experience is barricaded for eight miles around.
Tragedy doesn’t have the proper identification to pass through.
Every now and then, this occurs to me.
And I feel guilt.
I feel green zone guilt.
I catch myself feeling depressed because my kitchen floor needs mopping.
I feel defeated for days when I can’t afford to go to Las Vegas.
I wonder: who would I become if tragedy blew up a bomb in my cafeteria?
Would I feel bitterness for people living without sadness?
There’s no way to tell. And there are many kinds of sadnesses.
But there is one thing I realize over and over again:
The worst thing I can possibly do with my time on this earth, with this life,
is be depressed, to pity myself, to feel sorry for the things I don’t have or can’t do.
The worst thing I could possibly do is to waste any moment of this precious life where the wheel of fate has placed me in a green zone.
Yes, I have a green zone life. I am luckier than others.
And if I do anything other than celebrate every chance I get, pop every cork in every bottle of champagne, paint with every color of the rainbow, tell every joke 1,000 times, if I do anything other than live this life to the fullest joy imaginable,
than I am a waste of green zone space.
There are those above me in the golden zone. There are those that are more fortunate than I am, but it doesn’t hurt me that they have golden lives. What hurts, is, when they waste that golden zone space and fill it up with unhappiness. It doesn’t hurt because they have more than I have. It hurts because they waste it.
It does not hurt to think of that Powerball-winner I saw on Oprah wearing a Hawaiin shirt, and a huge grin, giving two thumbs-up to the world. He was not a waster, you see. He made me laugh, he made me feel happy, he made me say, “That’s what I want to be like if I ever have a golden zone life.”
I have a green zone life, and there are those who are less fortunate. Some live in red zones, black zones, death zones. The thought makes me sad, but I will not be a green zone waster. I will strive to be worthy of my green zone space by making the most of it and loving every minute of it that I can.
I will also forgive myself the times that I can’t. Not forgiving myself is just another wasteful feeling. I will allow the grief and the depression and the moping to be felt sometimes. But not for long.
I will rise from those wasting feelings again and again.
I will be a green zone phoenix, and I will cry every morning when I open my eyes.
Not tears, but a war cry. It is a war cry I scream out and it sounds like laughing babies.
It sounds like Bugs Bunny munching carrots behind Elmer Fudd’s back.
It sounds like the cracking of Devo’s whip.
It sounds like an OKGO treadmill.
It sounds like the secret word on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
It sounds like fun.
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