Reactions to recent events, by Barry Silverberg
Paranoia: 'a delusional condition characterized by the unfounded distrust of others often accompanied by feelings of persecution.' (Dickepedia: It's a dictionary and an encyclopedia!)
" Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there aren’t people out there who want to get you." /Billious William (not long after he was heard to say this, they got him.)
In today's world there's plenty to be paranoid about. But when you live in a country under constant threat of extinction by enemies without, enemies within, and enemies crawling through the tunnels in between, you can't retreat into paranoia. Paranoia here is a healthy reaction to reality. Those who retreat into delusion develop an unfounded trust of others. Rather than feel persecuted, they live in the illusion that they are upsecuted, that everybody means well. Instead of paranoia, we have what I can only call rectinoia, from the Latin , rect, meaning righteous, straight, or a built structure, and Noya, lack of vision, also the girl who bags my groceries at SuperSal: Rectinoia is like walking straight off a bridge wearing a blindfold because somebody told you it's a footpath.
Here are some recent news items indicating that rectinoia is spreading.. Not long ago,. I reported hearing a news item that the Palestinian 'Shaweeah' – what they have instead of the bagrut, had been stolen at gunpoint by gunmen in jeeps (perhaps, due to the nature of the booty, that it was hijacked by gunboys and gungirls; it's hard to tell with those masks.) Well, either not all of them were stolen, or maybe the stolen ones still got checked somehow, for the graduates received their grades about ten days ago as I write this. Apparently there was great rejoicing in the areas no-longer- controlled by Israel, and as is customary in times of rejoicing, many shots were fired into the air. And, riding down Kvish Shesh, some poor schmuck of a driver gets a bullet in his head. Maybe he was just an airhead. But the reporters and the police all rush to tell us that this was no act of terrorism. Just a bunch of teenagers getting out of hand.
We can just shudder what would have happened if the grades had been bad. But the victim, if he dies, does not get to extend the Memorial Day list; the fire that intersected with his head was relatively friendly. ( And doesn't it make you wonder; all those people who get killed by friendly fire; is that where the Friendly Ghosts come from?)
Today there was another one: Engine engine, number nine, traveling down the Haifa line…
Despite the recent rash of TV spots telling people not to drive across the tracks when the bell is ringing, the train encounters a truck parked on the track and ploughs right through it. Thank God, nobody is injured. And it could have been a lot worse, we are informed, because the truck was filled with barrels of 'solar' fuel (Not sun energy but diesel fuel.) And the truck belonged to a Bedouin. But not to worry; this was not a terrorist booby trap
. Once again, rectinoia creeps in. We put ourselves in the seat of the perpetrator and rationalize his actions: Hmm hmmm hhmmmm hey! Whoa! I've got this truck full of diesel engine fuel and I could really go for a pizza. But where can I leave my truck? Under these trees? No, I'll get bird droppings all over my fuel barrels. I know! These steel rails will really hold the truck from rolling down the hill. I don't even have to leave it in gear! Mmmm, getting dark soon. I'll just leave a little bonfire here by the back tire. Way cool. How will I remember to put it out? I know! I'll just tie this here rope around my neck so I won't forget.
We are under attack on five fronts and six behinds, yet everyone is complacent. You go to the Kinerret and step on a fish, you die of a new strain of bacteria. You go for a walk and lean against a tree in Tel Aviv, and Venezuelan fire ants rip the skin off your back. The pioneers of old, all they had to worry about was getting shot and malaria. We still have those on top of everything else, but nobody seems worried.
Recent reports inform us that our home front is woefully unprepared for a chemical warfare attack. Syria, Oscar winner for the past ten years for 'best deployment of unconventional weaponry', is re arming like crazy, and the average Israeli household either has forgotten where we put the masks in 2005 or they've beaten them into cat food dishes. Asked if there should be a redistribution of gas masks, Defense Minister Barak says he doesn't want to alarm the Syrians, who, with the odd exception, have been so benevolent to us in the past. Maybe we need to develop a rectinoia gas and spray them with it. Or maybe just slip it into a lot of tired trout, and wait for them to step on it.
/ Barry Silverberg, August, 2007