You know that moment when you realize that you will never ever ever get anything you want and it isn’t the fault of your abject poverty or your class or society at large, it’s all your fucking fault and you could change it but you literally can’t because you have lost every bit of hope and confidence you may have once had, it’s been torn out from your ashamed heart in handfuls, and now here you are, surrounded by people who are better than you because they’re happier than you will ever be, craving a cigarette you’re too shy to go out and get for yourself, waiting for something to happen to you because that’s all you’re allowed to hope for now, the agency and kindness of other people? Yes, that’s the moment you consider suicide and don’t do it only because you want to be theatrical at least in death, you want to be the centre of attention at least once and even that won’t happen because no one will give a fuck if you do it, not your mother, not your father, certainly not the people you work with day in and day out, most of the people you know don’t know you and wouldn’t care if one day you disappeared from the fringes of their lives. How do you learn to be happy after a lifetime of fear and loneliness?
Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.
“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.
“I feel all sleepy, ” she said.
In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.
The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her.
That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.
On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.
It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness.
Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk.
In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.
Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year.
Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another.
At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections.
About 20 will die.
LET THAT SINK IN.
Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.
So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?
They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.
So what on earth are you worrying about?
It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.”
Roald Dahl, 1986
American music culture 101, from Country to Rock to Pop to Hip-hop, in 3 easy steps:
1. when black americans invent it, initially detest it, mock it, claim it is destroying american youth and proper sensibilities
2. realize it isn’t going anywhere, co-opt it, engage in it and profit from it
3. obscure its origins and repackage it in such a way that the next generation understands it as a product of white american excellence
“I’m not used to being loved. I wouldn’t know what to do.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, More Than Just A House (via bruisinq)