When I was a kid, lots of big talk.
Dares. Chicken if you don't. Threats; Touch me and you'll be sorry. Most of the time, nothing fatal; just being big-time; tough; movie gangster talk. Occasionally, a scuffle. Rarely, an out-and-out slugfest. More shouting and pushing and shoving and then wiser heads—a neighbor? somebody's brother?—telling everyone to break it up.
Nobody gets killed. Umm; Pretty much. Little qualifier.
On the other hand, there are the so-called adults. Just one, "Oh, yeah?" leads to another and then masculinity is on the line. Fists, at the least. Weapons quite possible. Can't back down; if you do, there goes your rep; and rep's gone that's it, kid; you're through. I mean, respect? Fageddaboutit.
Makes me wonder, when I consider the increasingly terrifying violence we're all exposed to wherever we look.
When I was a kid, it was games; I'm a cowboy you're an Indian—Indians always bad; cowboys good; what did we know?—toy guns or just pretending; fingers pointing; Bang! Bang! gotcha! Movies filled with action; galloping horses, fights; and sometimes; gangsters; cops and robbers; occasionally shooting; dramatic final scene; dying bad guy.
Later more elaborate films; soldiers; armies; bombs; lots of death; explosions; ships sinking; then hand-to-hand combat; bayonets; and more and more and now we're in outer space; invasions; battles; weapons we haven't even developed yet, already in use.
What's going on here?
Wars. Deaths piled upon deaths; real. No pretend.
Millions killed in battles; from the beginning of recorded history; scenes painted on walls; carved in stones; recorded in ancient scrolls. Non-stop. Always going on somewhere.
Weapons that can end it all.
When you get right down to it; seems everybody's angry at somebody. Blood boiling; can hear the bubbling. Movies didn't start it. Biblical scrolls didn't start it. They're just recording the scene; right there; see? That guy? Hear that? Look at that. It's all of them. It's him. He said it; not me. Threaten me? You think I don't know what you're up to?
Cowboys and Indians.
Good guys and bad guys.
Born bad. Born good.
Just plain born.
What to do?
Smile at everyone.
But don't look weird.