Monday was the deadline for another column, and so right now I should be polishing up 500 words or so about why women do more housekeeping than men and bundling it off to the Ahwatukee Foothills News.
But I can’t. Well, to be precise, I can, and I did, but I can’t send it. I’m staring at some wisecracks about cleaning supplies but when I’ve spent the afternoon listening to the news about the Boston Marathon, I can’t get it up to throw this one over the wall and on to your driveway.
This is why I quit listening to the news about five years ago. At first it was the growing tidal wave of the economic downturn: I’d get into my car every morning a cheerful and happy woman, but each successive story of impending financial doom would send me deeper into a death spiral of worry during the drive through the Dreamy Draw so by the time I got to work I’d emerge weak-kneed and terrified.
Layer on the stories of our own human brutality, of Aurora and Newtown and Virginia Tech and even, Lord help us (and I don’t mean that figuratively) a grocery store parking lot in Tucson, and I had pretty much given up on wanting to know anything that was going on. I stuck to home improvement articles and celebrity gossip.
And sports, of course. Sports were safe. The worst thing that could happen in sports was something like Tiger Woods melting into his own cesspool of infidelities in 2009, or horrible reffing costing the Suns playoff wins in any Fill In The Blank year. The Philadelphia Eagles kept choking on the big ones, but that’s not even news anymore.
Yes, sometimes there is atrocious news, even in athletics, and even at the Boston Marathon. Way back in 1980, Rosie Ruiz managed to defile the race with some poorly-concealed subterfuge in an effort to “win” the competition. But even then, she only hurt herself when she pretended to run the entire course. Every spectator was able to go home that evening and hug their 8-year-old son, not bury him. Rosie’s alibi was the only thing that blew up and that’s the way it should be.
But the news intruded again on Monday. Even as I read the horrific updates from Boston, the other headlines (helpfully supplied by the news agencies to keep me informed) try to tempt me to click on their horror as well: “9 year old groped in Manhattan” and “7 murdered in Cancun” and “Girl killed by garage door.” And stories about abortion doctors in Philadelphia, alongside stories wondering why we don’t have more stories about the abortion doctor in Philadelphia.
Whatever sports events are being held tonight will feature the now-ubiquitous moment of silence that honors the victims of Fill In The Blank.
Moment of silence? We should hold a Moment of Screaming. Screaming for the victims of Fill In The Blank, for their anguished loved ones, for the bereft mothers, and for the orphaned children. And for everyone who just can’t stand to look anymore.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to honor victims everywhere right now: I’m pulling the covers over my head and not coming out.
I’ll just be a moment.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.