Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I was an unearthly child.

Tuesday morning ~ I had never gone to bed. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t sleep. Wide awake and tense, I could feel something in the air, but I didn’t know what.

I stayed by the window, just watching, waiting. The postman was coming up, and being that the postmen and women out here have been known to chuck the mail at my house and run away like so many “ding dong ditchers” I knew it would be best for me to keep lookout, if I couldn’t sleep.
Finally, the postman ran up, checking at my doorstep a package that was two days early. I had a gut feeling it was the $12.56 I had just spent, shipping included, returning to me in the form of something rare.

Upon opening the package, I was delighted to see a polite “thank you” post-it from (by way of Amazon) and beneath that, the very book I had waited 20 years to own…

Now, to tell you this story, I have to go back in time. WAY back.

I was brought up a Whoite by my mother. For those who don’t know, that’s the old term for a Doctor Who fan. Today, Hollywood calls us “Whovians” but once we were Whoites. Each Sunday night, we’d watch Star Trek : The Next Generation, the pop on over to WTTW (Chicago’s PBS station) to watch Doctor Who. The episodes came to us mixed up, way out of order. Some nights, we’d watch one episode with Doctor #3 (Jon Pertwee) followed by two episodes with Doctor #4. (Tom Baker) Other nights we’d watch Doctor #7 (Sylvester McCoy) travel through time and space with his companion, Ace.

When I was 5, not yet 6, I went to the school library one day, and discovered this book, sitting on a tall shelf that nobody went near.

Who would believe it? It’s not an educational book, so how did it end up here?

What’s more is that NOBODY at the school had EVER heard of Doctor Who before!
But somehow they had acquired this book.

The book was written in 1986, so it’s as old as I am. It’s an alphabetized list of companions the Doctor had (up through Mel) with notes written by the late John Nathan Turner, who worked on Doctor Who from the late 1960’s until 1989, and from there appeared for many other Doctor Who related projects until his death in 2001.

Every week, I would check this book out, along with 2-5 other books. Nobody else wanted that book, so I never saw the harm in it.

Too bad the librarian did.

Every week, I would be bitched out by the librarian and school faculty ~ many of whom I did NOT know personally ~ because they were sick of me checking out the same book.

Mama would have to come to my defense every week, proving with book reports and photos that I WASN’T just reading “that book” but many others as well. In fact, I would re-read the book after my homework, as a present to myself.

“Koriander needs to stop hogging that book so the other children can borrow it!”

The 9th time I heard that lame excuse, I brought over all of my classmates, my bullies, and even children from other classes. Each boy and girl told the truth. They didn’t know anything about Doctor Who, didn’t want to know anything, were sick of me even bringing it up, and furthermore they did NOT want that book.

“Koriander needs to broaden her horizons! She can’t ONLY read about Doctor Who.”

After my verbal report on the beheading of Marie Antoinette ~ complete with a scaled model re-enactment involving a Barbie doll and a working guillotine I had made out of popsicle sticks, this myth of me being closed-minded was busted.

I was doing extra schoolwork, which actually pissed off the school board. They threatened to hold me back a year, just because I was “showing them up”.

I was being punished for being a studious child, and liking a book they didn’t want me to have.
Finally, they banned me from the library all together. Yes, they banished a child from learning. Way to go Kenwood in Hammond, Indiana! Ignorance really is bliss, ain’t it?

In 1993 I moved to Virginia Beach. There, I was sent to Glenwood.

I was depressed, almost 1000 miles away from family, in a climate I wasn’t used to, I felt that every day was a living hell…

Until I went to the school library…

And found…

THAT book!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. There in the non-fiction section was this book once more. I resumed checking it out, weekly.


A very snarky and RUDE librarian decided to make a bitter enemy out of me. She tried imposing limits on what I could check out, only allowing me that book if I checked out a certain number of titles. She didn’t believe that I could even finish more than 5 a week.

So I checked out 15 chapter books.

THEN that book.

THEN wrote 15 short reports on what each book was about.

She was livid, accusing me of plagiarism, Cliff Notes and lying.

I presented her with photos of me doing 15 books worth of homework.

I then stuck my tongue out.

And was sent to the principal’s office for insubordination.

Again, Mama came to my defense on a weekly basis, fighting for my right to read whatever I wanted. How could it be that yet ANOTHER school was trying to keep her kid from gaining an education, just because of one damn book??

And again, when the topic of “other children” came up, I had grades K-8 come to my defense, telling the librarian and the faculty that they did not care about or want to check out that book. EVER. Under ANY pretenses.

Fast forward to the Spring of 1994.

I had accidently spilled bubble solution on the book.

Fearing the worst, I ran to my mother, crying.

She herself being a former librarian, took the book aside and got the bubble suds out.
Miraculously, it was now CLEANER than it had been before! And not one word or picture damaged.

The school librarian STILL pitched a fit, charging my mother $14 for the damage.

“But the book is cleaner now than it was BEFORE Kori had it!”

“You still owe us for her damage.”

“How about I buy the book outright, and get you a replacement?”

“NO!! You’re trying to bribe me. You need to make restitution!!”

“… WTF do you think that is??”

The librarian wouldn’t budge.

Within a few weeks, I was BANNED from that library too, with the librarian even LAUGHING in my face about it! “HA HA Just TRY and get the book NOW! Serves you right.”

Serves me right? For WHAT? Enjoying a good book? Doing my schoolwork? You BAN a child for this? Fuck you!

It was one of several times I was not sorry to be sent to the principal’s office. For the record, Mama actually agreed with my colorful statement.

So for the remainder of my time in Virginia, she took me to the Virginia Public Library… which had THAT and one other Doctor Who book!

And that team of librarians never cared how many times I checked it out.

But alas, I soon departed for New Jersey, and wouldn’t see any copy of that book again…

For years, I tried to find another copy, even tried unsuccessfully to buy out the copies my old schools had, but nobody wanted to give it up. EBay searches came up empty, and even the vast internet couldn’t grant me any more knowledge of that book.

… Until last week.

While filling out my birthday wish list, I stumbled upon the book by mistake. At first, the book was out of my price range, but the seller ~ without my ever contacting ~ dropped the price! For $12.56, the long search was over.

Which takes me back to Tuesday, when I unwrapped the book.

It smells just the same as before. That same sweet and woodsy smell, reminiscent of bubble suds. (I checked, this isn’t a school’s book. It’s fresh.)

A first edition from 1986, the same year this fire tiger was born.

With all it’s outrageously 80’s artwork intact.

A 20 year odyssey for an unearthly child.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm that 99% too

The other day, I watched Bryan Danielson do something very brave. Something I respect.

Bryan re-posted an article written by someone on Facebook. Please read:

‎"What They did not want you to ever find out is that your generation, the generation born between 1980-1995, actually outnumbers the Baby Boomers. They knew that if you ever turned your eye towards political reform, you could change the world.

They tried to keep you sated on vapid television shows and vapid music. They cut off your education and fed you brain candy. They took away your music and gave you Top Ten pop stations. They cut off your art and replaced it with endless reality shows for you to plug into, hoping you would sit quietly by as They ran the world. I think They thought you were too dumb to notice.

Indeed, I thought They had won.

But I watched you occupy the capital of Wisconsin. I see you today as you occupy Wall Street. And I see a spark, a glimmer of the glorious new age that is yours. A changing of the guard, a guard that has stood for entirely too long and needs your young legs to take his place.

I watch you turn away from what is easy and stand up for what is right. I see you understand we as a society are only as strong as our weakest link. I see you wise beyond your years. And I am proud. Give ‘em hell, kids. You are beautiful." -Kate Danley

We are the 99% and together we are strong.
Together, we will triumph as we merge once again to 100%.
By: John Cleveland

Now Bryan got alot of useless haters on his page after that, and since this post both his YouTube and his Facebook have been riddled with stupid comments from people believing that we should all just bow down to the 1%, drop dead and tow the line like good little subordinates. Clearly, they are the Borg.

I on the other hand REFUSE to assimilate to the conformist lackey mind of the detractors, who seemingly troll online just to try and justify their weak and sad existence.

So this is what I wrote to Bryan. I hope that he sees it before the WWE do:

Bryan, you were very brave to post this, and I support you for it.

I hope there's at least a few more people on here, brave enough to share this. Even just one voice counts.

I really just speak for myself on this, but I'm tired of seeing my family cry because of these predatory lend banks, foreclosing on our homes after sky-rocketing balloon payments. (I'm scared I'll end up homeless.) I'm tired of seeing my neighborhood turn to squalor, because even my RICH neighbors can't afford their homes or obtain work due to their credit. (Yeah, I have a neighbor with an SUV facing foreclosure. Her job pays $50,000.)

I'm sick of seeing businesses judge a person's job application not by if they have the requirements for said job, but by whether or not their credit score reaches some imaginary number. I want to obtain an honest job with honest pay, isn't that part of the American dream? (Not Dusty.) I'm also tired of seeing my family run themselves into debt, trying to obtain one college degree after another, just to be DENIED work at McDonald's.

I'd also like it if the media would stop making villain the many unions in this country. My family is pro-union, my grandfather on my mom's side is a proud member of Unite Here. Wanna know what he did? He fought for the right to affordable healthcare and a LIVING wage for the other employees at his old hotel. He fought for the mom with two babies, who had to choose every day between their food, diapers and their healthcare. (What can baby live without is NOT a question an American should utter.) He fought for the dad who lived on the street because $8.75 an hour can NOT afford a run-down apartment in California. My Opa fought for the people who worked 12-18 hours a day, with NO off days, NO vacations and NO benefits. That 1%? They're afraid of paying the 99% adequately for their work. They'd have you believe that a union would "kill business" when in reality, all it would do is hold an employer to a FAIR practice, and hold accountable those who undercut a worker's pay.

The 1% of people that are in control of it all have never known a day in my shoes. I doubt they could handle what I've been through. If they had to deal with:
1. Having to pick between food for a week and a relative's medication
2. Deciding if the water OR light bill should be paid on time this month
3. Doing grocery shopping at the dollar store
they would have a nervous breakdown.

So you know what, I don't mind being in that 99% anymore. I'd rather fight for an honest day's pay, living wage and a country I can be proud of, than to live in an ivory tower, unaware of the world below me.

Remember this, Marie Antoinette once told her 99% "Let them eat cake" when they had neither sustenance nor money. I think we know how well THAT turned out. ;)