Once there was a time when gambling meant mixing wine with a belly full of beer. Mixing the grape with the grain could result in a dangerous combination, but now we live in strange times, and you really have to question the places you now go.
Now there's a serious gamble: Do I go to the ball game? Do I go to the movie theater, or do I just stay home, safe and sound? And am I really safe there?
These are questions you have to ask yourself now. How important is that game against Atlanta? Is it worth it? Or worse yet, is the moment when you think you can wait for the movie to come out on Netflix.
There have been times in my life where I would sit at a function such as church and let my mind drift off to wondering how I would get out of there in case of an emergency. Of course my exit involves raging panic and doing just about anything to get out of there.
They say if we don't continue with our everyday lives the terrorists (foreign or domestic) win. Well, to be honest with you, I'm not the most competitive guy in the world. And it leads to my latest malady: agoraphobia. I have developed over the years a fear for crowded places. Long ago, I learned to have my back to the wall if we go out to eat because I don't want anyone behind me. Plainly spoken, I fear the real world.
Paranoid? Of course I'm paranoid. But with good reason: There are people out to kill me solely on my country of origin. That doesn't seem cool. We are viewed as the disciples of the Great Satan, namely the United States. So I live a small-town life full of small-town activities. I avoid crowds, always have. How can the terrorists win if I don't play the game?
Because terrorism can happen anywhere, not just in big cities.
They win by bombing neighbors of a state I happen to live in. They win by shooting up Watertown. But they also win by shooting mass numbers of our children at school. It seems no matter what we do, they win.
I have no hope of a safe place to seek shelter. Nightmares can happen anywhere. And that's what terrorism is: a violent nightmare that comes true.
So we have to be diligent. Be watchful of our surroundings. Why? Because with last week's bomb scare at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, it all hit home with a reminder that it can happen here, right at home.
I can't put my head in the sand, thinking the real world of threats and violence is far away. As I said, it can happen anywhere, so be diligent and be suspicious. You can't call it paranoia any more. It's called being a member of today's world where anything can happen.
In Boston, lives have been changed in a second. In a whisper of time, people's lives have been altered forever, if they were lucky enough to survive. Watertown, a place not much different than places we know, was traumatized for more than 24 hours.
I know this is not my typical the-world-is-a-freaking-nightmare funny piece. But there is no way to be funny with the topics in today's headlines. And I hope you wouldn't want me to be my sarcastic, witty and charming self, because real people are dying.
Like a lot of people, I can say the terrorists' acts are working because I'm fearful. I'm fearful of the future. If it's like this now, what will 10 years from now be like? I worry about family and friends who live in major East Coast cities like New York and Washington, D.C. And I worry about the safety of main street, USA. I worry about the schools, malls and anywhere where people gather in large numbers. And we can now add sporting events to the list.
The beauty of Boston and Watertown was that most of the information came from the average aware citizen. So we can change the world. We can save lives by reporting anything unusual, like an unattended backpack.
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer - 'nuff said.
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