Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Birth Of My Skepticism.

I was not always a skeptic. In my childhood, in fact, I was the exact opposite. I believed in things with the very fiber of my soul. If you told me something, anything, with a straight face, I took it at face value. I guess it was a combination of stupidity, over-trust, and blind faith in the universe, but boy, was I ever raised in the wrong era. If I were growing up today, I would have easy points of reference. If someone told me something, I could just whip out my phone, Google that shit, and if they were wrong, I could shove it into their face until the end of time.

However, I was raised far away from the information age: in the early 80's. "Doing research" meant going to the library, and because I was an inner-city kid, that meant waiting for my parents to take me, finding books via Microfishe, and asking the librarian to photocopy the pages you needed (first page was always free, and 5 cents thereafter).
With a lack of nickels, two working parents, and a genuine bewilderment at the Dewey Decimal System, I turned to other sources; sources I had deemed trustworthy, such as teachers, comic books, and the almighty television.

Social causes were rampant in the 80's, and scare tactics were the preferred method of communication to young naive North Americans. Reagan's America taught me that a drug dealer was going to hold me down and force me to do cocaine (like the library photocopier, first one's for free, then you pay, but this time, it was with your life). Smokey The Bear taught me that I was going to have to save my entire family from my burning house, while simultaneously accidentally starting a whole forest on fire. The Zzzzzap Program said that there were live power lines down all over the city, and they were going to burn my arm off. Ambie The Ambulance (who comes up with this shit?) came to my school to remind me how to dial 911, because my teacher was probably going to drop in front of me in cardiac arrest. Oh! And did I tell you that I was probably getting AIDS? But, I was quick to remind myself and everyone around me, I would not be contagious unless I was having sex or bleeding.

Most kids would have brushed this off, but me? Nope, it wasn't if I was going to kidnapped and have to escape from a van, it was when. My parents daily told me I was over-reacting, and I would just think to myself "We'll see who's over-reacting when I'm saving your ass from getting your face blown off in a convenience store robbery, fools".

The year before I entered junior high, the race riots happened in Los Angeles. I prepared myself to get shot in a violent drive-by shooting, but the summer came and went without incident. I started into the dating world, where sorting through reality and bullshit becomes downright survival. I worked on a fine balance through my early teen years, and I am thankful I did.
By the time Tupac got shot in 1996, I had just enough skepticism to wonder if we were getting the full story on his murder, and just enough reality to know that OJ probably (definitely) did it.

~sarah p.


Marco said...

Yo, tupac got shot in 2005?!

~sarah p. said...

Shit. Fixed. Apparently, I have an 9-year lag on hip hop basic knowledge.