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August 03, 2003  

Buried Alive

When I first awoke, I was buried alive inside my mother. I kicked and pushed, and eventually a rescue team of doctors and nurses released me.

But then, for the next several years, I was buried alive in my parents; pretty much my whole world was everything they said and did. Then a rescue team of teachers released me.

But then, for the next several years, I was buried alive with a bunch of other kids in a school house; pretty much my whole world was everything the teachers said and did. One or two tried to rescue us via underground explorations, but the weight of the school house always crushed our escape tunnels.


After several years, we were removed and re-buried in hormonal quicksand at a junior high school; pretty much our whole world was learning to sink or swim in the sea of our peers. Individual teachers again tried to release some of us, but most attempts failed.

After three years, we were removed and re-buried in shifting sand at a high school; pretty much our whole world was preparing for what they told us would be our release into the real world. Strangely, many teachers tried to rescue us, even though we were being told our release was imminent. They used books, and life experiences, and current events to try tunneling us out of the high school. Quite a few of these rescue attempts were successful -- many kids were able to pull themselves out of the sand. However, the great majority of kids remained buried alive in high school. Finally, they announced our official release.

But then, for the next several years, I was buried alive in college. It was a good college; the rescue personnel were well-prepared, and sprang into operation on the very first day. They started by telling us that we were still buried alive in our parents' houses, and in our grade schools, and in our junior high schools, and in our high schools. They told us we were buried alive in college. They told us that even when we were released into the real world, we would p'bly still be buried alive; but it would be up to us to figure out in what we were buried....

Then they showed us their network of rescuers -- authors, ideas, histories, arts. One by one, sometimes in groups, we were released from our burials. No longer buried alive in our pasts! We were able to walk about the grounds of our lives, appreciating and criticizing those who had buried us alive. Some of us looked around, to find others who were buried and to release them. Others of us looked out, never looking back. For sure we all looked different.

And if we were really lucky, we came to see that we are all buried alive in ourselves, and to ask how we would act when it came our turn to bury new lives inside their mothers...would we look like rescuers, too?