Back at the beginning of April I heard some of my neighbors having a birthday party and said something to the effect of "It must suck to have a birthday right now." I was referring, of course, to the pandemic going on and my delusion at the time that conditions would improve at some point. At least in Utah, things have only gotten exponentially worse since then and the isolation kills me a little more every week, but it turned out not to effect my own birthday much at all because I don't have enough friends to throw a huge party anyway. So with six other people and my sister's pet chicken that she brought for unclear reasons I got Panda Express and ate it outside. I soon got over the guilt of eating chicken in front of a chicken because she clearly didn't care, if her adorable snuggling in my armpit was any indication.
Then we went home and I blew out twenty-seven candles with a hairdryer to avoid getting spit particles on the cake, a hazard I learned about years ago from one of Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" books where some snobby girl was all grossed out about spit particles on Ramona's cake and convinced everyone not to eat it until they got over themselves and realized that ingesting minute traces of someone else's body fluids isn't a big deal. But times have changed. It also conveniently happened to ensure that I would get all the candles at once so my wish wouldn't be ruined. I can't help wanting to believe in that sort of thing. I'm a little stitious by nature. It just would take a lot of pressure off me if, for example, God guided my life through fortune cookies and timely internet memes rather than the vague feelings and impressions He usually prefers. Here's a picture of me even though I hate pictures of me.
Four of us remained for the highlight of the evening; a viewing of "The Lost World" (1925) because I was in the mood for something old. It's available free on YouTube because anyone who could possibly make a copyright claim is dead, and I recommend it both for campy charm as well as just being legitimately cool. I had confidence that everyone would like it but what I didn't count on was Katie and Steve reading the dialogue out loud and adding a lot of their own, which created an altogether different and admittedly superior experience.
Of course, I was cognizant throughout of my luck in being alive to celebrate in the first place. Prior to that day I was twenty-six and so was someone I've never met named Breonna Taylor. I don't know when her twenty-seventh birthday would have been, but I know she didn't or won't reach it because police officers at the wrong address looking for someone who had already been arrested broke into her apartment and murdered her in her sleep. After more than three months of national outrage, one of them was fired and none of them were arrested. Instead, Breonna's boyfriend was charged for shooting one of the officers whom he had no reason to believe were anything other than common robbers, but those charges have been dropped at least for now in a rare moment of sanity. A local law against no-knock warrants now bears her name but it would be nicer if she were still alive and the law just existed anyway.
To be frank, if you hear stories like this and your first response is to feel bad for police officers, you're a sociopath. And if you hear stories like this and continue posting crap like "The police will leave you alone if you don't do anything illegal", you're also a liar. And if you hear stories like this and just don't care and want to move on with your life without the nuisance of hearing about yet another black person murdered by police, you're every bit as much a part of the problem as actual out-and-out racists. But you can change. I know you can because a few years ago I was more like you than I care to admit. The first step is being honest enough to realize you're wrong.
The differences between me and Breonna Taylor, besides the obvious ones, are that she was making a positive contribution to society and I wasn't murdered by police officers. Why am I alive while she isn't? I feel like I should spend a few paragraphs waxing philosophical about that fact but it's really about all I can think of to say. I was lucky and she wasn't and in this world that's often all it comes down to. A future life with God is the only hope for a shred of meaningful justice but is hardly an excuse to be complacent about justice now.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.