By David Anderson, Tillicum
For example, there’s disposable income – officially defined as “what remains after taxes.” There’s money that remains after taxes?
Then there was Marian Donovan who “deserves the undying gratitude of new parents around the globe” for her creation of what she named the “Boater” – not because it kept the occupant dry in the ‘boat’ but because her invention looked to her more like, well, a boat than what would become the wildly successful disposable diaper.
Even the disposable cellphone now has a celebrated history. Katie Holmes is alleged to have used a disposable phone in her celebrated divorce from celebrity Tom Cruise this past July. The LA Times reported that Holmes used a disposable phone to contact attorneys so that Cruise wouldn’t know about the conversations. Cruise was reportedly blindsided by the news of Holmes having filed for divorce which she broke to him, as you might have guessed, via a phone call – then disposing of both the phone and their marriage. While it’s not likely, given their celebrity-status disposable income, that Holmes and Cruise used high quality disposable plates and dispersed disposable cameras among their wedding guests five years previous, the disclosure about the disposable cellphone is reputedly true.
Also true, at least their website says it is – as likely found in your spam box as it was mine – are the 16,015,000 signers-on to what AshleyMadison.com declares “has never been easier” – joining the “most successful website for infidelity and cheating encounters”, where “every 60 seconds a new woman joins” looking to have a discreet soiree. After all, “Life is short”, the subject line reads, “have an affair”.
Marriages are disposable, relationships expendable, commitments – and conversations – as meaningful as so much thrown-away discards on garbage pickup day. And the ease with which all disappear from the curb is reflected in the ignored caution accompanying the trash button on your computer:
“This action will affect all conversations. Are you sure you want to continue?” Click, gone, and move on.
We live “in an age of disposable everything” wrote Fr. Bob.
That would include “Disposable Heroes”. The dark lyrics of this album by Metallica (1986), with its cover depicting a seemingly endless war cemetery, “deal with a soldier’s thoughts, actions and experiences at the war front (as he) describes the dehumanizing conditions of war, the death of those around him and the helplessness that comes with the realization of his life’s lack of meaning, (and) the madness of which he is part. At the end, the soldier has given up, emotionlessly accepting his fate and soon-to-come death.”
And dying they are – on the battle front in foreign lands and increasing numbers taking their own lives here at home.
The heart-felt presentation by Josh Renschler at October’s Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association was without doubt the most pin-drop attentive audience in our collective community memory as the US Army Retired Sergeant of an infantry Stryker unit out of Ft. Lewis, himself severely injured in Iraq in 2004, described what it’s like for far too many returning from the war zone, and why even places like Wal-Mart and other such benign settings – even the presumed shelter of their own loving families – can trigger severe reactions, even suicide.
“The Disposable Heroes Project” – like the organization “Men of Valor” which Renschler leads – is another that “strives to bring our soldiers back to the forefront – whether through purchasing airline tickets for parents to see their fallen son’s ashes or making a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan’s dreams come true by surprising her with a tour of Fenway Park.”
As a rule, “tragedies (are supposed to) occur on the battlefield” not at home – the more accepted setting for comedies, where “to qualify as a comedy a happy ending is all that’s required. The true hallmark of comedy after all isn’t always laughter (but rather) more often it’s the simple satisfaction we feel when we witness deserving people succeed.”
So I guess my disposition on what is, and is not, disposable was to have written about comedy after all.
And helping people succeed explains why what Renschler and so many others – marriage counselors, community organizers, pastors, teachers, doctors and dentists who donate their expertise in poor neighborhoods, mentors, single-parents, police and fire chaplains – do what they do.
They – and as we join them, we – are in the business of reclaiming and restoring disposable heroes-to-be.