What Jim has learned today
I learned I was about five years old when I was first exposed to misinformation, fake news, intelligence leaking and the like. It was my mother’s doing. She fed me the story that there was an angel hovering over me and that this angel told her everything I did. In 1962, along with my sisters, I walked the five blocks to kindergarten. For a child, a liberating sort of thing, through the front door, half a block down the street then turning the corner and believing myself free of my mother’s watchful eyes … except for that pesky angel. The angel was a snitch. The angel ratted me out at every turn. If I threw a rock, the angel would tell my mother. If I teased a girl, the angel would give me up. If I got in a fight, even the most credible story I could invent about how I got the grass stains on my knees and a bloody nose would be exposed as a lie by that double-crossing angel. The angel was like a surveillance drone and it followed me everywhere. Every morning, right after “Captain Kangaroo,” as I left for school, I was reminded to be good because the angel would be right above me and know everything I did, and Mom, being on a first-name basis with the angel, would find out. I believed this. That summer, I discovered I could get my own glass of water from the kitchen faucet if I stood on a chair. I remember that first, independently acquired glass of water. It was the first time I had been able to see above the counter and through the kitchen window. What I saw changed my world view. The street my school was on came to a T in the middle of the opposing side of the block we lived on. When I looked through that window, I found I had a clear view through the neighbor’s backyard, between houses … three blocks down the street, all the way to the school’s doorstep. It was then I learned the angel wasn’t hovering over me as I had been told. This was spin and deception. She was in the kitchen … watching me through the window. This is all I have learned today.