“You should never hit anybody about God.”

“He shouldn’t hit me. You shouldn’t hit me about God, Mamma. You should never hit anybody about God—”

The Conversion of the Jews

Philip Roth

religion allI was in my classroom at Bonita Springs Middle School. I taught drama, or at least I tried to. I was horrible at classroom management.  School started at 9:35, and it was before my first period class. A kid, Tyler, ran in and said, “Miss Petty, I know it’s the JAPS!!” I was so confused. Tyler was a good kid, and I did not suspect drugs.  I thought he was just, you know, acting for me. Then, he turned on the TV in my class, and my jaw dropped. We kept that TV on all day. All I wanted to do was leave and get my son from preschool, but we did not dismiss early. It was the day after my 30th birthday. Suddenly, being 30, wearing a size 8 (which was “fat” for me at the time), and having too many bills for my salary did not matter.

When I could leave for the day, I picked up my son, who was 4 and very much unaware of what had happened.  He wanted to have dinner at McDonald’s.  After all, they had a playground, toys, and fries.  What more do you need in life?  I didn’t take him to McDonald’s.  We drove through, instead.  I was afraid to sit with my son in a public place.  I was afraid that some crazy person would walk in with a bomb, or Anthrax (the poison, not the band), or a gun, or something.  So, we drove through and ate our fries at home, where I felt safe, but still wondered how far I was from a military base, a power plant, or any possible target for terrorism. I still think like this whenever I go to an amusement park.

I did not show my son that I was afraid.  I did not cry. This morning, twelve years later, I finally cried about 9/11.  I was watching the Moment of Silence on the Today Show.  The screen was split, with people in New York on the left and Mr. and Mrs. Obama, Mr. and Mrs. Biden, and a lot of other people in Washington, D.C. on the right. There was a woman in New York, with brown curly hair; maybe you saw her.  She started crying so hard that she had to lean on someone.  I thought, “She probably lost someone that day.  Maybe it was her husband, or a sibling, or a cousin, or a friend.  She lost SOMEONE.” That is when I cried.  That is what it is all about really.  People are getting killed over differences of opinion.  Seriously.  People are real.  They bleed.  They die.  We should not “hit” anyone about God or Politics, or anything else.

8 thoughts on ““You should never hit anybody about God.”

  1. Lisa, I too, saw that lady. I usually watch GMA but, today I put on The Today
    Show. I wanted to ask “her” who she lost on that day of Terrorism. As usual, this is another of your well written, and thought provoking blogs….I save them all in a file labeled “pettythoughts”.

    1. Thanks, Mom. I’m glad that someone else noticed her. She just broke my heart.

      Thanks for saving them. I have them saved on my Google Drive, just in case something happens to the Mac. Yes, I know. Yuppies. 🙂

  2. The thoughts today might be Petty by name, but anti-pettiness by nature. Thank you for such stirring thoughts, and thank you for sharing the vulnerability that comes with letting yourself cry about such a traumatic experience.

    1. Thanks for reading, Molly. I’m off to read your KU blog now. Let me know when you set up your personal blog. Get the Blogging for Dummies book, the one that is “8 books in one.” You will save yourself some time. 🙂

  3. This is a great post Lisa. I completely agree.. I was in history class and I remember getting home and calling my father who lives in NYC. Thankfully he was fine and wasn’t in the area at that time but it is scary because you saw the people jumping out of the buildings.. stories high. We forget that while in this country we’re taught tolerance for differences of opinions, in other parts of the world the same does not hold true. That is the scary part.

    1. Thanks, AO. I don’t know about you, but I know several people right here in the USA who have no tolerance for other’s opinions. I’m related to most of them. 🙂

      I visited your blog and tried to follow it, but I didn’t see a follow button. Am I getting old?

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