It's 2018 and I've become numb.
The paralytic grief that used to seize upon me when innocent people suffered tragedy or injustice has given way to a kind of existential infirmity: Terrible Things Happening All the Time, it seems, is simply the new normal, a human condition reiterated on social media and 24-hour news channels each week with new names and locations but eerily similar timelines and consequences (or lack thereof).
There are beacons of hope, of course.
Teenagers in Florida who witnessed the savage murder of 17 of their friends, peers and teachers last week have organized, orated and demanded action from lawmakers with a sense of urgency that said lawmakers could never dream of conducting. A competent public servant is working doggedly to bring justice to a sinister attack on American democracy. Athletes and celebrities are using positions of influence to effect real, qualifiable social change.
And while we need action — dear lord, do we need action — we also need camaraderie. Humans being nice to one another. Individuals committing random acts of kindness and good humor for no other reason than to engender a sense of community among a group of otherwise perfect strangers.
Which is exactly what happened this weekend when two kids attempted to hoodwink a movie theater into selling them two-for-one tickets to Black Panther with the ol' totem-pole trench-coat ruse. Behold:
In keeping with the trope, the spoilsport theater clerk did not take kindly to the antics, telling the kids “to get down” if they wanted entry.
But let this be a lesson to us all: the world needs more shenanigans.
Our collective sanity depends on it.