Friday, September 08, 2017

Recalling 9/11

K called from Florida, "Planes crashed into the World Trade Center and one of the towers just fell." Unemployed in Los Angeles and half asleep at 7:30 AM, I shuffled downstairs to the TV, past Joy as she prepared for work. At first, all I saw was a dirty cloud obscuring southern Manhattan. Then a stunned announcer said the second tower had just collapsed. Joy joined me, work forgotten as we learned of the attack.

Other friends phoned throughout the day. Paul Rugg speculated about the pilots of the doomed aircraft, certain they weren't Americans forced to crash. TJ, a Vietnam vet, was incensed at the footage of jubilant Palestinians with their candy and AK-47s. He wished he could gift them with a nice buttering of napalm. In a grim mood, I agreed.

Watching TV and power-chewing Nicorette, I mostly felt numb — except when the subject was jumpers. Then I felt horror. Go to work, sip coffee, joke with your pals, then decide whether you'll suffocate, burn alive, or leap a quarter mile to certain death. Questions of etiquette arise: jump solo or hold hands with a co-worker? Perhaps several of you link arms and form a chain, finding courage in numbers. Or do you clutch a table cloth and step into the air, desperately hoping it slows your fall?

The journey takes ten seconds.

Air velocity rips away your shoes.

You explode on impact.

I will always be haunted by the jumpers of 9/11.

Oceans of paper were blasted from the towers, filling the New York sky like the Devil's ticker tape. Invoices and wedding invitations floated down to gray sidewalks.

My friend Cathy, who worked in D.C., reported chaos as the government sent everyone home at once following the Pentagon attack. One jammed intersection turned scary as a man leaped out of an SUV brandishing a pistol and attempting to direct traffic.

Being murdered is not a heroic act, though it can be. Flight 93 passengers fought back and died, saving many more in their sacrifice. North Tower Port Authority employees rescued over 70 people before perishing.

There were many heroes that day.

My sister Mary Pat and I had dinner at a coffee shop. She was passing through town, leaving a job in Mountain View, CA to return to Phoenix. Depressed by the day's events, our meal was not jolly.

Later, Joy tried to give blood, but the hospital was overwhelmed with donations and refused.

Vulnerability, grief, dismay, anger.

Such a beautiful morning with a sky so blue.

(Photos from: Little Green Footballs.)

Repost: Sept. 11, 2008

Update: Strange to reread this. TJ died in 2009 and K passed away just over a year ago. My wife, Joy, and I are doing well, as is Paul Rugg who now rides the train

Repost: Sept. 11, 2013

Update: I had cancer surgery last year, but recovered. My wife is doing well and my sister battles her own health woes. I have not heard from my friend Cathy in a few years.  Paul Rugg continues riding the train in addition to being a voice over machine.

Repost: Sept. 11, 2015

Update: Paul Rugg's daughter was not quite two years old on 9/11/01. Now she is a freshmen in college. I have retired from TV animation writing, though, as stated elsewhere, I find retirement to be indistinguishable from unemployment. (Save for a small annuity.) And very soon, I shall ride the train to see my sister. (Explanatory post t/k.)

Repost: Sept. 11, 2017


Fuzzy Bunny Slippers said...

I remember that day enough to wish I could forget it. Better yet, that it hadn't happened! I could write a book on the hundred emotions I feel at one time about that day, but the way this day is going, I'd accidentally erase it and I am NOT good with re-writes! Suffice it to say, Those who do not REMEMBER the past are CONDEMNED to REPEAT it" and I do NOT want a repeat of that day!

As for personal stuff, glad your health is improved. Hope it stays that way. Writing wise, didn't you mention writing for 7 D. ?

As for cancer, seems there's been a few close calls, but with good results, including Pinky and Yakko, himself, Rob Paulsen. Stay well!

OH,. speaking of writing though...while I have you here, I wanted to ask, do you believe it's important, as a writer, esp. in fiction, to WANT to do what you do? Not YOU personally, but I found out some really messed up stuff about a mystery author who HATED a character of hers so much, that when she killed him she gave him no decent funeral and buried him in the seedy back yard of a rundown mansion! Ironic, considering he was beloved by fans as well as the actor who lived the character's life for 25 years.

But when someone writes, when one has the opportunity to make writing their full-time work, then that should be a huge blessing or go back to their "day job'.

The author was Agatha Christie, and I have ZERO respect for that woman. It's one thing to want to move on to creating other stories and character, but to be personal and utterly NASTY about a character.... especially a good guy like Poirot. WHY? The woman lived through TWO world wars. You'd THINK she could have found at least one despot in those two conflicts worthy of spewing venom at, other than an innocent and quirky Belgian detective.

In the words of Dot Warner, "Go fig! "

JP Mac said...

I saw Rob a few months ago and he said he was doing much better.

Yes, 9/11 should be remembered. In addition to many important reasons, it's the primary act that allowed American airline travel to become an unpleasant, brutish experience.

Authors do kill their children. Comic artist Robert Crumb was so infuriated by a Hollywood treatment of one of his characters that he murdered her in a subsequent issue.

Also Arthur Conan Doyle killed of Sherlock Holmes. But the outcry was so great, he brought him back to life.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Fuzzy Bunny Slippers said...

Re: *"With Great Power comes Great Responsibility"* AMEN!!!

I believe Sir A.C. Doyle finally gave up on trying to kill Holmes and he retired as a bee-keeper.

JP Mac said...

Very possible.

Whatever his fate, ACD wisely bowed to the will of the public.

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