Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Modern Americana - Part 1 - James Verone

Modern - Of or relating to recent times or the present.  Characteristic or expressive of recent times or the present.  One who lives in modern times.

Americana - refers to artifacts related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States.

Part 1 - James Verone

Growing up as a child I dreaded watching any movie rated R. My parents enforced a strict lifestyle choice, strict as in limiting, so until I was unshackled with the Internet around age fifteen I had limited exposure to certain topics, ideas, concepts and images. I believe this is a reason I am the person I am today, but that is a ridiculous statement, as it is true for everything everywhere. Well, as long as that every'thing' is a every'person'. Nonetheless, I was frightened by how violence might look, mostly because I was terrified with the threat of violence leading to pain (pain being the, what I thought, most fearful thing of the process of violence). Every now and then, I would see a horror movie on TV, something like the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I was scared by the movie for sure, but what didn't scare me were the gory images. What frightened me was the possibility of danger. It's why I was scared of the R rated movie all along; it wasn't the movie that contained the rating, it was the possibility of sudden exposure to what the rating represented. It's why I'm always more scared of waiting in line for a roller coaster rather than going on a roller coaster. Time of admittance: I still feel like I will die every time I get on a roller coaster.

I bet James Verone feels like he is going to die because he is in pain. If not, well, there is no argueing that he feels the side effects of his life, of living, of his body, are worse than the side effects of prison.

That statement deserves poetic space, for benefit of digestion.

James Verone is in pain because he lost his job three years ago. He picked up a job of "opportunity" - he worked as a clerk in a supermarket. His body was not able to handle the stress of his low paying job, so he developed some health problems. Some would argue that his job was his chance to build himself back up, but luckily James Verone operates in the planar field known as "reality" and he devised a way out of his tragic dead end. Some of James' health problems include: "having a growth on his chest", two ruptured discs and developing pain in his foot.

James Verone is 59 years old and the first thing he did after executing his master plan was sit down in a chair to rest and await capture by police. Probably because his feet hurt and probably because he wanted to get caught. Or maybe his chest was weighing him down because his growth, untreated for so many years, had sprouted some short form of apparatus and was planning on taking over his body,  much like the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain, Krang.

*thanks, Jon H.*

Question: why peacefully (he came 'armed' with a note to the teller. No brandish or simulation of a weapon. (no murder boner inducing moments in this story)) execute a heist for $1 and wait to get caught? Because James Verone has all those real horrors I have so much anxiety about being suddenly exposed to. Everytime I worried about my body becoming bruised, bent or blunted (in the non-420 sense) I just ended up with sun burn from the long line for something called, lets say the "Sidewinder". But James Verone has a very real fear, something that makes me feel ashamed for every being concerned over a giant capitol letter on a box or other forms of amusement: the fear of knowing ones temporal coil is brittle, depleted and crumbling. The threat of sudden exposure to even more pain, of which he has experienced enough. Enough to decide to go to prison.

I feel empathy because I am not a psychopath. If you want to find out, just take a test (link to short version (BONUS! It tells you if you are a psychopath OR business executive!)). I feel empathy for James Verone because we are both American's, because he is in pain and because I see my future being just as possible as his. No one needed to tell him that the United States Healthcare is rated last among industrialized nations, he is already well aware.

There's a good Huffing Post article that deserves a look, as it's a source you can link to without feeling overly embarrassed. Through my research I did notice one thing that is perhaps more telling than any image or soundbite; in prison, when asked if he regretted his decision, James Verone answered with a firm "no".

James Verone robbed a bank for $1 so he could get prison system health insurance. Some part of me is weeping.

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