Looking At Poverty From My Flat Screen TV

Virunga

One Sunday afternoon, Justin and I decided to watch “Where To Invade Next” by Michael Moore. In the documentary, he visits a handful of countries on the European continent and shares their good ideas that America should consider.

It resonated with us, maybe because we have a more socialist attitude than some. So we decided, that somehow, we need to become more European.

But what were we going to do? We can’t have eight weeks vacation like they do in Italy. We can’t have free college like they do in Slovenia. (Hell, we’re already paying for that and will be for the next fifteen years or so) And we can’t do any drug we want like they can in Portugal.

So, what could we do?

We could better educate ourselves on the way the rest of the world works.

And so came, Documentary Mondays. Each Monday, Justin and I sit down on our couch, sometimes with the pooch, and watch a documentary.

Let me tell you, there’s a lot of shady shit going on, but also some really inspiring stories that give you that good feeling about humanity.

The first one we watched was “Hot Girls Wanted,” which was about the amateur porn industry. Girls that were fresh out of high school were being paid to have sex on camera. I couldn’t get that movie out of my head for days while also deciding that if we have a daughter, she’s going to be locked in her room forever. Like Rapunzel.

We’ve watched one about the last astronaut to land on the moon.

We’ve watched one about the puppeteer who does the voice of Elmo.

And recently, we watched my pick, Virunga.

Virunga is a national park in the Congo. These cute little mountain gorillas live there and I’d like to put one in my pocket and take it home. Rangers police this park against poachers and shady companies who are looking for oil.

And they try their damnedest to protect the park and its inhabitants against the fighting rebels and the Congolese Army.

Villages are being torn apart by the fighting there. The documentary showed kids crying in the streets, as their mom ran with them to escape before the fighting started.

Many barely have a house to run from.

Yet, I was watching this, on my flat screen tv, in my air conditioned house, on my couch, drinking fresh water that I just had to go to the sink to get. And here I am, watching these poor children in the streets, with no shoes, in the middle of gunfire, just trying to find a safe place to sleep.

It’s something to be so very thankful for all you have and so very sad at the same time.

I am worried about my car, and the giant tree limb that fell on our shed, and the fact that our neighbors are assholes, and that sometimes I’m a little anxious and can’t stop my mind from racing.

These kids, who should have no worries at all, that should just be able to play all day, don’t even have the chance to worry about these things.

And, that, that puts things in perspective. But why can’t I ever remember this when I need to? Which, let’s be honest, is all the time.

The fact that maybe we didn’t have enough time or money to go out with our friends or that we don’t have enough money for that new CD, we must remember that we are breathing and we are safe.