Community, Hicks and Ode to the Death of Love

By: Ernie Hurt

Standing in my bathroom on this cold Ohio morning, pissing away the filth in my system, watching my neighbors frolic in the sub-freezing temperatures… Maybe they are as nuts as I am, perhaps in other ways, but crazy none the less.. I’ve lived on this hill for the better part of two months.

I have yet to talk to any of my neighbors, nor have they attempted to welcome me into the community. This isn’t the first time my family has been viewed as a colony of leapers… Could it be my large stature? Could it be the wealth of art ingrained on my skin? It’s clear to see that I’m not entirely at fault, as I have waved and smiled like society has taught me to do.

Just about every day, my son and I take a walk around the area and yet not one person has stopped to chat. Perhaps I’m blessed. Maybe they are evil pedophiles with a hard on for overweight, shut in writers…
NPR recently did a piece claiming that 40% of Americans don’t know the people they live around. America has changed so much in the past decades, mainly due to the increase of smartphones, and technology that withdraws you from society. Where has our sense of community gone? Have we became junkies to the shit we buy in order to join an online community?

I remember as a child being close to our neighbors, not only in distance but also in the way friends are close. I grew up in a small community on the west side of Cleveland. Most of our neighborhood was Puerto Rican but this meant nothing. If they needed help our family was quick to come to their aid and they would do the same. I recall getting pounds of great ethnic food during a Quen son ara… I can remember my dad leaving a case of beer in the bed of our neighbor’s truck. But those days are long gone.
During the first half of the century, people valued community… Hell, before that community was the only way to survive our harsh, unrelenting America. The 1950’s were ripe with people that truly cared for the place in which they lived, for better or worse. It was a way to keep an eye on your kids while you got drunk and fell asleep on your front porch, with no fear of abductions or murders because you knew everyone that lived around you. You were expected to exchange dialogue, no matter how trivial, in an effort to show you cared. Christmas cards and pleasantries were norm in those days.
When it first occurred to me, I thought maybe it was just small town Hicksville, USA, as I was born and raised in a large city. I moved around a lot in my youth, mainly shit-hole towns with names like Beaver, or Wellston. I’ve had ample amounts of time to study the natives, and I dawned on me.. I was an outsider.. No matter how nice I was or how caring I attempted to be, I would always be someone out of the loop.

Today’s society has no time for new neighbors or new members of their community; we are too busy with Facebook or Twitter to get to know the people 20 feet from our own front doors. I am by no means a social person but I’m all for community. I am all for getting to know those that comprise the area in which I plan to live.

The fall of community is just the beginning to a Nazi, government controlled world. Keep the sheep separate from each other so they can’t take up ranks and over throw our new Utopia. Sickening thought I know but If and when this country goes to shit, I’d like to at least know the name of the people I plan to rob and eat to survive….


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