“He had a gun,” the police said. “He had a book,” his daughter said.
Either way, he’s gone.
I’m not sure we can escape it. With only a handful of weeks left before the presidential election takes place, the news is bound to be filled with stories about who said what when and why they said what they said and what they should have said if they only knew what they were saying when they said it.
Whether you agree with him or not, one thing is for certain: Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest of the U.S. national anthem (as a way to protest the inequality and discrimination he believes is oppressing certain groups) is causing people to talk, and not just about the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Some of the terms often heard in the Internet news world this past week were “white privilege,” “social justice,” and “unpatriotic.”
In the 1971 film version of the Roald Dahl’s children’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the film was titled Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory), we watch as five children are allowed entry into the place of any child’s dreams—a wonderland of sugary treats, delicious chocolates, and delectable innovations. As the golden ticket winners get a peek behind the scenes of Willy Wonka’s secret wonderworks, they are continually warned about the dangers of not listening to Mr. Wonka’s instructions and are made to sign an extensive contract promising not to sample or take any of the creative confections. Subsequently, each child is tempted by a treat or activity that appears uniquely designed to prey upon that child’s greatest weakness. And in the end the viewers realize that all the temptations were part of Wonka’s plan to weed out the weak links and find a child—Charlie Bucket—who was honest enough to become his heir, inheriting his entire business.
So what’s been going on in your world? Check out some of these events that have occurred within the past week. An earthquake in Italy wiped out most of one entire town, including well over 200 people. Tornadoes destroyed homes and businesses in central Indiana. Floods swept away people and their possessions in Louisiana. Fires continued to rage in California. Hundreds of thousands of refugees struggled to survive in makeshift tent cities in several countries. At least 300 people have been killed and more than 6 million have lost homes, power, roads, and possessions as monsoon rains have flooded parts of eastern and central India. And in Kabul, Afghanistan, a university was bombed by terrorist attackers, killing seven students and five guards.
While some teens have been training for the opportunity to win medals in this year’s Olympic competition, other teens around the world have been working to make a different mark on their worlds. So far in 2016, there have been teens making community gardens, running jeans drives for underprivileged kids, raising funds for classmates battling chronic illnesses, and volunteering with political campaigns. There are teens who have set up free lending libraries, teens helping other teens fight drug addiction, and teens creating ad campaigns to stop classmates from texting while driving.
They work almost every day, all year round, no matter what is going on in their lives. They follow grueling training schedules. They have almost an obsessive drive to perform perfectly. They are filled with grit, determination, and confidence. And they are teenage girls.
How does this daily schedule compare to your own? 7 a.m.: Wake up. Eat oatmeal. 8 a.m.: Swim for an hour. 9 a.m.: Drink a recovery smoothie. 10 a.m.: Eat breakfast (a bowl of rice and an egg). 10:30 a.m.: Take a nap. 11:30 a.m.: Eat a small lunch. 12:30 p.m.: Go to the gym. Work out for an hour and a half. Swim for another hour and a half (or more). 3:30 p.m.: Drink another recovery smoothie. 5:30 p.m.: Eat dinner. Relax.
Listening to speeches may not be your favorite thing to do, but some of the behind-the-scenes reporting about the political conventions in the United States has been interesting to hear. Recently, reporters were discussing the “creation stories” of the presidential and vice presidential candidates—present and past. Each candidates’ advisers craft messages and public relations materials to create an idea for voters of who this person they might vote for is and where they come from. What are their roots? What do they care about? Where did they grow up? Are they like me?
We crave stories of dramatic change. Just look at the headlines in any given week: they are filled with stories of excessive weight loss, celebrity haircuts, political upheavals, and amazing recoveries. Not all of the stories are about happy endings, but sometimes change not only turns out to be good—it turns out to be life changing. For Ralphie Koppelman, the source of such a change is Pokemon Go.