Courage the cowardly dog the mask of courage is his only hope
–Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ
I was about to type, "It is a strange thing for me to see an old man in tears. After all, I am the one that was crying, not him. When he was young, he had the tears, not I," when I saw it. The image was on the front page of the Times. A young boy, wearing a bulletproof vest, walking across the roof of a school, carrying a gun. I was so startled by the image of him, I dropped my keyboard. I picked it up, went back to it, and typed this. I thought about what I could say. About a thousand things. So many things I wanted to say. So many thoughts I wanted to give voice to. So many things I wanted to say that would have made him smile.
You would have to go back far into his childhood, to the day he was born, to find something that would cause him to smile. The things he did before he could speak. The way he loved his father. The way he loved his mother. His sisters. His baby brother. The way he would smile when he looked at his baby brother. The way he laughed at nothing in particular. The way he would laugh when he would see something and then laugh at himself, because he had made himself laugh. The way he would laugh when he saw something he loved. His way of laughing that did not contain any mockery. It was a way of laughing that was just pure joy, like a child. He loved all the things, he could be happy for days when it was sunny outside. He loved to go outside and feel the wind and the rain on his face. He loved the way his grandmother would cook food for him. His grandmother's home was like a warm place, where you could feel love and hear laughter. He loved to see people smile. His mother would smile when she would see him and she would laugh when she would see him. She would laugh with such joy that it would make her cry. She would laugh for a week, for a day, for a few minutes, for a while. Sometimes, she would laugh and laugh and laugh. And it was not for nothing.
You would have to go back to the day he was born to find a time when he was not laughing. When he did not laugh. The day he was born, she was sitting in a bath tub full of water. She had been in the bathroom for a long time, and she felt tired. She heard something, a sound. It sounded like a dog howling. But she did not know where it was coming from. She got out of the bath tub and walked through the living room, to the kitchen. She heard it again. She walked through the kitchen, to the window, which looked out over the back yard. He was there, he was crying, howling like a dog. She went to the door, she opened the door, she called to him.
"Chet, Chet." She said. "Why are you crying like a dog?"
"It's okay, Mama," He said. "It's okay."
She did not know how to take it. "Chet, are you okay?"
"I'm going to die." He said.
"No, Chet. You're not going to die."
"Yes, I'm going to die."
"No, Chet. You're not going to die. Mama is going to fix it. You're going to live."
She told him she was going to get him something to eat, but he was not hungry. He was not hungry at all.
"You'll be fine, Chet. Just fine. We will be fine. We will be fine. We will be fine."
"Why are you crying, Mama?"
"It's okay, Chet. Mama is going to fix it. You're going to live."
She went back in the bathroom. She got back into the bath tub. She washed herself and then she did her hair. She washed her hair. She washed her arms and then she washed her legs and then she got out. She dried her hair. She did her nails. She dressed. She got into her pajamas. She went to the kitchen, where he was sitting at the table, staring at his hand.
"Mama is fixing it, Chet. Mama is going to fix it."
She brought him his milk. He was holding his right hand, the one with the little ball on the end. He held it out to her. "It hurts, Mama."
She kissed the end of his fingers, the little ball of his hand. He was crying so hard.
"Why are you crying, Mama?"
"I'm going to fix it, Chet. You're going to live. Mama is going to fix it."
She held his hand and she brought the milk to his lips. He drank a little milk and then he put the milk down. She tried to make him drink a little more milk, but he did not want to drink any. He was too scared to drink. So she left it there. She got into her pajamas. She went to the bathroom, and then she came back to the kitchen and sat down in front of him.
"Chet, Chet, Chet. Mama is going to fix it."
She tried to make him laugh, but he was crying. So she kissed him. She kissed him all over his body. She kissed his ears, his eyes. She kissed him on the nose. She kissed him on his neck. He loved that.
"It's okay, Mama. It's going to be fine. Mama is going to fix it. Mama is going to fix it."
She put his head in her lap. She held him there and she kissed him. She kissed him all over his body. She kissed him on his nose. She kissed him on his cheeks. She kissed him all