Saturday, August 05, 2006

Society's Scapegoat

The Boomer Files
August 5, 2006

I'll tell you something.

Once upon a time there was a young man and woman who met, fell passionately in love and left the safety and security of their parents' houses to travel west and build a home and new life of their own.

They discovered a relatively untouched land of pristine beauty and after a minor diversion and disagreement with the previous residents, they managed to acquire a small, but comfortable residence and set up housekeeping.

However, the young man was called home to settle a major dispute where his parents lived, and he did so reluctantly. Although his parents had lived in their home all their lives, one of their neighbors had suddenly built a fence on his parents' property, which they started using as their own for barbecue parties.

The young man went home, discussed the matter with his parents, tried to reason with the obnoxious neighbors and finally settled the matter by getting into a fistfight with the neighbors' son, who had been the one with the idea in the first place and who had built the illegal fence and the barbecue, as well.

The young man won the fight, although both combatants sustained bloody and broken noses, and the neighbors agreed to remove the fence and destroy the barbecue pit. He then thanked himself for a good deed well done, said goodbye to his parents and the neighbors and returned to his own home and his loving wife.

Because she had been anxious about his safety, the young man's wife welcomed him back home with open arms and not much clothing. Nine months later, she delivered a beautiful, healthy, bouncing baby boy.

The young couple lavished all their love on their baby boy, who was larger than other babies, and as some parents do with their firstborn, they spoiled him rotten. Anything he wanted within his parents' budget and many times outside their budget, he could have.

Because he was larger than other children his age, as the baby boy grew up and went through school, he usually got his way with his peers, as well. You might say that he lived a privileged life. You might say that he was blessed with good luck. You might say that he was a victim of his circumstances.

A few years later, the young couple had another child, a beautiful, healthy, bouncing baby girl. Although they loved her with all their sincerity, the baby girl could never receive the intensity of the love they had given their baby boy, simply because she was second on the scene.

The baby girl, too, grew up and went to school, but because she wasn't as large as her brother had been at her age, she wasn't able to get her way as much as he had. She resented this, especially since she was continually being reminded of the baby boy's accomplishments at her age by her parents, because her teachers still remembered the baby boy's achievements in school and compared hers with his and because everywhere she went she saw evidence that the baby boy had been there first, done that first.

Now, older people began to resent the baby boy for all the privileges they saw he received when he was growing up, privileges they had not received from their own parents. And because of all the attention the baby boy received and all the focus on him both inside and outside their family, the baby girl also resented him. She and her playmates would make cruel, unjustified jokes about him, and because the baby girl felt she had no identity apart from the baby boy, she started calling herself X.

The baby boy, who had long since ceased being a baby, was confused by all this hostility toward him. Although he had been privileged growing up, he lashed out during his adolescence. He thought that his parents were stupid, old-fashioned and "square," as he put it.

When he was a teenager, he was called a juvenile delinquent. When he rebelled even more in fashion, speech and indulgences, he called himself a hippie, because he believed that only he was hip in a world so square.

When the baby boy became a man, he resented still being called a baby. He resented being blamed for his parents' mistakes. And he resented being blamed by his sister, Girl X, for every failure, every shortcoming and every mistake she made.

In other words, Baby Boy was tired of being Society's Scapegoat.


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