As George Packard, roving reporter for Bumbastories, sat on the bus he thought back fondly to when he was a young man in his 20’s. He recalled how startled and upset he had been when he first observed that many people in America lived their lives and modelled their behavior after television characters. These people seemed to impersonate television actors; they were modelling their behavior based on TV characters they saw on television. It just looked very false and very weird to young George.
Back in the seventies, on a trip to Florida to visit relatives, George had been almost horrified. His uncles and aunts and their friends reminded him of the way people acted on the Johnny Carson Show. His uncle was doing an imitation of Don Rickles. someone else was playing Ed Mc Mahon. Of course, today the influence of the electronic media was even stronger. This dominance of television over people’s lives bothered George. It’s Nature imitating Art. The process is being reversed, thought George. And George did not like what he saw. Where were their souls? he asked. How could they lose sense of themselves so easily? Perhaps this new America is not for me. I’ll never fit in here, thought young George.
So George left America. He joined the Peace Corps. George was out of the United States for seven years. He returned with a clearer idea of who he was. He accepted the fact that he might never fit in. However, he was no longer worried about that fact. He felt it was too difficult for him to lead a false life. He had to be honest. He had to be himself.
And George Packard, retired schoolteacher, looking back on his life could see that he had lived a genuine life after all. He still did in fact. He found that not fitting in and not belonging he could fit in everywhere.
“A certain freedom in that,” he thought to himself as he sat on the bus.
George Packard, roving reporter for Bumbastories, roved on.