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Reality or Virtual Reality?

By Kam Zarrabi

I couldn't have wished for a better weather last Saturday morning, the second day of spring. My car was under repair, so I simply had to ride my '80, black-on-black, Harley Davidson Sturgis to work.

The suburban life around San Diego has its idiosyncratic charms. People seem somehow more congenial; after all, in small communities we run into each other often enough to recognize each other, and even our trucks or bikes. But, this morning there was a new sense of anxiety or different-ness in the air as I headed out. It had to be the round-the-clock media coverage of the war, I surmised.

Motorcycle enthusiasts are familiar with the routine of giving an occasional thumbs-up or V sign to oncoming riders. This ritual is almost religiously practiced among Harley riders who take special pride in their mounts, referring to them as American Iron, a symbol of patriotism.

What was interesting today was that I was receiving such greetings from people waiting to cross at the village intersection, and from drivers and passengers of those elevated monster pickups with the Stars & Stripes sticking out their windows. Last time this happened was right after 9-11; again, I was riding my Harley. 'It's the war' I said.

The war. There is a war happening on the other side of the planet. I was watching TV last night as reporters were sending their videos of digitally recorded war scenes, awesome, surreal. My fifteen-year-old son was more interested in his new computer game, naturally a type of combat game where pixels annihilate other pixels without any of the blood and body parts splattering out to mess up the computer or his desk. The parallels between the live TV broadcast and my boy's computer game were uncanny, kind of scary, I'd say.

Just before I mounted my 'Freedom Machine', I was watching General Tommy Franks' news conference from Qatar. Some reporter asked him if we had found any of those weapons of mass destruction that we went to war for. General Franks assured him quite emphatically that those weapons would definitely be found. For just a second I thought he was going to say 'Don't worry, we'll make sure we find some.'

Well, I certainly hope so. Either that, or we'll have to come up with some other convincing argument for going through so much trouble and expense to liberate Iraq.

About the author:
Kam Zarrabi is a writer, lecturer. Author: Necessary Illusion; Looking through the Kaleidoscope of Existence.

... Payvand News - 3/28/03 ... --

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