“Octo-mom’s story”

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — I will get homesick during the next year, and am now. So I looked at the Web site for my hometown newspaper. Scrolling down, I saw the headline above.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that headline, or telling that story, or phrasing it in a way reminiscent of the tabloids some in the straight press look down on (also looking down on ending sentences with prepositions, perhaps). But still it was jarring.

I rode in a car tonight through streets where children walked in the dark, and my new friend who drove me pointed them out because they can be dangerous. Orphaned while the world turned its back on pandemics and poverty, they have raised each other, and as a result don’t have as much conscience as we would like. They take drugs to numb pangs of cold and hunger, and this doesn’t make them anymore merciful to others. Their plight is sad and scary and hard to undo, but as she talked about the fear they have inspired I remembered stories from my home town — of Dunbar Village, and on a less traumatizing level, of cookie monsters.

And I hope the news doesn’t slip back any further from telling straight stories in a straight way of the people who, in turn, tell the story of our future.


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