A Boy in a Bubble

Let me paint a story about a boy in a bubble.

The boy in said bubble was safe from everything. Seriously. Everything. The bubble kept everything out that might harm him, be it germs or diseases or big bad people with weapons. Pedestrians with bad attitudes and family with an all-around irritable disposition: all out. Nothing can touch him. The boy is safe. Completely, totally, even irrevocably, safe.

His bubble is clear…that is, everyone can see through his bubble. The boy is on display. Anyone who passes him can see completely through his bubble, and thus his privacy no longer exists. Everything he does is subject to the scrutiny of people he does not know at times he does not know and in ways he does not know. He has given them permission to do so, however. Because he must be safe.

The bubble doesn’t travel well. You see, its actually quite difficult to use any form of public transportation and maintain the safety of the bubble. Because, what the boy realized is that the bubble isn’t quite enough. He had to permit those who govern him to prevent anyone that they suspect may have ill intent from getting anywhere close to the bubble, because a handful have tried, and even gotten too close. Who knows? The bubble may prove to have a flaw, and that would mean that the boy isn’t safe. The boy must feel safe. Therefore, everyone else must be expected to surrender their privacy and rights in order to maintain the boy’s safety. That’s only reasonable. He surrendered himself. They must do the same.

The boy’s life has been seriously curtailed. He doesn’t interact with other human beings much, at least not in any actual, interpersonal sense. The important thing is that the boy himself cannot be touched.

The boy is willing to sacrifice anything for the illusion of his own safety and security. He is so frightened that the perfect lifestyle that he has worked so diligently to obtain might be compromised, that he will give up whatever those who protect him deem necessary in order to preserve that. His material possessions are much more important than the interaction and pleasure and sanity that are sacrificed in order to obtain the security he feels that he has. Therefore, feeling secure has become paramount. The boy must feel secure.

Don’t tell the boy, but it is actually impossible to be completely safe. It is impossible because, tragically, there will always be those who do not value human life and are intent on doing others harm. Catching them all is impossible unless everyone is forbidden to do nearly everything, which, ironically, makes a high level of safety an amazingly lifeless place to exist. However, the boy is so desperate to feel safe, to be surrounded by the illusion of security, that he is constantly forcing those who are in power to take more steps and write new scenes in the genre of security theatre, so that his emotional needs are met by an appearance of something that is false. His safety is portrayed by a facade. That is acceptable. After all, the boy lives in a culture of appearance management.

The boy has been in his bubble for so long that he has forgotten things that have been said about this subject previously.

Do you know anyone like that?

Or am I just telling a story?

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  1. I think we all might live in some kind of proverbial “bubble.” The idea that we are safe because of our bank accounts, where we live, our family, our friends…or maybe that’s just me?

  2. No, I think that’s another great perspective on the issue, Renee. The irony is that our perception is that we can be safe, when in reality life is going to come with risks, regardless of how much we try to divorce risk from life. In order for us to be completely safe, everyone would have to stop doing everything…stop living. It just seems to me that we’re willing to do that lately.

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