Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Emails #47: Idle Hands Make The Devil's Work

"You're gonna be sick and in bed for awhile son and I know it is hard on a boy your age. You're gonna miss more school and your chores will suffer. Doc says we gotta keep your mind occupied and I can't have you laying about without something useful to do."

Mr. Rogers exits and returns with a large heavy chest which he places next to the head of the bed of the sick Steve Rogers.

"Idle hands make the devil's work son. While you're in bed sick I want you to go through your uncle's things," he pauses for a second, choked up with emotion, "and make sense out of them for your aunt. It would mean a lot to her... And son, I'll get you to church every week if I have to carry you on my back. So don't worry."

Stevie, weakly, opens the chest to discover his uncle's belongings. A uniform from WWI. Medals. Maps, Letters and postcards bound in twine. Lining the bottom, dozens of books. Everything smells old. Steve's uncle was killed in The Great War and he never knew him. This trunk hadn't been opened in ten years...

Handed down from generation to generation, the love of this country must be preserved for those coming next. Also, continues with the letters motif and ties events backward to WWI as well. Plus, chest can contain anything so it is a useful story device.

BEN: Agreed, a great device. It brings a myriad of things to Stevie right when his mind is really searching for information. Fertile ground. There could be love letters he doesn't understand, Army training manuals, a bullet and other non-lethal spoils, American propaganda, diary of deep, personal thoughts-- all of these seeds ready to get watered and eventually sprout when needed in the future. Perfect for a trapped boy. I think my friend John is a little more mature than other guys his age because he was laid up for a while and he also went to a sort of pre-Army camp. A scene of Stevie bringing things of importance to his Aunt would be incredibly touching. Speaker for the dead. (from the novel Ender's Game.) Very strong stuff.

"iron lung" (invented in the 30's). Two women (who unfortunately died recently) spent 60 years in them after suffering irreparable damage from polio. I'm beside myself! One in the US, the other in Australia.

RICK: Looks like they got stuck in the water heater. Find out more about what it was used for, how it was used. Steve probably wouldn't have access to it even if he needed one. Too poor. Too out in the sticks. I am a little pleased with myself regarding the 'chest of his uncle's things' angle. It is implied that his father couldn't look through it and the Aunt wanted to move on with her life and put her husband's final possessions in order. Steve's father also wanted to give his son a knowledge of his uncle whom he never met and coincidentally was approximately the age Steve will be when he heads to war. It also adds importance to Steve being sick all the time. He might never be given the chest if he were healthy. Steve's father is acknowledging that Steve might die. The chest also is, besides being a metaphor for the heart, sort of a Pandora's box - once opened the contents can never be put back inside. Hopefully, this can come across as a very powerful cluster of statements...

Your lungs actually don't pull in air themselves, it's muscles in the chest cavity that pull/push the lungs and as a result, air is sucked in or pushed out of them (Negative Pressure Breathing.) The Iron Lung produces a pressurized environment like the chest and pulls and pushes the chest cavity by reducing and increasing the pressure. Amazing technology! Luckily, we now use positive pressure by pushing air into the lungs and sucking it out via a tube-- meaning that people don't have to be stuck in a huge metal cylinder. The two ladies I mentioned suffered too much damage to use positive pressure (I know one of them had a spinal injury which prevented that.)

An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.
-Thomas Paine

Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

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