Small victories totally make my day (mostly because big victories are few and far between, so I take my pleasure when I can), and since I had a small victory today, I thought I’d share with you fellow travelers.
A few months ago I was wearing a bandana decorated with peace signs while chatting with the 6 year old sister of one of my waitresses. These girls were raised strict Baptists, with very little opportunity for rational thought. This little girl informed me that I was wearing a “Santanic” symbol, and that it was an upside-down and broken cross. She was being told, by her mom, dad, and pastor that it had been designed by evil people who were trying to expand Satan’s evil influence over young people.
I was stunned. I certainly had no intention to ever donning the symbol of any imaginary friend, and certainly not an evil imaginary friend. I had never heard this before, but since I didn’t know the true story about how the peace symbol came about, the best I could say at the time was “I’m not evil, and I would never do evil things.”
This seemed to confuse her, and she immediately rushed off to tell her mom “Miss Brenda says that sign isn’t Satanic, mommy.” (She is such a little tattletale, did I mention that?) However, as soon as I got home that night I was off to the Google machine to find out what the deal was.
Lo and behold, it turns out that the peace sign was originally designed by a French dude as a protest against nuclear arms and represented the semaphore letters “N” (for nuclear) and “D” (for disarmament), enclosed in a circle. The symbol was later appropriated by the US anti-war movement during the Vietnam War.
My husband and I realized then and there that there was no way we could explain nuclear disarmament or semaphore to a six year old, especially one who was just learning to read and might not even know what the letters N and D were, so we did our best to explain it to her sister, hoping the info might get leaked to little sister in some way.
(In a side note, this story is the genesis of us calling any moment you realize you are trying to have a discussion with someone who is clearly lacking in even the most basic knowledge on a subject that you would have to spend all day getting them up to speed before you can have a productive conversation with them as a “Semaphore Moment”. You know, those folks who are sure the entire system is rigged because the first lady becomes president if the president dies – also a true story.)
Anyway, back to the here and now. Today my waitress was wearing a necklace with a peace sign on it. I jokingly told her not to let her mom see it, and this is what she said:
“She’s seen it. I told her what you said about the real story behind the symbol and she said ‘I never thought of it that way.’ I told her that’s because she doesn’t look stuff up, she just believes what she’s told.”
HOORAY! Score one for critical thinking and skepticism! I think I’ll celebrate with the infant leg that was left over from the All Atheist Baby BBQ/Dog Orgy we attended last weekend.