America: The It of Its Own Hide’n’Seek

Hide’n’ seek or hide and seek denotes a children’s game. The Wikipedia entry is not very clear, so here is a better description of the game:Hide’n’ seek is a children’s game in which a number of players conceal themselves from one seeker, usually the less popular kid, often identified as “It.” It will go to a corner and without looking around, will count to a predetermined number, usually 10 or 20, while the other players hide. After reaching the number, It will stop and say as loudly as possible: “ready or not, here I come.” Then, It will attempt to locate all concealed players. The last player It finds wins the game.

Sometimes, hide’n’seek is a children’s mean way of telling one of them that they are not popular and no one wants to play with them. That is how the unpopular kid becomes It.

One of my dearest memory as a child comes from being brave enough to be hiding in a cellar with other kids from the apartment building where my family rented our home. Finally, I owned a pair of jeans and the boys treated me as one of them and invited me to play hide’n’seek behind barrels of pickled cabbage which smelled putrid in the summer. There was no light in the cellar and the fear of the occasional rat kept the It of the moment away until the very end of the game, when the embarrassment that he would have to be It again emboldened him enough to come to the treacherous cellar and try to get us to talk so he could recognize us by our voices. We giggled a lot and the game helped us enjoy the long summer days.

I believe Putin is having a chuckle over Obama’s Snowden quagmire. Snowden went hiding in plain view and Obama is seeking him in vain, because Obama has made America be the unpopular It, much like Bush did it ahead of him.

I have not been playing the game for more than 30 years – of course, with some more adult exceptions – but like everybody else I know that if one becomes It, the only way out of the pit is by changing your personality. If the bully became It, the bully understood that he’s alone and unless he softened up, no one would play with him. Once upon a time, America was a fine country, and my maternal grandfather who refused to kill anybody on the East Front died waiting for the Americans to take us away from the Soviet Empire. Now, there are US military basis all over the world, but I doubt that anybody wants the Americans to free them, because Americans have stopped freeing people. Americans deliver the conquered folks into captivity to various military contractors, such as Cheney’s BlackWater, or worse, make friends with the local mafia and puts them in power.

A few weeks ago the world saw proof that the US spies on everybody. The world saw our government sporting a virginal outraged smile as the news broke. Of course, everybody who can spies on everybody else but the smile the sport is hawkish and if they’re caught so be it. It’s in bad taste to pretend otherwise, and it makes you an It with little chance to become anything else.

In my childhood experience, not everybody got to play hide’n’seek. As I said, it was by invitation only. I got in when I had proper attire – a pair of jeans. There were the meek and small kids and the kids too tall and old who did not make it. There were also kids my age and built who did not make it, because no one was interested in their conversation while in hiding. But everybody aspired to play the game or loved to reminisce about its fun. So, again, why pretend otherwise? It’s lonely to be a mere mafia bully when your parents were world-acclaimed heroes.

Or maybe this is all too shortsighted of me?

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