Sunday, June 10, 2007

A couple very weird modern things all jumbling themselves up in a very modern way that makes me, a sensitive young modern, concerned.

That's Brendan Mackie up there. No, not me, the other one.

One of the things that happens to you if you're on Facebook long enough is that you become friends - almost inevitably - with people who share your name. Now, I don't know if you're meant to develop any sort of special connection with these people, but I still find it odd to think that somewhere out there in the big confusion of the world, there's another Brendan Mackie bumbling around, and he goes to Wilmington College and likes "Photography, Physical Fitness, School."

We don't learn much about each other from these profiles, that's for sure. The guy plays beer pong, and frankly seems a bit boring. But whatever, he has my name.

But here's the scary thing: Brendan Mackie - the other Brendan Mackie - is going to Iraq.

He posted pictures of his going away party. For me the whole war seems to me to be a small blip on the radar screen of my world. I skip over the articles about Iraq in the newspaper - because they're all the same: Iraq is broken, things are horrible, we can't do anything. Since there's so much suffering over there, to let your mind actually embrace that suffering, and understand it, you have to give the suffering a lot of thought and energy. And I don't have enough thought and energy for that. I barely have enough thought and energy to keep up the basic offices of Western hygiene.

But Brendan Mackie - the other one, the one who like Emo music and all the Law and Order series - he's going to get to know the war first hand. And that's scary. I know it doesn't make any difference who the soldiers' names are, but it makes the war seem a little bit closer to home. I feel like I should do something: e-mail him, say hi, tell him I will think of him, tell him not to get killed. But what would that do? I'm seriously asking: what would it do?


Ben Weyl said...

wow. that's crazy...

Evan Petrie said...

Hey Brendan, Interesting post. I haven't yet discovered and other Evan Petrie's on Facebook, but I am sure that at least one or two exist. I find another Evan Petrie when I Google my name, but all I know about him is that he wrote something for BusinessWeek one time.

I think instead of contacting him to tell him or suggest to him what he ought to do, contact him to ask about how he feels about going to Iraq, what he expects to see and do there, how he expects it to change him, etc. It might give you the chance to learn something new and would also give him reason to pause and reflect on his own ideas and feelings about going to Iraq (I would assume he has given it a great deal of thought already, but it's always good to pause and think). Also, you could then try to contact him again in two or three months and ask if what he actually found in Iraq and actually experienced meshed with his expectations and see how his ideas about the whole situation might have changed or be changing as a result of the first-hand knowledge he will be gaining.