Feral boys, James Franco and mistaken identity: how the system is failing us

What these two seemingly disparate tales say about society

What may we infer from these two tales? The answer is obvious, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

They perfectly illustrate how the system is failing us.

What system is that? Why, the system.

The system that’s supposed to look out for us, to catch us when we fall, and to comfort us when we cry.

The system that tells us which brand of mayonnaise is least likely to make our bellies fat.

The system that tells us the time, so that we may go to bed when it is, in fact, nighttime.

The system that warns us when a television episode contains frightening scenes, so that we might watch the program with our eyes closed.

If the system were in working order, the feral boy would have never been feral, nor would the air ducts have been constructed large enough to allow a boy to live inside them. And if the system were adequate, I would have never been allowed into a car whose driver mistook me for the actor James Franco, nor would the driver have been allowed to just dump me in the the middle of nowhere.

If you are saying to yourself, “But Franklin, these two examples are freak occurrences; for the most part, the system works,” then I ask you to consider the following scary (but very hypothetical) cases:

A man purchases condoms to use in a sex game he’s invented called “Whac-a-Mole,” but the condoms break because the penny-pinching government has failed to test the condoms against the wear of repeated swats of a Wiffle ball bat.

A fellow purchases macarons at the new Ladurée in Soho (it’s about time!), believing they have been chicly assembled by a soft-fingered lady imported from Paris, only to find out they were thrown together by a hairy beast from Queens named Mario, because the city of New York believes that guaranteeing the provenance of ethnic bakery employees is not important.

A gentleman travelling upwards on an escalator is admiring his reflection in the mirrored ceiling when he falls backwards, and although he’s not injured, the shame is enough to make him drink excessively that afternoon, into the evening, causing him to speak in a vulgar manner to a bar hostess, getting himself thrown onto the street by a steel-headed doorman, ruining the gentleman’s Burberry Donegal tweed jacket, all of this because despite the abundance of public service announcements on television in the 80s and 90s, none addressed the dangers of escalators.

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