Having Nana it

Many claimed, after the fact, that they had actually heard the chair dragged across the cafeteria floor. In fact, there were dozens that said they had helped her step onto the chair and maybe even onto the table itself. Too many. In retrospect once you had heard everyone who was there and those that claimed to have been an integral part of the event the numbers simply didn’t add up. It’s not even that there weren’t a lot of students present, it was just that the way it played out there was little question that many simply overstated their involvement. Which as it turned out worked out just fine.

She had started out by stating her name and age. That most agreed on. However since most of the hundreds of videos of the event started after that happened these details are mostly in dispute. What is agreed upon is that she in her late late eighties of perhaps even early nineties and by the time she uttered the third sentence from the tabletop in the cafeteria she had most of the crowd’s attention, the remainder being shushed by the time the first words of the most publicly viewed video were spoke … “which has brought me here today. For your time, your attention and hopefully your help …”

The timing, as it turns out, was pretty much perfect. The students having recently reported back to class yet all the testing and papers recently finished. Present but yet still with some free time. It was even suggested that her outfit had been specifically chosen to draw attention but the honest truth was that her entire wardrobe consisted of bright colours and bold prints for the sole reason that they made her happy. “I have always been of the opinion that television programs that are broadcast late at night or early in the morning should be designed and presented in such a way as to put you back to sleep and those shown during the day should be intended the keep you awoke.”

The speech had admittedly been written and rehearsed in advance but her unwillingness to read from notes meant that it often deviated from the script but with seemingly little impact. “I have been sent this letter today,” she stated flatly while holding up a sheet of paper, “that my house, my home of over forty years, is to be taken from me. I raised my children in this house and in fact my middle child raised his children in this house, at least for a time.” By this point the room was fully engaged. Pictures, videos and live-streaming  had reached some some sort of pleasantly surprising if also appreciated levels. The voice remained quiet, yet determined and steady.

“I have long damned my generation for ruining society. They screwed the environment and made sure the playing field was as unlevelled as possible. But it has only occurred to me recently that there are two generations that have failed us worse. My children and your parents. My kids claimed they would change the world and did jack shit. Their kids thus far have somehow did even less. Their crime is complicity and a quiet willingness to play a game they hoped whose rules were still bent to benefit them. But no! The whole system is screwed and yours is the first generation I have any faith might fix it.”

Looking back, there is some evidence that the Facebook pages and hashtags did actually start before she stepped off that table. And they caught on and worked. Not that Nana ever knew perhaps even cared. “If you don’t fix this before you reach my age you may find yourself in the same situation. Old and begging for the help of strangers who should not be expected to help. But without you I am lost. And, perhaps more importantly to you, one day …. so might you be. Your time and assistance is appreciated and thank you in advance, Stay warm and all the best.” And that was it. She set the paper down, and once a few people did help her off the table she was gone. While many rushed for the paper left behind none thought to follow her with follow-up questions. I suppose there was little left to ask.

There is little to benefit by naming the person who sent the letter to her here. Or the scam used which unfortunately had paid off often enough to be tried again. I have no interest in either giving notoriety to the perpetrator nor outlining a blueprint for others to follow. What is important to note is that by the time our protagonist got home there was a message advising that her residence was indeed saved. the people had indeed spoken. Unbeknownst to her, so were many others. And to make a long story short, it takes a lot of people to save lot of people.

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In terms of full-disclosure, she was my great-grandmother. I had overheard her telling my grandfather about the ordeal over a recent holiday dinner, Well, it was recent at the time. And i was convinced that he could and would handle it. The same way he and his peers handled everything. Looking out for himself and those her held dear. He could save her. And likely only her which is all he cared about. But my circle of protection was decidedly wider. At some point you hope that you can not only hate the player but change the entire game. What you hope is that eventually a generation is coming that is not only willing to embrace the ideals of Nana, but is also brash to demand them.