Revenge is not a game.


Maxine and Stretch are characters in mysteries by Sue Henry. Stretch is a dog, Maxine the accidental sleuth. Here’s a bit of wisdom I found in her novel THE TOOTH OF TIME:

“Somehow I think most people may assume that senior citizens are less inclined to revenge, leaving murder to younger people with more physical ability, who have yet to establish complete control over their impulses and the possible consequences. We forget that older people have had longer to generate and adhere to our resentments and hatreds . . . “

Hatred and revenge drive the plot of my mystery, SOPHIE REDESIGNED. I am old enough to remember World War II, and there have been so many more wars since then. I made revenge stemming from war the male “problem” in my first novel, but there is no gender claim to a powerful desire to get back at someone. Think of the mothers and daughters who don’t speak to each other, who find ways to make the other feel ugly or stupid or mean. Think of sisters who try to outdo each other, and one who resents the other’s success will get even by saying nasty things about her in the family. And think of the ex-wives who try to damage their husbands’ new wives’ security.

Getting revenge is a terrible habit to pass on in kids, and it sometimes crops up in game competition without seeming serious, and then it becomes natural to “get the other guy” who got you first in real life situations. They may be practical jokes, but eventually creep into the competitiveness of the workplace. In families, resentments that carry on for decades, and often are the basis for a decisions in making a will.

Revenge doesn’t usually end in glee and satisfaction. It comes back to haunt you. Anger and hatred are heavy burdens. When it is too late to beg forgiveness, to make amends, to make things right again, you will suffer more pain than your enemy ever did.

I’m worried about Pokemon. The science counselor at our 5-year-old granddaughter’s camp says it is about math. But there are battles and captures and slavery involved in this intricate game. Battling aptitude matters, as does attack. Evolution is a concept that means a character is getting stronger — not a bad idea in and of itself, but powerful Trainers must be defeated in order for the characters to progress. To me, this suggests an overthrow of some sort — teachers, perhaps? I just don’t like it, and I think it is one of the least useful imports we have had from Japan.

Could Japan be seeking revenge?

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