Friday, May 26, 2006

Locke and Eko: The ultimate Stay-At-Home Dads?

It's been TV finale week, and I'm finding that I can relate just about everything in some way to Mojo Mom. I consider this one of my strengths, to "use everything" in my work. Some of the ideas I get are more flights of fancy than revelation, but hey, you gotta keep the wheels turning.

So I woke up this morning thinking about the Lost finale and realized that button-pushing characters Locke and Eko may have been the ultimate stay-at-home Dads. On the show, the two men spent weeks entering the code numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 into a computer every 108 minutes, then pushing the enter key to reset the 108 minute counter. Locke and Eko were button-pushing true believers, thinking their work was incredibly important, until Locke lost faith that the relentless task of minding the button was having any real effect. It was a crazy-making job for one person to handle, as you coudn't leave the hatch unattended for more than an hour and 48 minutes at a time, day and night. The previous hatch-minder Desmond, after living in isolation for 3 years, was about to kill himself when he heard Locke banging on the outside, giving Desmond hope that relief was on the way.

This week we found out what happened when the button doesn't get pushed: alarms sounded, hell broke loose, and the whole hatch was destroyed when electromagnetic forces were unleashed. Desmond managed to activate a fail-safe mechanism that released the energy through some kind of exposion, possibly saving the world, if not the hatch inhabitants.

I had to laugh when I thought about how much this was actually like being the parent of a new baby. You have to tend to the baby day and night. If you are lucky, she will sleep for 108 minutes at a time. Her wail alarm goes off until you "push the button" through feeding, cuddling, or changing diapers. Parents can feel extremely isolated, especially new parents who are home alone, and it's easy to wonder on a day to day basis whether what we are doing is really important, but in the long run, yes, raising happy, healthy children is a gift to the world. We rarely think of it in these terms, but the world would literally be devoid of human life within a century if we didn't do this work.

And if the Lost castaways had shared the faith that this work was important, and all contributed effort to keep the button-pushing station occupied, no one would have had to go crazy to get this relatively simple, vital task done.

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