Reality check

I sit regally upon the chiseled throne atop the highest temple of the powerful Aztec empire. The golden sun and its sweltering heat beat down upon the land. A brave commander of my mighty army stands before me, holding high for all to see the head of a vanquished foe. To one side are servants bringing to me a feast fit for a king - dishes of exotic meats hunted through the skills of the best trained warriors, the staple of my empire - maize, and sweat delicacies beyond dream.

I am the lord of the plains and jungles between two great seas. I wear the royal colors of gold and green, representing the invincible winged serpent which touches all aspects of life. My scepter is the symbol of power coveted by all. Yet, life for most of my subjects is simple and uncomplicated. No one has yet dreamed of the terrible invention that will advance other civilizations into a frenzy-paced madness ... the wheel. No one could yet recognize the beast with six legs, two arms and two heads which will some day bring ruin down upon the mighty Aztecian Empire ... the horse and rider. I have implemented social advancements such as runners who carry edicts and information from one center of population to another. But my shameful infamy in history will be that great sacrifices had to be made, human sacrifices that cost my people so much.

REALITY CHECK ! I am sitting half asleep on the couch in my living room. The "golden sun" is the idiotic TV shining to no one in particular. The brave commander is my young son holding up a lost tooth for me to see. I praise him as if it were the greatest thing. Over in the kitchen, supper is almost ready. The Swiss steak is actually venison that my daughter shot during deer season. Yes, we are having maize (corn), and the sweat delicacy will be ice cream for dessert.

I live on the western plains of South Dakota. The closest thing to a jungle is the underbrush on the banks of the dry Bad River. The royal colors are orange and black, representing the mighty Philip High School Scottie mascot. My scepter is a symbol of power coveted by my daughter ... the car keys. Simplicity of life is gone, because now we have wheels that range from two-wheeled motorcycles to 18-wheeler semi-trucks. The horse is now an integral part of this modern empire, because ranching and rodeo is simply the local way of life. Our runners of information are newspapers and the Internet. One thing is the same - great and infamous sacrifices are made. I cannot be with my family as much as I want. Either I am working, they are at school, or we each are doing other things which busy our days.

My sleepy daydream fades away into reality as my son pulls me toward the supper table. As I sit down with my family, I realize that my reality is better than my dream. One thing does stay with my consciousness though - considering that it is winter time in South Dakota, a little bit of that sweltering heat would be nice.