As I sat and watched "The Hunger Games" movie for the umpteenth time, I was reminded of my first thought when the silver parachute smoothly sailed to Katniss as she was perched in her tree: those charms sound familiar. Where have I heard them before? It was driving me crazy trying to remember.
And then it came to me: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood! Yes, the Neighborhood Trolley. I watched that show on PBS as I was growing up in the 70s and early 80s and my favorite part of each episode was always the trolley's journey into the Neighborhood of Make Believe. I couldn't get enough of the little puppet characters like X the owl and Daniel the tiger.
Watch an episode here. At about 10:36 you'll get to see (and hear) our little trolley friend take his journey. Now, tell me, does that sound a little like the silver parachute?
I remember how much joy watching the trolley brought into my life, and realize that the tributes in the Games obviously feel the same way when a silver parachute comes their way. [SPOILER ALERT] Which is why the use of the parachutes in the end of Mockingjay is all the more horrifying and twisted. And exactly why I could never be a "Team Gale" or a "Team Beetee" person. People who think of these awful ways to kill others are not the type of people I could be around. I know that may offend people in the military, but I would much rather see that creativity be put to use in a positive, constructive way--like thinking of ways to cure ailments or reduce our carbon footprints. If all our military efforts were redirected toward environmental concerns or medical treatments, imagine the possibilities.
But, maybe that is why the silver parachutes remind me of the Neighborhood Trolley: the "joy" is just a farce, not truly real. It's a make-believe reassurance. The tributes may feel especially grateful when they receive one, but it is only prolonging their ultimate deaths. And being able to eliminate the need for a military is just a fantasy. We will always have to defend ourselves from the evils of the world.
At some point, though, we need to realize--as Katniss finally does--that our own efforts could be the evil we are so desperately trying to combat.