Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
sidenote: don't spoiler yourself.  Seeing the punch coming makes it hurt all the more.

Not only is it a really well-made documentary, it's the saddest thing I have ever watched. Previous contenders were The House of Sand and Fog. which was then replaced by Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April, which are both about the Rwandan genocide. Scripted tragedy like Sand and Fog doesn't really stand up to the power of real heartbreak.

And then Dear Zachary came along, and it is beyond real. It is... well, "heartbreaking" is so overused a word now, so trite that I don't quite think you'd get that watching it felt like something inside me was breaking too. That twisting, wrenching sensation in the chest/stomach that you get when you know things are going wrong in a terrible way, when life all of a sudden stops making sense, in the most tragic ways possible.

I was not a crier before this film, and I certainly won't be after, because my tear ducts have now officially quit.

Just right there, I was going to make a joke, was going to say they were filing a restraining order against me, but just thinking about that in context of the documentary made my stomach go a little cold. Maybe today is not the day for jokes. Maybe today is the day you hug those you love tightly. Today is the day you maybe cry a little at the senselessness of the world and the outdated, slow, and impotent legal system that every first-world country possesses. And today is the day you think that sometimes citizens might have the right to meet out justice when their government fails them, fails the ones they love, and fails everyone else in the process. Today is the day that the most staunch liberals consider, even just briefly, the idea that owning a gun might just come in handy. The day that athiests desperately wish there was an alm that could give protection, a tithe to be made, a candle to be lit that could ensure such tragedy would never touch their own lives.

But owning a gun won't help. Saying a prayer won't help. Because if there were things that could be done to prevent such senseless tragedy, it wouldn't be senseless, and it wouldn't be tragedy.

I don't know, I don't think I can speak eloquently about this movie right now, my entire body feels like a thousand pulsing raw nerves. I am not a crier. And maybe you aren't a documentary watcher. Maybe you don't like things that don't have that classical American-style happy ending. Maybe it's just not your thing. But maybe today just isn't like every other day, maybe today shouldn't be like every other day. Maybe today you'll watch it. And maybe you won't.

But today, if nothing else, say "I love you" just a little more often. Hug just a little tighter, have just thirty seconds more patience with the frustrations of loved ones, and laugh just a little more, a little louder, and with a little more joy.


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