Posts tagged ‘End of the World’

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Next Four Years

21 January, 2017 | | 3 Comments

Don’t Panic.

While I am certain that I do not speak for all Americans, which is these days mainly a question of decibels and volume, I feel comfortable speaking for some reasonable percentage of us when I describe how many of us feel this morning.

If you haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you should.  There is a scene very early where Earthman Arthur Dent has just regained consciousness on a Vogon spaceship, where his friend has rescued him from what is now the smoking remains of what had been our planet.

“…There was no way his imagination could feel the impact of the whole Earth having gone, it was too big. He prodded his feelings by thinking that his parents and his sister had gone. No reaction. He thought of all the people he had been close to. No reaction. Then he thought of a complete stranger he had been standing behind in the queue at the supermarket two days before and felt a sudden stab: the supermarket was gone, everyone in it was gone! Nelson’s Column had gone! And there would be no outcry, because there was no one left to make an outcry! From now on Nelson’s Column only existed in his mind. England only existed in his mind. A wave of claustrophobia closed in on him.
He tried again: America, he thought, has gone. He couldn’t grasp it. He decided to start smaller again. New York has gone. No reaction. He’d never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, has sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every “Bogart” movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonald’s, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald’s hamburger.
He passed out.”

That’s how many of us feel right now.  The enormity of the situation, the magnitude of the mistake – there is no way for our imaginations to feel the impact of climate change denials and LGBT rights reversals and ACA repeals all at once.  It’s too big.   America has gone.  We can’t grasp it.  Many of us never seriously believed it existed anyway.

Don’t panic.  Yes, the Vogons control both houses of Congress, and we’ve elected The Donald to the White House, Zaphod Beeblebrox with one head and small hands.

I have learned a lot from having kids.  One of the most interesting things we noticed is that all of them – the Human Tape Recorder, Number One Son, and the Reigning Queen of Pink – all went through some of the same mechanisms of growth and development; parenting books and the internet tell us that most children do this as well.  When the kids were little, we’d watch them becoming older, more mature, and marvel at their independence – and then suddenly they’d be clingy and fearful.  It seemed they had regressed two years overnight.  Then, a few weeks or a month later, they bounced out and moved on, standing taller than ever, butterflies with new wings.  They had just needed that reassurance, that sense of touching home base, of being sure that there was a safe place behind them before they moved on to the next part of their broader world view.

That’s how I see America right now.

EIGHT WHOLE YEARS with a black president?  All that LGBT legislation protecting the dignity of all people?  The hard-line conservative core reacted like 6-yr-olds.  There was just too much change, too fast.  With this election, conservative America had a chance to regress for a while, to touch home base, and that’s the way the country voted.

Just like my kids at that age, though, we’ve *seen* the broader world.  The genie is out of that bottle.  We know it will be waiting for us; we know we’re going to go back to it.  America would just like a few more years under a fuzzy blanket, please.   Give us 8, 10, 15 years and we’ll be back where we were and then some; we will remember this episode as an embarrassing and brief blip in our history.

That’s my hope, anyway.  Don’t think it’s inevitable – it’s not.   Don’t think it won’t take a lot of effort – it will.  We need to do our best, as the parents of this still-young country, to keep prodding it to be better, to keep calling our elected officials, to keep yelling when yelling will help. to keep whispering when whispering works, to keep loving the country and the idea of the country.

It seems very dire right now, and many of my friends worry that the current spectacle is reminiscent of the Nazis.  They’re not wrong, and there is evil afoot in the world – it looks like intolerance, it looks like intransigence, it looks like the willful suspension of belief in facts, and we must speak against it when we see it.   Fascism is a scary specter, but don’t think it’s inevitable – it’s not.

America may not have been ready for the social progress that it made, but it will be.  This is a road we’re paving slowly, and the pendulum will swing back toward education, toward tolerance, toward dignity and a more worldly world view.

That’s my hope, anyway.

In the mean time…

Don’t Panic.

 

It has a Name!

31 January, 2012 | | 2 Comments

So, it’s been 4 weeks with the horoscope, to mixed reviews.  The ManFAQ, mayitrestinpeace, was usually only a single question – not a bad gig if you’ve got a week to write it.  This sucker, man – do you realize there are 12 of those things?  Each week?  What was I thinking?

But there are good sides.  I’ve touched people’s lives.  Amarina wrote in from Australia to say that her horoscope from 2 weeks ago was “spot on, mate!”  Inga from Germany told me hers last week was “frighteningly to the pin” which I’m reliably informed means that I got it right.  Several Canadians have mentioned that the forecasts seem too accurate to be just chance, and 90 percent of Americans polled indicted that they were considering taking out restraining orders because their horoscopes were not just forecasting their futures, but actually creating them.  

However, this has only been the case when those horoscopes have been, well, not to put too fine a point on it, lousy.  For those few times I’ve indicated a pleasant week ahead, smooth sailing, you’re rockin’ out this time – dead wrong. 

What can we derive from this?  Either (A) I’m a prescient genius, (B) everyone’s been having a really shitty month, (C) shitty prophecies are self-fulfilling, or (D) all of the above.   Since I have yet to win the lottery, I can safely discount (A).  I think we can probably safely chalk up (B) to the fact that it’s January.  That leaves (C), which tells us that people generally expect things to go wrong and are usually unsurprised to find themselves once again ankle deep.  Here’s where we pull out the Philosophers.  Who can help us? 

Thomas Hobbes, of course!   Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.  Since we know the lives of men (and ladies) are mostly pretty bleak, we can simply quote Leviathan:

“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”

From now on, I can predict with pedagogical prescience that my astro-illogical dances with your destiny will be entirely accurate.  From this Friday forth, may I present:  The Hobbesian Horoscope.

Doomed, we are.  Doomed.

 

Still here?

22 May, 2011 | | No Comment

Man, what did we do wrong?  I am just shocked – shocked, I say – to find that we’re all still here.  God must have a soft spot for Bourbon, though – sometime during the Preakness, several mint julips appear to have been caught up in the Rapture.  I’m sure I don’t know where they went. 

Well, back on our heads.  I sure wouldn’t have missed the Donald’s hair, though.

Happy Rapture to All, and to All a Good Night!

21 May, 2011 | | 7 Comments

So there we have it, it’s Rapture day.  We’ve got about 2 hours (local time) until we can start looting our glorious brothers and sisters are called to their reward.  I’ve tallied up all the things that people wrote in that they’re Not Gonna Miss, and I wanted to share the results with you now…  (Not that it will matter soon.)

Not Gonna Miss

Not Gonna Miss

 

There were some overlaps with my list, of course:

Number 10:  Donald Trump’s Hair.
Number 9:  People who can’t drive in bad weather.
Number 8:  Annoying Facebook status update memes.
Number 7:  Cheap Beer.
Number 6:  Natural Disasters.
Number 5:  Prophesies about the End of the World that turn out to be wrong.
Number 4:  Organized religions.
Number 3:  Dieting.
Number 2:  Celebrities who can’t handle celebrity.
Number 1:  Watching the Chicago Cubs blow the pennant every damn year.

Thank all of you who posted with the things that you’re Not Gonna Miss as well!  It’s been delightful knowing you all, and I’m sure we’ll all have Great Fun once we’re caught up in a few hours.  Unless, you know, this becomes another damn Number 5 (above)…

Countdown to the Rapture, NGM Edition – Day 1

20 May, 2011 | | 2 Comments

OK, this is it.  There’s nothing penultimate about this one.  Today is the last full day before the end of the world as we know it.  How do you feel?  Tell me, how do you feel?

Right, I thought so.  I’ve been counting down all the things that I am Not Gonna Miss come the rapture tomorrow, and I have to confess I’m feeling pretty good about it all.  I’m not gonna miss the hair on The Donald, and I’m certainly not gonna miss Charlie Sheen and our loonyfauxtainment system – nor the prices we have to pay the damn cable companies to be loonyfauxtained. 

There are so many things that will end too soon, it’s true, and so many hopes and dreams will die unrealized when the world ends tomorrow afternoon.  Bummer. 

But of all the things I’m Not Gonna Miss, speaking of hopes and dreams that die unrealized, there’s one thing that was always going to stand out at the top of this list.

Number 10:  Donald Trump’s Hair.
Number 9:  People who can’t drive in bad weather.
Number 8:  Annoying Facebook status update memes.
Number 7:  Cheap Beer.
Number 6:  Natural Disasters.
Number 5:  Prophesies about the End of the World that turn out to be wrong.
Number 4:  Organized religions.
Number 3:  Dieting.
Number 2:  Celebrities who can’t handle celebrity.
Number 1:  Watching the Chicago Cubs blow the pennant every damn year.

You know, a friend of mine mentioned the other day that I seemed like an optimist.  “You amaze me,” she said, “you always seem to have faith that things will work out.”  I responded with the simple truth: Of course I have faith. I’m programmed to have faith. I’m a goddamn Cubs fan.  It’s what we do.

A lot can happen between May and October.  Just because we nearly lead the league in runs allowed doesn’t mean we can’t pull it out.  Right?  Just because we haven’t won a World Series in a century doesn’t mean we won’t win it this year.  This is next year!  Who’s with me?  Just because we haven’t even BEEN to a world series in 66 years doesn’t mean we won’t win it this year! 

Yeah, it does.  We won’t win it this year either.  We know.  But we’re still going to cheer.  We’re still going to have faith that things will work out.  We’re Cubs fans, after all.  It’s what we do.

So please God, because I’m Not Gonna Miss watching the Chicago Cubs blow the pennant every damn year, call the Rapture tomorrow.  Because Harry Caray is waiting for us all in Heaven:  “Cubs win! Holy Cow!”