Everything is going to be okay. And if not, it’s still going to be okay because someday you’ll die and whatever it is—and everything else—will all be over.
Someone gave their life today. You’d giggle or sneer or maybe smile at my eccentricity if I refer to them as a “person,” because slave cultures only recognize the personhood of one nation: the human nation. This person I’m speaking of walked on four hooves, and faintly remembered their ancestral status as Chief upon the largest bioregion—the largest community—on planet earth: the Great Plains. On that land, the human nation of thousands once recognized their kinship with a nation of millions: tatanka oyate, the (Buffalo)(People/Nation/Community/Tribe).
This one died to feed the people, to feed the ceremony. I hope you like buffalo soup. If not, it’s okay; I’ll enjoy it on your behalf, and keep you in mind when prayers are offered.
“Call for help,” said Cooper-as-Dougie-Jones (see: Twin Peaks season 3, available on DVD or bootleg near you). Yes, call for help, and when it comes one must be thankful. It’s a simple formula, really; if you value something and you are grateful, then you get the most out of what you value. Anything you take for granted, along with everything you don’t, will someday be gone. Simple truths.
A few days ago I was reading an interview that comics legend Will Eisner conducted with Phil Seuling, who is the man more or less directly responsible for the existence of both comic book conventions and comic book stores (Will Eisner’s Shop Talk, Dark Horse Comics 2001). I’ve been reading comics for as long as I can read, and started buying comic books regularly around the age of 9. When I first discovered there was such a thing as a comic book store, my world instantly became that much more magical. Weekly trips, stacks of books, my one-stop depot for the amazing. My first comic book convention blew my mind, and multiplied the magic even more. Phil Seuling gave birth to both. Incredible.
Phil Seuling died in 1984, at age 50. I was four years old. In 12 years, I will be the same age he was when he died.
Sometimes things come along that make you feel the time crunch.
Imagine if you knew you only had 12 more years to live. What would you do? How would you live your life? No obsessive bucket-list fantasies, please; your surviving family members might inherit your credit card debt, or your shame, or both. How much time has already gone by? How much of it did you spend in front of a TV, or playing video games, or being a miserable sonuvabitch? Or (insert waste of time here)? How much more time do you want to give to such things?
No judgment on your choices; they’re yours after all, not mine. I don’t give a shit. These are just words on a screen, something to think about. Besides, I believe that in many areas of life, particularly in our relationships, we get what we want.
Not what we say we want, or what we think we want, but what we actually want. You can tell by what people have. For example, everyone’s got at least one friend in a romantic relationship with someone trife (if you don’t have that kind of friend, you probably are that friend). These friends spend years burning moments off your life, telling you what a shitbag their girl/boy/x/friend is, and yet they continue to choose to be with the shitbag in question.
And you, being a good friend, will dutifully listen, perhaps sympathize, and maybe even encourage them to jettison the dead weight. They never do. You know why? Because they want to be in a relationship with a shitbag.
And you want to be friends with someone who spends years burning moments off your life talking about their shitbags.
Is wanting to play video solitaire on your spacephone for six hours a day worse than wanting to be in a relationship with a shitbag? I think not, but you might disagree. Point is, we all make choices. We all choose whether or not to claim our choices AS CHOICES. You can choose to be grateful for (whatever you have to be grateful for), or you can choose to not be grateful.
“I really should be grateful for…” said in a whining voice riddled with shame and guilt. FUCK THAT, in capital letters. It’s as if the content of “should” was defined long ago by some disembodied and absent power, and that content always adds up to the same thing: I’m not good enough. If you’re looking for ideas on what you should be doing, I’ve got plenty and I’ll be happy to share, because I know just as well as you do that you won’t act on them anyway. You can choose to (whatever) or you can choose to not (whatever.) “Should” can eat a bag of dicks.
I’m going to be bold and say there’s a proper way for humans to exist on the earth—in a state of active humility to the great mystery of life and the living world. Active, meaning “acted on,” not merely spoken into an echo chamber of virtue signaling. I realize that in the MegaTech era people think the sign and the signified are the same thing, but work with me here because this is important: action is action. The humility I speak of is inherent in the cultures, beliefs, and behaviors of humans who live with the earth. Savages, you would call them, if you were being honest. I prefer “organic.”
What makes this way the proper way is that it keeps people from taking too much or concentrating power. The desire for Total Control is anti-life, as we can see clearly here at the event horizon of The End of the World; it only took four or five millennia of pyramids, grids, and machines to bring this planet to the brink of uninhabitability. Does life on earth have 12 years left? 50?