Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Tokyo Storm Warning
Look, let me just say up front that I am in no way hoping a tsunami hits southern California. I'm just saying it wouldn't be all negative.

First of all, I had to watch on the news this morning reporters interviewing people at beaches all up and down the coast from Santa Monica to San Clemente who had heard there was a tsunami warning and then came down to the beach to see it. How people with these types of instincts have survived a hundred thousand years of human evolution is frankly unfathomable. But consider: if a tsunami were to hit SoCal, these would be the first people to go. I'm not saying I wish them any kind of harm personally, I'm just pointing out what would be likely to happen.

Secondly, it is a well known fact that the closer your house is to breaking ocean waves, the more your house is worth. Normally for those of us in inland valleys hemmed in by mountains and smog, oceans are things we see on TV. Once a year we'll make the trek out to the coast, at least three freeways away, because after a while the primal genetic human memory longs for the earthy feeling of sand in your pants and a cleansing, healthy sinus-cavity douche with sewage-befouled salt water. But for the most part, we inlanders know to stay away, especially if we have a seagull phobia.

If a tsunami were to strike all of a sudden, pushing the shoreline in a few miles (if only temporarily), our little smog-collecting mountains might look a little different from this side. Sure we'd still have meth labs and trailer parks (quite often all at once) and miles and miles of useless desert populated by blood-hungry tortoises, but a tsunami puts us this much closer to being beach-front. Can't hurt the property values is all I'm saying. Again, not wishing it on anyone, just pointing some things out.

Of course the resultant catastrophic loss of life and property would be... well, I guess I already said "catastrophic" didn't I? So no, I guess in the end I don't want us to have a tsunami in SoCal. Mostly because then I'd have to explain it all to my kids.

My oldest boy, as most of you know, is in Catholic school. What I'm finding out is that when your kid is in Catholic school, they talk a lot more about death than they might in your average public school kindergarten. This means my apple-cheeked little innocent is being slowly turned into a trembling, brooding, black-souled existentialist by the people to whom I have committed his daily care. Their message is technically about Jesus and how much fun it would be to die. All he can think about is how being dead might cut into his kickball schedule.

So me being the stay-at-home Pops, I get all the heavy death questions from my little Kierkegaard. Because I'm a coward, this usually involves lots of sweating and stuttering on my part as I try to explain how I've never actually been dead before so I don't know for sure what happens afterward, but I'll take what the good people at his school are selling because hey, eternal bliss or whatever don't sound half bad.

The fits of existential angst come and go with my boy. Yesterday they were set off by our dog killing some kind of a rodent in our backyard.

My son's class has a pet hamster. I'm about 99% sure it's rabid and carrying scabies. I haven't examined it in any close detail, it's just an assumption I make about all rodents. Can't be too careful. Just because God hates me and knows a special kind of infinite cruelty, this common, very dead field rodent looked exactly like a hamster. Cue 6-year-old nervous breakdown.

When it comes to any sort of pest with an exoskeleton and more than 4 legs, it's all me around my house. Crickets, spiders, flies, what have you. But if it has a vascular system and any kind of fur, I'm gone. I want no part. Even the dead ones Mrs. Pops is in charge of disposal. So when Fluffy the Yard Rat turned up dead at the hands (paws?) of my dog, I was actually quite proud of the otherwise useless mongrel.

My boy, however, dropped into full brood. "She killed it, that's not nice! When I go to heaven, will I see that mouse there? I hope so."

Since I've been reading Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil (still!), I wanted very much to tell him how proud he should be that our dog has transcended the false antipodes of so-called morality rooted in the slave mentality of the human herd perpetuated by Plato, then Christianity and finally in modern ideas of egalitarian democracy.

Instead I tried out the Circle of Life approach where I explained how dogs are stupid and they have an instinct to hunt.

I was going for The Lion King but somehow, as I was listening to myself, came across all frighteningly Ted Nugent. "The big animals kill the small animals, and that's just how it goes", not adding "So stop your crying you pussy and help me skin this kill." And then we ate its heart.

Later when I was inside trying not to gag at the thought of what was going on when my wife was picking up the rodent carcass with the pooper-scooper shovel thingy, I realized something about myself: I sure as fuck ain't Ted Nugent. And no, it's not just because I don't have the hair for it.

So for the sake of my sanity and the general psychic well-being of my children, I don't want a tsunami to hit anywhere near us. I don't even want to think about how many yard-rats something like that would kill.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8



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