Sunday, October 15, 2006
Number 665... Now Serving Number 665...
Before we all panic, let's look at the facts, shall we?

North Korea has nukes. A Scorsese movie is on pace to turn a hefty profit. Supreme Court Justices are on TV debating things in with ACLU members. John Kerry might run for president again in 2008. CBGB shut down. The Detroit Tigers are in the World Series.

OK, now you may panic. Let's not be naive. The signs are unmistakable. Something is about to happen. Something bad.

The process may have already started, which would confirm my worst fears. In Hawaii this weekend, the residents there suffered through a substantial 6.6 earthquake. Pretty scary stuff. Nobody died, electricity has been interrupted for many people, some flights have been delayed or cancelled and several unfortunate souls had the earthquake rouse them prematurely from a nearly-completed full night of sleep. I know it doesn't sound like much... but what if it is?

What if this means we are on the brink of a worldwide Apocalypse of Inconveniences?

I bet you've never spent one single second thinking about that, have you? Well, we'll just see where you are when it hits.

It starts with something like lights out in Hawaii. Next thing you know, there are news reports about odd-tasting tap-water in Rio de Janeiro . Sure, maybe it's just the regular sewage taint and they only noticed because of the new all-asparagus diet craze sweeping through the general Brazilian up-river population, but it will be noticeable, it will be unwelcome and it will, I assure you, be commented on.

All the Piggly Wigglys in the greater Memphis area will suddenly and mysteriously be out of Sara Lee Toaster-Size Cinnamon-Raisin bagels. Millions of hungry African children will go totally unadopted by American celebrities. An unexplained worldwide rash of projector breakdowns during showings of The Grudge 2. Also: a worldwide rash. Very itchy but ultimately treatable.

Those new and unexpected phenomena alongside the usual suspects of inconvenience like construction detours, some seasonal flooding, mid-season-replacement TV shows, dentist appointments, Blogger, a cholera outbreak in Uttar Pradesh and the gnawing, inexpressible hunger for democratic freedoms of speech and action in tightly controlled, over-armed China and you've got yourself one heck of a globe-wide pandemic of mild but survivable annoyance.

What we must ask ourselves, of course, is what does this mean? What can this kind of coordinated spiritual attack on our daily schedules force us to face up to as a race of beings or portend for the immediate future of all mankind?


That's the answer. See, it's already an Apocalypse. Apocalypses, as a rule, don't portend or foretell or presage or anything else you can find at An apocalypse is a happening. End of the process. Hence the name, yes? So it isn't really a catalyst for reflection or deep contemplation of the nature of what it means to be human. Turns out we missed that bit already. It is, as a noted social critic and philosopher of our time once said, "just a bunch of stuff that happens."

Except in the case of an actual Apocalypse, all the "stuff that happens" will be the wheat divided from the chaff (figuratively... or maybe literally too, I don't know... I hear God is altogether very ambitious, agriculturally minded and a wicked proficient multitasker) resulting in the Rapture-ing of the select few and the wanton slaughter and/or leaving to rot in a world completely denied the warming, life-giving light of God's attentions for the rest of you humanity.

But clearly, judging from the Hawaii example, that is not what we're facing at the moment. No signs, no warnings left. But when you're sitting in a traffic jam that ultimately has no obvious cause or your dog suddenly develops an irresistible taste for the shoes you wear to work, you should just nod and sigh and know this is our lot now. The signs were given and were missed and now we can do nothing but take our unusually high number-ticket from the little red wheel dispenser at the Post Office and wait at the end of the unseasonably long line.

Or maybe we're supposed to stop this Kerry for President thing. I don't know. All of a sudden I'm starting to feel a little Dead Zone-y and it's creeping me out.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.1



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