eNewsChannels BOOK SERIAL: “Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G: Chapter 48 – “Stardust” (conclusion).
Previously on “Secret Sex” – Birth. Near-death experiences. Coping with stoopid. Encounters with evil. Sex (teasing), sex (real), and sex (secret). Marriage. Betrayal. Raising and learning from The Kid. Writing (hype), writing (beyond hype and all the way to lies), and real writing (truth). Encounters with god and other paranormal beings. And various ‘n’ sundry oddities of life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There. Y’all are caught up.
When I was in my last year of middle school, I entered a writing contest and submitted an essay entitled “The Artistic Validity of Miscegenation.” (Oh for god’s sake go look it up.) The teacher was in agreement with some of my points but refused to accept the paper because, as she put it, “I would prefer to keep my job.”
A four-way conference ensued (me, my parents, the teacher, and the school principal), and it was my contention that “When I get to be your age, maybe we’ll be over all this.”
“We all hope so,” was the reply.
When I was in college, a similar thing happened with a paper I wrote entitled “The Racism of the Conservative Mind-Set.” Another meeting ended with my same tight-lipped wish for a better tomorrow.
Here we Are
And now it is tomorrow, and we need to ask ourselves how far we have come. It may seem funny now, but some of my generation truly believed that racism and conservatism would be relegated to the ash heap of history by now. Instead they both swirl around the body politic like ghost-spirits in an abandoned abattoir, aided by a plethora of odious corporations, despicable billionaires, tea baggers, and mesmerized members of the GOP, who mostly act like a human form of necrotizing fasciitis, or what the popular press calls flesh-eating bacteria.
Part of the blame lies with otherwise decent people who will not lift a finger to fight back. So many Americans lack initiative and energy when it comes to acting on their morality. Here are just some teeny-tiny examples: We say we want economic fairness but we elect people who support plutocracy. We say we want freedom but elect people who support theocracy. We say we want to eradicate gang violence and the homeless, but we elect people who support economic policies that create those problems. We say we want energy solutions but look away when the nuclear industry tosses used reactor rods into the sea.
“Oh come on, no one would throw used reactor rods into the ocean.” My girlfriend was in earnest. She looked at me with a somewhat hopeful expression. “Would they?”
“Would and did.”
The officials at the nuclear bomb factory were stymied for a while. Unofficially, of course. Officially everything was just hunky-dory, whatever that means. In the backroom meetings about What To Do With The No Longer Economically Viable But Still Highly Radioactive Rods, one bright middle-level dweeb said, “We could do what we did last time and bury them out in the desert.”
“Don’t think so,” said Dweeb Two. “Not after what the top brass said last time: ‘We don’t want the desert turning red.’ Ha! Shows how little they know. It’s not going to be red out there, it’s going to be orange.”
“Actually,” said Dweeb Three, “it will appear to be more of a yellow-ish white.”
“No, it will be orange.”
“Sorry, but I think you’re mistaken.”
“Pardon me, but I believe you’re incorrect.”
“Hey, you’re just wrong, pal. It’d be yellow-ish.”
“No, iridescent orange.”
“It would be yellow.”
“No it wouldn’t.”
“Yes it would!”
And from there the meeting dissolved into the equivalent of “Would not!” “Would so too!” until one of the more scientific types said, “Whoa, the color doesn’t matter! Calm down, everybody. The color isn’t the issue here. And besides, while we’ll never know, science will know in a few hundred years.”
“You’re right. It’s silly to argue.”
“Although it wouldn’t take a couple hundred years.”
“Sorry, but I think you’re mistaken.”
“Pardon me, but I believe you’re incorrect. It wouldn’t take that long.”
“Sure it would.”
“No, it wouldn’t.”
And we’re off into another round of “Would not!” “Would so too!” but this time accompanied by throwing clipboards at each other until one of the more scientific types pounded the table to get attention and then started the group in their favorite chant, “There’s no need for anyone to be upset because . . . ”
All together: “There is absolutely no problem with radiation leakage or seepage or anything like that.”
That’s right, because:
All together: “Mr. Radioactivity is your friend!”
Of course, some people found it peculiar that in the last place they buried used core rods, you could fry eggs on the desert sands. At midnight. During a storm. In the middle of winter.
But then someone notices a copy of National Geographic magazine. “Hey, did you read about these deep trenches at the bottom of the ocean? They go down thousands and thousands of feet. We could dump the rods there.”
“You think so?”
“Sure! Who would ever know?”
“Will the brass like it?”
“We’ll make it sound safe. We’ll seal the rods in lead barrels!”
“Great! We can dump a hundred barrels down there!”
“Well, we wouldn’t ever produce a thousand of ’em.”
“Are you kidding, we’ll be there in no time.”
“No way. It’d never go that high.”
“Would so too!”
And so on.
And the dumping began. No one seems to remember the number of rods or the number of barrels but whatever the figure, the radioactive waste is even now slowly, inexorably transforming the lead barrels into a radioactive substance. All of which is now slowly, inexorably raising the radioactivity level of the seas themselves.
If this isn’t a parable for the human race, then I just don’t know parables for the human race. Which I probably don’t. But the point is, if my view strikes you as pessimistic, consider this:
Ask someone in your neighborhood if they know where their water comes from, because they may not understand that some of it is from the run-off that passes over their property, and some of it seeps directly into the water table from the ground above. Then ask them if they would like their H-two-Oh to be uncontaminated.
“Yes,” they’ll probably say, “we want the water supply to be clean because our children bathe in it, and we wash our dishes and clothes in it.” Yes, “Clean water is important,” they’ll tell you, not long before saying something like:
“Excuse me a second, I was changing the oil in my truck and just have to dump this old stuff in the garden.”
Yes, they want uncontaminated water, but:
“Excuse me a second, I just cleaned some paint brushes and I’ll be with you just as soon as I dump this turpentine out behind the house.”
Yes, clean water is a must for these folks! Except, you know, in their personal actions or when they support politicians who allow companies to do exactly that same type of pollution but on a larger scale.
“People are smarter than that in the long run,” my editor told me.
“Really?” I asked her. “And how long is this ‘long run’ of which you speak?”
Besides, just look at the politicians these folks elect to state and federal office and you can see that people are not smart at all.
Possible Ending #1
“With all that has happened,” I said, “escaping death so many times, watching my parents die, experiencing my family being destroyed, I can’t help thinking that life is really all bullshit.”
“I know what you mean,” said my editor, “but life isn’t bullshit.”
“No. It’s peopleshit.”
What’s Your Sum Total?
Think back on all the interactions you’ve had, all the work you’ve done, all the decisions you’ve made, and all the results of your life on planet earth. What is the sum total of your existence? Good, fair-to-middlin’, poor?
Sometimes my view of my own life is very pessimistic. Sometimes it feels as if a conclusion of my physicality would be beneficial. Just ask yourself: “What will be the effect on the world when I stop living?”
* Will the average I.Q. go up or down?
* Will the aggregate amount of morality increase or decrease?
* Will there be more kindness, wit, and insight in the world? Or less?
For most of us, our absence would cause not a ripple. Which makes me think how helpful it would be if everyone made these assessments every day. And each day you delay your inevitable exit, perhaps there needs to be a payment in the form of caring, contemplation, or consideration. Otherwise, what is the point of taking up space?
Possible Ending #2
You may be looking for a bit of celestial triumph in your life, but our societal institutions are not designed to lead us to that. Schools don’t encourage it, members of religions act in opposition to it, businesses don’t reward it, and political parties put price tags on it when not trying to stamp it out altogether.
But goodness is residing within every one of us and it sometimes emerges. You can feel it inside yourself. You can feel it from others. Every once in a long long while, someone has felt it from me. I promise I’m going to try making that happen more often. How about you?
You know all the cliches about humanity: Dust in the wind. A hundred pounds of clay. A few bucks’ worth of chemicals. Skin and bone and a hank of hair. We are insignificant gnats flitting across the sky. Flyspecks in the cosmos. Or (my favorite) gravy stains on a gigantic silk tie called the Milky Way.
But we have power. The aggregate behavior of the populace can change everything. Take a moment to consider what Pasquale Villari wrote in 1860:
To make a nation truly great a handful of heroes capable of great deeds at supreme moments is not enough. Heroes are not always available and one can often do without them. But it is essential to have thousands of reliable people — honest citizens — who steadfastly place the public interest before their own.
But will we heed Villari? Will enough people try to do the right thing? We don’t have a very good track record. We let someone with Alzheimer’s run the country for eight years and we let his muddleheaded vice president take over for another four years after that. We let an obvious mental defective run the country for eight years even when it became clear he was a marionette being dangled by heinous creatures who were in bed with war profiteers.
All that in the past thirty years. A very dismal record. And just what are you doing to prevent those things from happening again?
Thoughts as the Candle Burns Down
Take a couple of minutes and get away from everybody. Turn off the TV, the music, the computer, the phone. Imagine yourself unable to hear anything. Not even a rush of dead air. Not even a roaring silence, but just the absence of all sound. Imagine yourself unable to speak. No grunting, no groaning, no lip movements. Forget about your appendages: no hands, feet, arms, legs. Imagine yourself blind. No color, no shape, no light.
There, that is your essence.
You are just that quivering drop of humanity deep down inside yourself. That’s the real you that other people do not get to see. We don’t let ourselves see it, either, at least not very often. But there you are, for good or ill: a small trembling spirit resonating inside a fragile body. Now, what does your human form do to build on this soul?
Do you emit ideas, or only opinions? Do you offer constructive comments or destructive demagoguery? Do you face life with a smile or a frown? Is the world a better place because you’re in it or are you taking up space?
There is a tremendous block of voters in the USA who are, as we sometimes say, “old enough to know better.” The Boomer generation is huge. We can change things in this country, if we want to do so.
We have seen that all politicians lie but we know that it is important to assess the quality, quantity, and purpose of the lying. Is the truth being shaded to make a tough choice more palatable, or is the truth not even a part of the message? Even the slow-witted among us can see that one political party always turns to great numbers of people for their mandate, while the other party always turns to billionaires and trillion-dollar corporations for theirs.
Imagine what would happen if we decided to act responsibly. We could rule our lives according to the principles of honesty, faith, fairness, rationality, altruism, love, justice, and truth. Think of what that would mean.
It. Would. Be. Awesome!
A truly amazing thing could occur: We could stamp out people who want to increase the power and wealth of the powerful and wealthy. With just a little effort, we could insist that basic human decency be a requirement for the lawmaking of our nation. And perhaps for all of civilization.
Are you on the side of human beings, or on the side of greedwhores and their monolithic conglomerations?
Possible Beginning #1
If you ever get to wondering about your place in the universe, consider that it has taken three million millennia to bring us to this point. And what a journey it has been:
Matter was formed from nothingness.
A lightning bolt, perhaps thrown from the outstretched fingers of god, streaked across space, transferring energy into the cosmic uncongealed stew of the universe.
Amino acids became protein, followed by charged molecules merging and mating.
Organisms sought more matter to help their own growth, followed by single-cell creatures becoming multi-celled and multi-dimensional.
Swimmers became crawlers and crawlers became walkers. And soon, after three or three-and-a-half billion years, we can stand up proudly and say with some certainty and not a little astonishment:
This is your place in the universe; hey, use it better.
… finis …
This part of the journey is over, but I invite you to join me and Lucifer in “Area Code 666” and the many superb bands of “Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka.” Both books may be found on a fine Neotrope online publication, all of which are as near as your computer or mobile device. Happy reading to you!
• This is the concluding chapter of “Secret Sex” by John Scott G. If you came in late and would like to start with the very first chapter, please join the other 2,000+ readers* (*as of Sept. 2012) of this serialized adventure, by starting here (click me).
To read additional articles and some bits of ephemera by John Scott G, visit his story index here: http://enewschannels.com/author/scott-g-the-g-man .
“Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G, is Copr. © 2011-2012 by JSG, all rights reserved under U.S. and international copyright conventions. Commercial use in any form is forbidden without express written permission of the author. Originally published on eNewsChannels.com with permission. Credits: Book cover design: Phil Hatten.