In which I eagerly await the apocalypse

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I was talking to a friend of a friend today, who is one of those people who is very fearful about the future.

She believes strongly that the world is going to hell in a handbasket — that corporations are out to get us, the water is poisoned, nothing good is ever going to happen again.

(In her defense, she’d just come back from western Pennsylvania, where the water is in fact being poisoned, and even if they wanted to, corporations can’t care about anything other than shareholder value. So it’s hard to say that she’s too far off.)

She is worried about the future. She feels like the end is near.

I was in her shop with my friend Ann. I said, “You know, it’s funny. We were just talking about this at lunch.”

Because we were, we’d been talking about this very thing.

I said, “In all of the post-apocalyptic movies and novels, some terrible thing happens and people turn on each other, everything completely falls apart, it’s dog-eat-dog, every man for himself.”

“But in the real world when crisis hits, people come together, they work together and help each other. World War II, the Great Depression, 9/11. All of those brought Americans together.”

Our friend looked at me skeptically. This was not what she wanted to talk about, people coming together to help each other.

But really, we’ve created this world where everything is so easy, we have so much more leisure time than we used to. But what do we do with it? We consume media — we watch tv and movies and play video games.

No one does anything anymore. They watch other people do things.

People are so addicted to passive entertainment that people actually WATCH OTHER PEOPLE PLAY VIDEO GAMES. (I am not making this up. This is a huge thing on YouTube. Ask your nearest 8-year-old about Minecraft and he’ll be happy to show you.)

This is what we’ve done with our abundant free time.

And people are bored and unhappy and dissatisfied. They feel unfulfilled because contemporary American life is inherently unfulfilling.

Geez louise people, if that’s not a dystopia, I don’t know what is.

I feel like if all of this went away — Instagram and iPhones and movies and television and Minecraft videos on YouTube — it would be really hard. Really really hard.

For like 3 weeks.

And then everyone would be like okay let’s go play frisbee.

(And yes, I know in an actual apocalypse, with dead bodies everywhere and no running water and such, things would be very chaotic. But people lived for many many many many years without electricity, and I have complete faith in man’s ingenuity, that in the event of true catastrophe, people would figure something out.)

So … bottom line. I am not worried about the apocalypse because I think it might well be an improvement over what we’ve got now.

6 Responses to “In which I eagerly await the apocalypse”

  1. Molly Says:

    Of course I am sitting right there with you in Luddite Land. (Reason #44,297 When I left my phone behind when we went out at the reunion last year, I came home to a husband, usually very calm, who was hysterical because his friends all convinced him that someone who doesn’t have their phone is inevitably up to no good. ). I like the idea of everyone coming together, but nobody would know how to actually get to the places they wanted to go without google maps. It’s also no fun to have arguments about recalled details because the whole thing gets resolved with an “it’s in Wikipedia so it’s true” in about ten seconds. (You know exactly what I’m talking about.). We don’t know how to reach for information in our heads anymore.

  2. You didn’t have a phone at the reunion? I didn’t even know! I’m sure it was because you were up to no good!

  3. lessisenough Says:

    It is true that googling something that someone states with the utmost confidence that you known to be false can be quite satisfying. I am however willing to give up that satisfaction for the greater good.

    If you are with a group of people, only one person in the group actually needs a phone. This is why at one of the the earlier reunions, 2004 or 2009, when Jill asked for my phone number, I gave her Zoe’s number. I said I’ll either be with Zoe or she will know where I am. And Jill was like okay but what is *your* phone number. I’m not sure if I was ever able to convince her that my phone number would not be a useful piece of information, because even if I remembered to bring my phone, it would probably not be turned on. Just call Zoe.

    I hate the new google maps so much that I want to buy an atlas for every place in the world I ever might go to so I never have to look at google maps again.

    In the case of actual apocalypse, you’d just have to find the nearest 70+ year-old man, they have boxes of every map they ever got from AAA in the basement and would be happy to explain in detail how to use one. Society would be saved by grumpy old men.

    I think I need to write a post-apocalyptic novel.

  4. Molly Says:

    I look forward to this movie script, Becks. I can’t remember the last grumpy old guy film I saw, and it definitely wasn’t post-apocalyptic.

  5. lessisenough Says:

    I think A Walk in the Woods might be a grumpy old men flick. Also I believe there was a movie actually called Grumpy Old Men. With Walter Matthau, I think.

    I’ll research the post-apocalyptic grumpy old men genre thoroughly before I start writing.

  6. Ok, I was thinking of the Minecraft videos my 8 year boy watches and thought, well, to be fair, some of them are actually instructional videos. But then I found him watching “Minecraft mobs in real life.” Huh, I thought, what on earth could this be? It was so bad I can hardly write about it…. a picture of a Minecraft pig, followed by ….. a picture of an actual pig. And so and so forth, with chickens, cows, horses, bats. I was so upset I thought my head was going to explode. It did progress to interpretations of what the more out there mobs would like like but STILL!!! Please, let the internet break down for the rest of time. Please. In the meantime, the kid has to actually play Minecraft and not watch videos.

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