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Moment of Truth - September 3 2017

The Drowned World

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink. Are you ready to live under the sea or die trying?

Did you see any of those pictures of the Interstate 10 Ocean in Texas? Pardon me, the sea. Did you see the sea? There didn't used to be a sea there. I drove that highway all the way from Baton Rouge through Houston and Austin, back in aught 1, arrived in Los Angeles the night before 9-11, and didn't see a single fish. Not even a grouper. I saw a plane fly into a building, through a nightmarishly clear sky, the next morning on TV. But no grouper.

So now the ocean's here. I think it's here to stay. I think the whole southern USA is going back underwater, like nature intended, before the Freeze Miser locked up all the water at the poles. Days were wetter then.

We can do this, America. We can get used to anything. You'll get used to the water. It's cold when you first get in, but then you get used to it. We got used to distrusting the Spectacle, after Nixon had to resign when it came out that he'd ordered Halderman and Erlichman to hypnotize Oswald to kill JFK. We got used to having a regulatory system run by the industries they're supposed to regulate. We got used to not having enough money for food, shelter, medical care, and education. We got used to the owners of massive, mind-blowing, stratospheric wealth telling us there just wasn't enough to pay us a decent wage or support the common weal. We got used to cops gunning down black people or murdering them in jail for any reason or no reason.

We did these things, we made these changes within our very selves, because it was our patriotic duty. We may not have a communal sense of distributing resources, but we do have a collective love of our country. And I don't think learning to breathe underwater is too much for America's Jesus to ask of us. On Venus, they're so patriotic they breathe ammonia, and on Mars they breathe almost nothing at all. We're lucky to be getting oxygen. Is it really too much trouble to extract dissolved oxygen from seawater? Come on, grow some gills, binch. If a goddam fish can do it, so can you.

We've gone soft, having all this readily available oxygen floating in the air, a veritable luxury dessert cart of oxygen, wheeled right to our table. We've become like delicate woodland sprites, prancing and sparkling and tinkling about the forest floor, sipping nectar from daffodils. We've become lazy lotus-eaters, lounging about on dandelion puffs, small delectable roasted birds flying willingly into our mouths. No wonder the God of Kapital is enraged with us. We're the mythical welfairy queen.

Don't cry your salty tears for this briny future. Time to buckle down and nut up. And it's not going to be one-hundred percent onerous, not that we don't deserve that. So much will change, but not necessarily for the worse. A Grand Canyon under the sea will be just as Grand, and much easier to hike with the decreased gravity. And that's nothing, have you seen the Marianas Trench? That's a destination. Anything we can do to take James Cameron down a peg is worth it. We'll be down there, "Oh, James, this is so easy, we didn't need your candy-ass submarine. We're down here for free, yeah, we're backpacking. Ya bourgeois submariner."

Yes, it will be unfamiliar terrain. But that's nothing new for us. All terrain you're not familiar with is unfamiliar. Remember, we're descendants of explorers, pioneers, and a few cartographers. And the whales have the seabed all mapped out. Once Zuckerberg and Musk team up to get our two genuses linked telepathically, we'll be part of the natural world again, just like Lewis and Clark and Princess Mononoke, navigating with echolocation and Earth's magnetism and the stars.

Yes, your clothes will be ruined. Yes, your baby and dog will be dead. Yes, your dreams will be buried, buried under tons and tons, millions upon millions of swimming pools' worth of the Earth's blood, in the black depths, where sea banshees howl and many a perished sailor's skull houses a hermit crab. Perhaps you'll come upon your drowned house one day, your erstwhile home, from when the world was dry and had taco trucks, and you'll set up there again, among the seaweed and seahorses and little neon tetras, sucking milk from the ample bosom of a manatee. I don't know. I don't know how you're going to live your lives, I can't see the future. The future is an opaque window, which, aside from maybe a broken one, is the worst kind of window.

The past, too, will be gone. Life was once a path or passage. We'll soon be in a kind of booth, on one side the future an opaque window, on the other the past an opaque window. All our written history will be washed away like a car key down the toilet. All the monuments we wrangled over will be forgotten, all our lore and data. All our pizza. All those sports games. All that music. All those warnings from the past we never heeded. Gone, carried by currents off into oblivion, worthless jetsam. This paltry satirical Jeremiad will be gone, at first soggy, then dissolved or nibbled by herring.

And my swollen, waterlogged corpse will be floating on the ocean's surface, buoyed by the toxic gases of organ decay. For I cannot enter the Promised Water with you, my brethren and cistern. No. I'm not gonna do that. I hear drowning is very peaceful. I'm not made of the right stuff. I'm a wussy. I don't have enough focus to grow gills. I'm a glacially slow learner.

But when you crest that mid-Atlantic ridge – mind the gap! – and bathe your eyes in the sight of the glorious coral city of Prince Namor, Atlantis, and you enter its literally pearly gates, like, gates with pearls all over them, I assume – and you breathe in that salt sea water, it'll be normal. It'll all be normal again.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!


Moment of Truth


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