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Moment of Truth: Existential Fret

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

I was born into a bright, cold room. The color scheme was unappealing. I was anxious about the motives of the people there. Were they hostile to me? I felt they were. Though inscrutable behind their institutional green cloth masks, covering their mouths and noses, I was almost certain they didn't like me. Also, the floor looked slippery. Why the masks, gloves, and aprons? Did they think they were going to catch something from me? Why didn't someone put some nice mood music on? What's that screaming? Oh, it's me.

That pretty much set the tone for the rest of my life. I enter any room, and it's like someone clicked on the YouTube video of my birth, from my POV. Complete with worryingly possibly hostile hospital staff.

It's the same when I go outdoors. The long and the short of it is, I expect the worst. Pollution. Rude farmers. Volcanoes. Wilted spinach. And those are exactly the things that come my way. I look in the mirror and have body dysmorphia. It's worked so well, my body now actually does look like a pile of crap. And it works on the world, too. I have environmental dysmorphia. And I've been at it so long, the world is turning to crap. I have atmospheric dysmorphia as well as gestalt dysmorphia. And it's effective. I can turn anything into its worst possible self.

So y'all can blame me for the dying bees. When I was four years old, I remember, I was standing on the step to the side door of our little orange and black house in Oak Park, Michigan. I felt something buzzing around my head. I asked my father, who was probably, unbeknownst to me, slightly too far away to hear me, what was buzzing around my hair, a fly or a bee? He smiled at me. I said, "I guess it's a fly." Guess what I did? I bothered the bee, and paid the price. I screamed in agony for a good half hour while my father took me around to different neighbors to ask what to do about the pain of a bee sting. He even asked the workmen putting down concrete in front of our house. Everyone said the same thing: baking soda. We didn't have any. Anyway, what if we had? What then? Were we supposed to sprinkle it on the place where the bee had stung me? Make a poultice? Was I supposed to snort it?

When my dad asked the workmen, I noticed a thick aura of masculinity around them, in contrast to the emasculation of a young father dragging his shrieking little boy around helplessly. That was the end of my idealization of my father. He became a real person to me then, which was both a beautiful and terrifying event. The mystic awe in which I'd held him was replaced by all the emotions one directs at an individual with hopes and fears, struggles and joys. At the age of four I saw him both as a source of strength, but also as a person vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life. In short, the Earth trembled beneath me, shaken by both celebration and terror as, right before my eyes, my father transubstantiated into a complete human being.

That is why the bees are dying. And you thought it was neonicotinoids or something. It's my psychic anxiety killing the bees.

And poisoning the air and water, and warming the oceans and the Earth. Dead zones in the ocean? Ever since I learned about dissolved oxygen in the oceans I've thought, "Now, isn't that an impractical way to supply oxygen to fish? What if there were a large area of water that lacked dissolved oxygen? It's bound to happen. Life has such a tenuous grip compared to the harsh, jagged machinations of humans." And guess what? All my fears are coming to pass.

You think I haven't laid awake at night dwelling on my terror that fascism would rise to ascendancy here in the USA? Ever since I knew what fascism was, which for a culturally-indoctrinated Jew is pretty damn young, I've been worried about it. And look around you. I've worried about the rich getting too rich, capitalism pricing the people out of their homes, men terrorizing women, cops killing black men, schoolchildren going hungry, schools going under-funded. Name the social or environmental problem, my bleak outlook as a child brought it forth.

Loneliness in this atomized society? A determined undermining of any remotely democratic institution? The loss of humanity's spiritual essence due to technocracy, technology and capitalist orthodoxy? What curse has my fretful brow not wrought upon our species, upon our planet?

I've worried about me and my friends getting old, and look. Look at us! It's happening. Just as I feared!

I'm sorry everyone. But you can do your part. Just start focusing your attention on putting me at ease. I enjoy cocktails. And hammocks. There's a dreadful shortage of hammocks in my life, I fear this bodes ill for the 2018 elections. A tall, cool drink and a good book in a hammock might do the trick. Just until next November. If all goes well, we can make arrangements for the future at that time.

And tell me everything's going to be okay! I know you've been telling yourselves and your children that, but I'm the one you need to reassure. It's my fears that are wreaking havoc with the future, not your stupid kids'.

Do you want to end up old in a society that doesn't take care of its elderly, doesn't respect them, doesn't value their experiences? Well, I worry about that. If I had a nice cushion of cash in my bank account, I wouldn't worry so much. A freezer full of various fish, poultry, and cuts of meat in case of an extended famine or apocalypse would be a balm for my spirit. You want to be safe, don't you?

You want to end up dead in a hole in the ground? Or burned to ashes and thereafter imprisoned in a decorative urn? Then what are you waiting for? Buy me a house and set me up with an endowment to pay all expenses and taxes. For god's sake, why are you gambling with your future like this? Can it be you have an unconscious death wish?

Why behave irrationally? Why get overwhelmed, fretting about what charity to give to? There's only one you really need to donate to, only one your donations to which will prevent existential, cosmic disaster. Keep me content! Keep me occupied with pleasant activities. You don't want me idle, my imagination free to weave some grand catastrophe. Your life is easy: all you have to do is keep me on an even keel, tell me jokes, and for the sake of all that you cherish, don't let me get constipated! You don't want me sitting alone in the bathroom, dreading the emergence of heaven knows what monstrosity.

And while you're at it, can someone please design a ballpoint pen that doesn't collect microscopic lint at the point? It's hard to write a continuously even line when a lump of lint collects, absorbs ink, and leaves the ungainly fat impression of its detritus along the strokes of my signature. I need a pretty signature to endorse all your generous checks. I would like to do your generosity justice, and I worry that won't be possible under the current circumstances.

I know you know how to keep me from becoming unsettled. The question is, are you willing to get off your lazy behinds and make a commitment to a less horrible future? Nothing personal, it's just that I've noticed a lack of commitment from humanity toward my peace of mind. You're the normal people, you have the resources. I'm the basket case, and my worries come to pass. We've established that. Don't leave your future up to a worried me. Look at the damage you've already done, allowing me to worry so.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth


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