I was born fifty eight years ago, in a small village (near a large city), where people were “foreigners” until they’d lived there for generations.
I was born premature, in an unheated stone farmhouse, in the middle of a snow storm. I wasn’t expected to survive the night. 58 years ago.
Has it been easy? Well, no. But people like me — perhaps people like us, as a lot of the people here have the same characteristic — never seem to have the easy path. Instead, where other people go in straight lines, we go backwards, sideways and zigzag. But then again, we end up in interesting places, with interesting abilities.
Looking back, through all the near misses, all the almost victories, all the times of stress and loss…. it has been a pretty d*mn good life, particularly when you take in account that it was never meant to have happened.
When I was very little grandma told me I’d live to/through the end of the world. I wish I could ask her what she meant. I’m going to presume it was that I’d be expected to live to 2000, right? Or maybe not. She told me a legend that implied there was a lot of time after 2000. A whole hand full of grains of sand added to 2000, each one a year.
Until this year, I thought of her …. prediction and shrugged.
Today my dad told me not to get over excited about current events. Sure. I get that. He says in the long run, they don’t make much difference. But he said “but then, I’m 90.”
However, when you consider there’s massive fraud being committed before our eyes. Fraud the Soviet Union would be ashamed of putting out in public. Fraud of the kind of which means that we the people don’t really have any say anymore, whatever is pretended. And when the people committing it think they can — like Mao thought he could — legislate science by making our battery tech get way better, by fiat. Or not, since they keep saying we just don’t get energy, we just don’t get modern living. Because we’re killing the Earth, or something. (Though they don’t act like it.) When they’re talking about how we’ll have no possessions, but it will still be a very good life…. Well, I don’t want to go to the corn field.
Perhaps she meant the end of my world, of my nation. Of my home. Easier to believe, when I’ve seen my home town murdered before my eyes these last seven months.
How did our institutions get this corrupted? Is there a way out? I’m not the only one in this country who came very near this sort of thing before. Who lived through all sorts of power-hungry insane rulers. Then we came here. I’m not the only one asking “What comes after the end?”
So, what comes after the end? Books close, and we assume things go on, more or less as expected. But that’s never been the way with my life. Things never go on as expected.
When I was sixteen, I thought I’d come to the end, in another way. I thought I’d run out of pages. That there was no more. Yes, i did something stupid. And then a miracle occurred. No, seriously. I should never have woken up.
A year later, I was an exchange student, landing in NYC for my year in the US. And I thought “I’d never have experienced this if I’d not lived.”
So I never looked for an exit ramp again.
Not even this year.
But I can’t feel the way ahead. I haven’t been able to for seven months. We’ve entered a very odd leg of the pants of time.
Is it the end? Who knows? The end of the world has come for others, at many different times. The unthinkable happened. Everything they knew crumbled. Everything they were, in fact. Mao’s rule comes to mind, but also Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s USSR…. all the panoply of totalitarianism brought into the world by crazy people craving power above all, thinking others were widgets, and fronting themselves with a dream. (Though few dreams are as stupid as the current one, which amounts to that horror John Lennon wrote into “Imagine.” But with teeth.)
And yet, as in that miracle, 41 years ago, there are glimmers in the darkness.
Mostly, honestly, this lot, aiming for world domination, are the most incompetent of a long, long list of incompetent totalitarians. (You have to be incompetent and more than a little crazy to want to rule the world. It’s like wanting to make everyone’s beds for them, to make sure they’re made. And they’re always Procrustes’ bed.) In many ways they’re the gang that can’t shoot straight, else one of their blows would have landed before now. They had all the power, but they couldn’t bring it to a close. And the Republic has survived end gambits before. And the world is a lot more complex than these corruptocrats who mainline Imagine and swallow Marx can even imagine. Because humans aren’t widgets.
Am I looking for an exit ramp? No. That’s not it.
It’s more that dear Lord, I wanted to live through quiet times. I wanted the most exciting thing in my life to be the stories I wrote.
I’m starting to think the months ahead are going to be full of extreme interest.
I don’t see the interesting lasting much past next spring, because this group of would be corruptocrats are the most insanely provincial people to have lived. They don’t understand where food comes from. And people are going to get …. fed up. Long before they can implement their “wonderful” plans.
And me? Like the father, at the end of Puppet Masters, I intend to survive, getting crazier and more evil every year. (That’s probably not what he said, but that was the feel of it.) And live to teach grandkids, and if I’m lucky great grandkids to be crazy and evil as well. In a good way.
And if it’s the end of the world, the end of my beloved country under a wave of stupidity and fraud, I plan to set Procrustes’ bed on fire.
You can’t imprison a free man — or woman — you can only kill him. But honestly and seriously, these people are dumb. They always make the wrong move.
The idiots who think they can stop us have never been right about anything, ever. Why would they be now?
Make your plans to survive.
Stay in touch with your more vulnerable friends.
And keep on going.
What comes after the end?
It’s not the end till I say it is. Till you say it is. Till those of us who are sick and tired of having our lives pulled about by two bit tyrants consent to the end. And no one says that the path of highest probability is inevitable. If that were true, this would be written by a ghost hand.
I assure you it isn’t. Ghosts don’t get eczema on their palms.
Can I be sure?
No one can be sure. But it’s a bad idea to bet against me. It’s a bad idea to bet against Americans in general.
Even is worse comes to worst, I don’t think we stay down. Not for long.
And the only time I say “Uncle” is when I sing Yankee Doodle.
Be not afraid. Hold onto me if you have to. We’re all walking wounded at this point, but there are more than two good legs between us.
Sure. It’s dark and cold ahead. It’s a long way to fall, but our nation invented the airplane and landed on the moon. What makes you think we’ll just…. fall?
We don’t do easy.
We’ll be fine.
After the end we write the sequel.
It’s going to be amazing.