I suffer monumental road rage. My daily commute is a hell of shrieking expletives and obscene finger gestures. Living in Houston, TX means that one day I might catch a bullet for my troubles.
For what it’s worth I recognize my problem and have taken steps to lessen this aggression. I get up at an uncivilized hour, 3AM, to beat the traffic on my commute to/from work each day. I meditate and practice deep breathing. And, most recently I discovered the nonfiction of Terry Pratchett—I listen to audiobooks during my commute. Pratchett’s A Slip of the Keyboard is every bit as brilliant and hilarious as Mark Twain, which is the highest praise I can give.
I recently listened to chapter 43, “2001: The Vision and The Reality.” I am still picking pieces of brain matter out of the upholstery of my car. My scribblings today are an attempt to process the wild associations that it’s caused, but no promises. My smart making are messy at the moment.
In the essay Pratchett talks about how we are basically like the cavemen in 2001. They were scratching their heads looking at the monolith, we’re scratching our ass, and sniffing our fingers, in the face of technology (computers, internet, etc.). Namely, we don’t know what to do with this magic-in-a-box any more than the neanderthals did with the monolith. The best the vast majority of us can hope for is the understanding that digital watches are pretty neat.
But is this something unique to us? That is, I wonder if we haven’t always been cavemen. It would seem to me that technology, understood and created by a few truly intelligent people, has dragged us drooling and picking our noses into the future despite our shortcomings.
That’s all fine and good but a question arises: what about luddites? Yeah, we idiots are bad enough with our wasting potential, but what about those who actively work against progress. Could . . . perhaps . . . just maybe . . . the dark ages have served a good purpose? Maybe, since I’m daring to voice such heresy, I can take it further and suggest that they were necessary. That is, without the pause in advancing knowledge and technology, a time in which us mongoloids could explore our orifices of choice in relative freedom, there’s a good chance we would have wiped ourselves. How many times have the idiots overstepped the good sense boundaries in the past 100 years? What damnable horrors are threatening to boil over right now? I’m not saying that advancement is necessarily bad, but I am saying in the hands of idiots technology is scary. So, there is a small chance that those who fought to hold things back did us a slight favor. Technology might have otherwise advanced so quickly it would have completely out paced even the “smart” ones abilities to save us from ourselves.
I mean, as crazy as that idea is, I think we can agree that there are a shit ton of idiots out there. We just tend to disagree on whom, exactly, the idiots are. I don’t know if I’m being cynical, or realistic, or just a jerk when I write this, but it is likely that we’re all correct (about whom the idiots are, i.e. damn near everyone). Which means that there are a hand full amongst the billions who aren’t window lickers. The rest of us are. Or to put it more scatologically, we’re the turds in the punch bowl.
There’s a sobering thought: I’m a pimple on the sultry butt cheek of humanity. A butt cheek that has a thong photoshoot today. Furthermore, so are my family, friends, and likely everyone I know.
(there may be a couple who aren’t. . . )
No. Sorry. Everybody.
(but isn’t that what Pratchett was saying too? it’s just that he leaves it a bit more vague. that way we can all excuse ourselves. we know we don’t deserve the pass but we give it to ourselves anyway. it’s the same logic that tells us we’d survive the zombie apocalypse or that the diet coke with the mcsupersized fillet o’ fish meal is good for us. admitting this is likely going to offend our readers.)
If it does, dear reader, look at it this way, I admit I’m nose probing idiot. There is every chance I’m totally wrong about all this. Chuck this up to my simplicity, shake your head in disgust, and forget all about it. But know this, I’m not hating on us “uncomplicated” ones. I’m hating on the finger pointing, “it’s them, the hoi polloi, not me and mine” thinking. There’s a certain amount of elitist snobbery in us all, and that’s perfectly acceptable, so long as we’re on the list. I’m suggesting that we might need to check our entitlement ‘cos we might not be on that list.
(wow. what a downer. so much for Pratchett’s jocularity.)
Yeah, well, a lot of the best humor comes from very dark places. Or, at least the humor I find entertaining. I guess that’s why I like Pratchett so much. He only appears amiable. Underneath burns a rage hot as the fires that stoke the proverbial “woman scorned.”
(or our road rage.)