the funny thing is, you’ll look back on these days of your life, in some of the years to come, as having been a few of the better days. sure, you’re alone, without a compass or a rudder, adrift. yes, three of your immediate family members have gone on. yes, you’ve managed to kill a few great relationships from ever turning into something special to last a lifetime with laughing children. of course, it sucks when you see that girl at work you liked so much last december already yukking it up with the new guy, comfortable enough to go hang with him in his office and full of her special spirit when she sees him. of course, it sucks being alone all the time.
but, the thing is, you have clean air to breathe, access to an easy food supply that keeps you healthy, drinkable water on tap, lots of sunny days and a gorgeous natural area right down the street from you. you have a great dog, and your dad still lives. you have an older brother that lives far away who would be a friend to you if you ever bothered to pick up the phone and call him. you have lots of sunlight, little pain, and hardly any chaos anymore.
that will change, of course. these are not the dark days, if there ever were any. the dark days will see man-made viruses and genetically modified food escaping their creators’ control, making us all very sick, and leaving us all very hungry. you cry out now about $4 a gallon at the pump. just wait until you have a summer full of blackouts in your sweltering little abode. just wait until your car is parked for good, ticketed, impounded, and your bicycle and motorcycle are stolen and the buses stop running. just wait until you are standing in line to buy rice, and hiding to avoid the angry mobs that attack anything that moves.
you will be faced with a choice: become a healer or a killer. you can do one or the other, and you will do one or the other, but you can’t do both. most people will become killers, buying guns to defend jars of peanut butter and old schwinn tenspeeds.
ask yourself, how would i fare if i could no longer have access to a regular food source, regular drinking water, regularly prescribed pharmaceuticals, electricity, internet? i read an article about young gay men accepting that getting hiv was just part of life, readily allowing it to happen because they knew a cocktail of drugs would be available to them. imagine what would happen in any sort of economic crisis where that supply is no longer a given. within a month, full-blown aids, and then several months of the worst kind of dying. i talked to gwen lilly at work about lasik eye surgery, and she said that even after a year and a half since getting it, the nerves that were severed in her eyes have not repaired properly, and she has to wear some kind of plugs and take eyedrops three times a day to keep her eyes tearing properly. imagine what would happen in some type of natural or manmade disaster (or if she was traveling in an exotic location and her time away from civilization was prolonged) and she no longer had access to those rewetting drops. in her state of dry-eyed misery, as her eyes started gluing shut, she would begin spitting on her fingers and rubbing the saliva into her eyes.
but even someone like me who takes no drugs, can live away from a/c forever–i get sick easily if i don’t have access to a regular diet of healthy foods. my immune system turns to crap and i become easily susceptible to everyone’s colds and flus. i know this because i’ve had many periods in my life where i stopped eating anything but one trip a day to the gas station for crap like chips and a gas station sandwich. i get sick and puny so quickly it’s scary. i do wear contacts, and i’m on my last pair, and i would have to wear glasses, and if some bullly smashed them, i would be for all practical purposes blind. if i had successful lasik, then i wouldn’t have to worry about an economic crisis preventing me from having access to eyewear, but if i had a lasik experience like gwen lilly did i would be totally screwed.
of course, going to get lasik is a once-and-for-all statement about my opinion of God’s ability to heal me, and the amount of faith i really have. and, if i exhibit such a lack of faith in his healing powers, will that prevent me from being a healer, thereby causing me to inevitably fall onto the path of the killer? on one level, i realize it’s an absurd question, on another, it does beg consideration. i honestly will have to admit that when i go to the doctor in three weeks for the complimentary screening, if i’m told i’m a good candidate, i’m going to do it, unless they say that my chances of ending up like gwen lilly are frighteningly high. if i’m told i’m a bad candidate, i will buy another six months’ worth of contacts, buy some more time, and buy me a motorcycle.
if you want to prepare for the coming global crisis that will come bursting through your door, you should keep in mind that holing up in a bunker two miles in the ground with a bunch of superfood and a ham radio isn’t necessarily going to keep you safe. heat-seeking, bunkerbusting technologies will find you. your superfood might go bad. God might return and decide that you are like the servant in the parable of the talents who hid what little he was given, and not want a damn thing to do with you. you will, of course, avoid the pesky mark of the beast on your hand or forehead, and getting caught up in all of that.
the beast is, of course, not a man or an animal or a demon, but the global economic system, the modern lie of money and all of its appeal. a faction or factions will attempt to destroy it, and it will take a seemingly deadly hit, but it will recover, because most humans will agree that we cannot survive without it. that special leader who saves the beast from dying will be the anti-christ. most humans will love and worship him for saving us from a perceived extinction. the questions of whether this president or that president is the anti-christ are moot because the point is really how with each successive leader the desire of the people to be saved by such a personality grows stronger. the anti-nixon saved us from that mess, the anti-carter saved us from that mess, the anti-reagan/bush saved us from that mess, the anti-clinton saved us from that mess, the anti-bush will save us from this mess. and, with each successive president, a more silver and clever tongue is required to dodge and evade all of the little cuts and darts and blows cast upon the candidate by the media, by us.
what is important to consider is: who will you be when the shit hits the fan? will you be one of the billions groveling and begging some terrible leader to put a mark on your forehead or hand so you can continue to drink beer and look at porn and eat cheeseburgers? will you be one of the millions looting the streets right before that clever leader rises up and saves the dying economic system? will you be fear? will you be a killer? or, will you be willing to take the blows of many, and not hide in your bunker, walking the streets as a sparrow or lilly of the field, full of faith that the Lord will provide for you?
these are the questions i ask myself as i read another news story about some violence done to a grad student in new york that might once have been unimaginable to many of us. there were the days when the czars in russia were killed, and the peasants performed unspeakable horrors upon each other. there were the days in sierra leone, where little children had limbs hacked off for the sake of trading diamonds. there were days in this country where indians and blacks were treated worse than dogs by white mustachioed men on horses taking sport in their work of abusive killing. but, we had a window of a few generations where most of us couldn’t imagine stories like the ones we read on cnn.com or foxnews.com.
but, what is really important to consider is: how will you behave when the shit hits the fan? you are an empty sort, devoid of the lusting and cravings that many have. you won’t spend any time playing poker, going to strip clubs, sitting in sports bars, shouting and whistling through it all, because you simply do not have it in you. you can’t play video games, or sustain a relationship with a favorite television show, or follow some human idol you’ve propped up as your little god. you realize your emptiness so keenly now as you try so hard to participate in those easy and light conversations that bring that girl at work you liked so much last december out of her cube to yuk it up with the new guy, compel her to hang with him in his office, and fill her full of her special spirit when she sees him.
you are empty because you wish to identify with no man, no thing. people fill themselves up with pop culture trivia and relationship chatter because they so terribly need to build their identities in this fashion. your identity, minus your gender, body, race, age, location, memories, breath–that is the identity you are most familiar with, an empty sort of thing that craves to be filled with God’s love when it is not swayed terribly by some beautiful lady like gwen lilly. and, because you are empty, you are nobody, when the shit hits the fan, you will have the opportunity to see the evil game once and for all for what it is, in its entirety and complete ugliness.
for the first time in your entire life, being the nobody that you are is starting to feel really good.