the first thing that pops into your head in the morning is never a concern for the well being of the planet. you don’t say under your breath, oh God, thank you for keeping mankind safe on this planet for another day, thank you for preventing all the crazies in the world with nukes and plagues from doing us in.
you probably don’t think much about expressing gratitude that your so-called close friends and family are still alive, and what’s more, you likely don’t even give thanks for being alive another day yourself.
the first thing that pops into your head most days is an aching, furtive attempt to reinsert yourself into that beautiful dream you were having that is now less-remembered than half of your childhood. then, you express anger at being awake with a full bladder, dry mouth, and head full of worries about what you need to do for the rest of the work week–or stress over all the obligations you will have to fulfill on your days off.
you don’t find yourself in the bathroom taking care of the call of nature with thankfulness that all of your plumbing works. you don’t thank anyone for the fact that the power still works, the place isn’t robbed, the economy hasn’t gotten so bad that you can’t fix coffee and have a breakfast bar. you don’t help the dog to her call of nature with gratefulness for her health, for her companionship.
you don’t thank any driver who lets you in when you need to merge, and you certainly don’t look out for other drivers who need you to let them in. you don’t say any sort of prayer for your fellow motorists to have a great day, and accomplish whatever it is that they are setting out to accomplish.
you aren’t ecstatic to arrive at work without having gotten in an accident. you don’t seem happy to know your coworkers are healthy and alive.
what you do do, is get this far thinking only about what you can steal from the universe today. you are a tried and true thief. when you converse with the people you work with, you hold up the veneer of the smile and ask them how their mornings are going, but inside, you are calculating impatiently for moments where you can put forth little flatteries that will enable you to use them later, and little boasts that those above you will hear to know how great you are. your contempt for everyone around you is barely manageable some days, as you see each person you encounter as being nothing more than a fool with either something you need to steal or a fool standing in your way of more to steal from this universe.
you might be stealing power and dignity, patronizing other people deftly enough just to put them off kilter and make them feel at unease and touch upon old wounds where self esteem was sorely lacking. you might be eyeing members of the opposite sex to use them for money, power and…sex. you might be trying to angle for a promotion, or angle for a new connection to make a deal. you might just like the feeling of using another human being, of having another person doing something for you, that you are simply stealing humanity from humanity because it feels good…because you are evil.
when you are awake, whether you realize it or not, you preface each glance your eyes take, each step your feet make, each decision, each thought, with a basic question: “how will this serve ME?”
then, you turn forty or fifty, and you begin to seek a spirituality of sorts, looking for some type of guru who will make you feel good about all of your thievery, and never make you have to think long and hard about changing anything about yourself, and never make you uncomfortable.
you might start a charitable foundation, and give to it, and take tax breaks, and steal from it. it just feels so good to steal, but now you are seeing your mortality, seeing the world as it will be without you in it, and you are stealing from the future–taking from yet unborn members of humanity, and their days in the sun, with dull memoirs that they will be forced to read because you have left your stamp of alleged importance upon everything you touched. every single time a member of a future generation says your name, you will be stealing posthumously just a little more, as if all you had while alive was not enough.
then, five or six generations later, your name will be forgotten, all organizations named after you now defunct or merged with others that bear the names of different men and women. the same with all of the landmarks and buildings you donated money to so they would carry your name. people have decided to rename them all with newer dead rich people. and everything you owned will have long ago been redistributed or sent off to the dump. your tombstone will be in disrepair as nobody else is allowed to be buried in your part of the cemetary, so nobody visits it, so nobody maintains it.
on this day, your wealth is staggering, your name is inside the brain of over half the planet’s population. only twelve people will ever really know you, though, and only three of them will have ever actually liked you–one of them will say she loved you, but this is arguable. on the day you die, only one person who came and went through your life truly loved you, truly knew you–and it wasn’t you.