Lame Apocalypse

This is not the apocalypse I’ve been hoping for.

In fact, this is no apocalypse at all. This is just people freaking out because this is a NEW way to die, one that nobody has previously experienced. There are still dozens of much more probable ways to die, but we don’t care about those, we know all about those.

It’s the devil we don’t know that instills panic.

Will this devil be worse than suicide? Drug overdoses? Septicemia? Influenza? What about diabetes or auto accidents? Where’s our perspective?

Vanished with the specter of this new addition to our panoply of mortality.

How many apocalyptic authors got that run-on-toilet-paper meme right? None that I’ve read. “Betty, that apocalisp thing they keep talkin’ ’bout on the news is gettin’ mean. Best you go down to the Wal-wart and buy as much damn shit-sheets you can get your hands on.” “Yeah, paper towels’ll do in a pinch.”

With work shut down, with schools closed, with all the banal, mindless pastimes cancelled, how many more of the lower 80% of wage-earners are going to stick a barrel in their mouth, or pop a dozen fentanyl? What will be the fallout from all this draconian “individual distancing” (social distancing — that’s a bloody oxymoron)? Twice as many deaths from the cure than from the cold?

This apocalypse sucks, but it’s all we got. So, I’m enjoying the work-from-home policy—passed down from on high, the extra lunch time, the peaceful time on the toilet (with my hoard of TP), and the new 4:00 PM happy-hour (who’s to know?). I’m no fool though, and so I’m boosting my vitamin-D intake, lots of fluids, and praying that someone will whizz by and breathe me a solid dose of coronavirus cuz’, let’s face it, gotta get busy dying fast or get bored dying slow.

Top 15 Major Causes of Death in the U.S. 2017

Rank Cause of death Number of deaths
1 Heart disease   647,457
2 Malignant neoplasms (tumors)   599,108
3 Accidents (unintentional injuries)   169,936
4 Chronic lower respiratory diseases   160,201
5 Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)   146,383
6 Alzheimer’s disease   121,404
7 Diabetes   83,564
8 Influenza and pneumonia   55,672
9 Kidney disease   50,633
10 Intentional self-harm (suicide)   47,173
11 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis   41,743
12 Septicemia   40,922
13 Hypertension (2)   35,316
14 Parkinson’s disease   31,963
15 Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids   20,108
All other causes   561,920
All deaths 2,813,503



28 thoughts on “Lame Apocalypse

  1. I remember thumbing through the chapter by Bill Bryson on end of the world scenarios looking for the virus, but not finding it. The virus part was stuck away in some other chapter for a couple of pages because the virus is a thing that can come along, fuck things up, kill some folks, and then go away to be a small chapter in a big book again someday.

    The apocalypse is much bigger. It’s a supervolcano. A meteor. A shifting of the planetary axes. It’s nuclear, baby.

    Viruses are mean. Really mean. They fuck up our order and our supply chains and knock off the mostly old, but they’re not the end of the world.

    Literally. They are not the end of the world.

    That’s being left to the robots.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whip smart post – crispy, clever, super writing

    I have two caveats to the picture being projected

    caveat 1

    heart disease and type 2 diabetes as well as many cancers are largely or solely due to diet and exercise. In essence we make a choice

    suicide is a also a choice

    death by auto is an accident when caused by the other driver and beyond our control. Just need to accept that and if we cause the accident by being a jerk than we also made a choice.

    this virus is not a choice but is thrust upon us

    caveat 2

    the virus is highly contagious and spreads exponentially which is different than all the other causes of death mentioned in the post.

    It is said that 1 person normally infect two people who then infect four who infect eight who infect sixteen. it doesn’t take long to get into the millions and by the 40th doubling the total number infected would be over 2.2 trillion if we had that many people which of course we do not.

    The point being that this bug is a different beast.

    Still your writing is as I said whip smart.


    On Sat, Mar 21, 2020 at 10:14 AM Anonymole – apocryphal agitators wrote:

    > Anonymole posted: “This is not the apocalypse I’ve been hoping for. In > fact, this is no apocalypse at all. This is just people freaking out > because this is a NEW way to die, one that nobody has previously > experienced. There are still dozens of much more probable ways to di” >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As macro analysis this isn’t bad – but then if you look specifically at outbreak zones the perspective changes. At the moment ICU’s in Madrid are at double their capacity. This has a knock on effect and means mortality rises across the board for other (often treatable) diseases.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, A. Mole, you are getting at one of my most irritating and heartfelt questions: how do we put death into intellectual or more importantly, emotional perspective? An African once told me that in the international press 10 white deaths at the same time in Africa were worth 100,000 black deaths, in terms of ink. I came to appreciate that tidbit. Western people tend to weep over their dogs and cats dying, but could care less about the death of thousands or even millions of humans in some foreign war or disaster, past or even present. The most recent and largest human die-off has been occurring in the eastern Congo for about 30 years and nobody knows or gives a shit—millions have died. If the foreigner dying is from an indecipherable culture, particularly the language, then the interest of the Westerner is even less. When white Bosnians were being slaughtered, there was some concern in Europe and America, but then when it became generally understood that most of them were Muslims, the old Catholic/Christian thing kicked in. Parenthetically, I was dealing with the survivors of Srebrenica and somebody from Skye news asked me if I thought this was a “massive humanitarian disaster”? More than 8,000 people were murdered by the Serbs in Srebrenica, and we all knew something was up, but I’d just spent six months in Rwanda for the genocide and cholera epidemic, so did I think that the killings in Srebrenica and the displacement of 9 or 10 thousand people ranked as a massive humanitarian disaster? Well, I was the wrong person to ask and I told the guy no comment.

    Anyway, my point is, one’s reaction to death, of any sort, is very much a deeply personal feeling. The more you know the person, probably the more you will be emotionally affected. Makes sense. If one of our kids dies from CoVid-19, we will, no doubt, be devastated. The hypothetical and the reality are always different.

    I recently left a comment on a woman’s blog who is living in Italy right now. She posted a bunch of beautiful photos taken in the midst of the lock down and I wrote to her about the collateral beauty of death. That is a line from a movie, but I do agree with the idea. People who have first-hand knowledge of death often create art that others cannot. Occasionally it is beautiful. There is a famous female photography named Reva Brooks who took photos of Mexican mothers with their dead babies. Mexicans celebrate death in many ways, but they will always tell you, no we are celebrating life. Ultimately the Mexican concept of death, directly relates to the Aztec culture and the Spanish conquest. Anyway, her black and white photos of dead babies are often termed as beautiful. Photos of dead babies are an old tradition down here.

    Can anything good come out of a Nazi concentration camp? Elie Wiesel thought not and wrote Night, which is considered by many to be a literary masterpiece. However, Viktor Frankel posited that the survivors of concentration camps found positive things all around them and they used them in order to survive. Well, Wiesel really disliked this idea, since he said nothing good came of a concentration camp. I had a long talk with him about this since I was a fan of Frankel. Wiesel was looking for genocide along the Nicaraguan border (never found it).

    The greatest war poets and writers were those who experienced death first hand. (SCrane is a notable exception.) NMailer, JJames, WOwen, ect. wrote beautiful lines about very terrible things.

    All of these ideas nag at me, all of these events in the world, and CoVid-19 is no different. Is it possible to be hysterical about death? I’d say, hysteria always accompanies death … eventually.

    And it is that last word that haunts me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m an amateur at death. A number of friends’ suicides, but nothing all that traumatic. I’ve managed to create a scientific Stoics wall between me and it. So, my bravado, such as it is, is utterly hollow. Until I have to hold the hand of a loved one dying, I’m just talking out my ass.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Does that 500k+ include of “all other” include the 335k+ down to automobiles alone? I suppose so, add in bikes and boats and other conveyances there’s the big number. All sorts of shit will kill us. Do we alter our behaviors for them? Your question about how many there goes my life small business owners will opt out was a good one, and has been widely discussed. And how many will catch the damn thing just to be done with it. All of it? “I croak, and I leave a big fucking mess,” he said. “Not your problem. You’re dead,” she said on her way out to buy toilet paper neither may ever need…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That altering our behavior thing — that’s the trick. And on a comment back to Bojana, I considered the concepts of control and choice.
      With many of those pre-senior-citizen mortality causes, their occurrence is some what a choice. Life style choices seem to give people the control they need to claim “damn right I’ll eat a steak and smoke a cigar! It’s my damn life.”
      Then, to take that control away… That’s what people fear. That, I think, is the source of this group anxiety and over-reaction. No one has immunity — therefore you can do nothing to protect yourself except hide (with your pills, whiskey and .45).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It is the control freak breaker. It limits the simple choices of “free” will, but will we look at what really matters, like “maybe make work is shit” instead of “they’ve closed my favorite cheeseburger shacks down”?

        Liked by 2 people

  6. The #1 threat to mankind has always been…mankind. Therefore, despite the relatively banal specifics of this particular viral pandemic, it’s been a surprisingly satisfying apocalypse for me so far. I enjoy watching people freak the fuck out and horde asswipe and such. This is better than a month long iCarly marathon!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A follow up to this post is the fact that, yes, watching the panic in people is great fun. Even more, getting to experience a bit of alien-nation as one walks down the street is finally getting a taste of “so this is what an apocalypse feels like.”
      “Are they contagious?” I thought.
      “Are you contagious?” every other person on the planet is thinking right now?
      “Stay away!”
      “No, YOU stay away!”
      It’s like the Andromeda Strain.
      I love it!

      Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s