Dear Mole: Happy Endings?


So this is it. The end result of six decades of protest, activism and civic engagement:

White House Rose Garden statement President Trump

Was it worth it?

Ignore that last question. It was stupid. Whether or not something is worth the effort is entirely subjective, not to mention completely impertinent to the indisputable fact that what has happened is what has happened, so why debate it retrospectively?

I hated The Stand by Stephen King.  Mind you, I enjoyed the first 100 pages or so (for those whose only exposure to this post-apocalyptic tale was the Molly Ringwald-helmed miniseries, I enjoyed it right up to the point that the film’s unofficial theme song “Don’t Fear The Reaper” stopped playing.) That’s the precise point in the story when the mass death abates and the remnants of humanity begin to organize into groups and towns and cultures again. What a perfect way to ruin an otherwise beautiful bedtime story.

The reason I hate the turn Mr. King took in his novel, of course, is that it’s probably pretty close to what would really happen as opposed to my fantasy of total human annihilation.  For better accuracy, we need to relegate the phrase “end of the world” to far off events like the death of the sun – in other words, events that would literally result in the end of the planet and all life upon it.  Covid-19 isn’t such an event, obviously, nor is chaos on the streets of America…nor is the infuriating elevation to power of America’s most idiotic vulgarian. None of these things are as portentous as we like to think (especially not as portentous as I like to think). Sadly, we aren’t doomed. Quite the contrary: when an organism with as much power to manipulate the environment as ours grows to nearly 8 billion strong, it’s going to take a lot more than civil unrest and occasionally fatal viruses to wipe it out. It would take more than global thermonuclear warfare, in fact.

Mind you, it is within the realm of possibility that our species truly is on the downturn, so to speak. In its waning days. But when an organism with as much power to manipulate the environment as ours hangs around for over 100,000 years, its eventual demise will necessarily be very gradual. What that means is you won’t be around to see it, nor will I, nor will anyone that currently inhabits the planet. All such dramatic apocalyptic prophecies are the result of laughable self-importance, a feeling that it would represent the fulfillment of some destiny and end in divine or fateful judgment. They are also very popular fictional and/or religious tropes because all of us love the drama. But how many times can we watch the same movie and still pretend to be surprised by the ending? If any of this can be said to rise to the level of drama, it’s only dramatically repetitious.

So I have had to make peace with the fact that I will never get the “happy ending” to this human drama that I had fooled myself into anticipating. Nope. The planet will keep shitting out people long after it’s flushed me and you down the commode. That’s okay. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve always known this. Honestly, my former dalliances in apocalypse porn were just momentary escapes from the far more mundane truth. But now that I’ve admitted this, the jig is up, right? Today, I put down my metaphorical pen and leave it to those whose adorable optimism in the face of impossibility can still manage to make me feel nice for just a nanosecond. Not hopeful – that’s over with. Just nice.

I intend to spend the rest of my life, however long that may be, in the bleachers. I am a spectator, nothing more. Mild curiosity represents the pinnacle of emotional highs that I can experience. Since I don’t have the drive or the wherewithal to start any “new chapters” in life, I feel like someone who just sat through a 50 year long film only to find that the credits last just as long as the feature.

So here I sit, as the credits roll on and on and on.

Imagine if those astrophysicists that posit a never-ending multiverse process of creation and destruction are right?  If they are, then this isn’t even the last time this exact blog post will be written. In fact, its composition will be infinite.

Clockwork predictability underlying apparent entropy! What a colossal bore.

I’ve nothing more to say.



16 thoughts on “Dear Mole: Happy Endings?

  1. I hope to see the end of everything before I actually see the end of your musings, Paul. Your wordcraft, and patterns of thought, are – to this Tom – essential. As I read I am reminded, every time, how important (even through it’s relative unimportance) life truly is.

    Let me give you an example:

    It is time to go back to church. The bars are open, once again, and the 9 am brunch has returned to my favorite bar, Shameless O’Leary’s. There is no reason on Earth for me not to be in attendance, as Pastor Tom, with my many parishioners, who are pleading for the same. After all, even if the spread is coming – or is here – what’s the point in living in fear?

    Then Mrs C looked at me last night and said she was concerned. Concerned that her mother will want to go to the casino if I go to a bar. Concerned that we shouldn’t be going to places we don’t have to, just yet, and do I really need to go to a bar? No, honestly, I do not.

    Mrs C’s concerns, and safety, outweigh my own. Maybe there is no point in anything at all. But, for her, I’ll make it a point to make it a point worth making.

    I’m staying home. I told her mother she is, too. Church will resume, in time. In the meantime … life goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that, my friend, is how Mrs. C provides that all-elusive “meaning”. Objectively, of course, such “meaning” is always debatable, but as a force that motivates you to continue striving, giving and caring – those things that make you you – I can think of nothing more perfect and honest. Thank you once again for your incredibly kind words. But NFTA will have to suffice for my publicly available writing from here on out since its very point was to lay philosophy — and indeed, any and all unsolicited pontification — to rest. But I’m still available for parties and bar mitzvahs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now I remember The Stand. Gary Sinse and the 1994 TV miniseries. Everyone ended up in Vegas I think with the Devil lording over the masses?

    I just pulled it up on Amazon LookInside and don’t think that was the book I was trashing. I’ve never read it. But I think given the lame story on TV, I prolly didn’t read it as I already knew the story.

    I may still try to get beyond the the Blue Oyster Cult intro. We’ll see.

    And… they’re (supposedly) making a new version. Nothing new under the sun for Hollywood.


  3. Hi Crud Mud,

    This might make you feel better. I fell a few hours ago while walking Missa Him. She stayed with me as I crawled home. Two Mexicans stopped, but I told them I was okay. I am pretty sure I broke or cracked some ribs. I fell funny. So in this moment, there is that. Your post put a smile on my face. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The credits are about as long as the feature film.

    That about sums it up all right.

    On the even more negative side, it looks like the massage I’ve been looking forward to all week won’t come to pass either.

    Judging from your top photo.

    As my masseuse has just been arrested.


    Whatever wind in the willows is currently blowing will end up burying rat and mole and toad and badger alike.

    I guess only humanity and virus will remain.

    Serenaded by Stephen King dressed as Elton John singing, “I’m still standing.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. No bang for us then. Out with a sniveling whimper that lasts for millennia. Yeah, I too suspect that that is our fate. We’ll get punctuation marks dotted over the generations and centuries, an asteroid here, an earthquake there, and with any luck–more pandemics. But “wiped out”? Prolly not.

    You’d like On the Beach, a 1950’s novel that takes place in Australia. It takes a few months but in the end it is The End. There’s a movie too, but the book is better.

    Even from the bleachers, which provides a better view anyway, your reviews would be entertaining at least. “Oh look, the assassination of heads of state is now a meme! (Well, (pin)Head of State at least.)”

    I think I tried to read the Stand but at the time, the length just felt extravagant. And even the writing, I believe, felt hollow? Or shallow? I don’t remember but I recall dismissing it pretty quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Seriously? Mr. Man Against Nature/Himself/Destiny? I find that difficult to believe. I waded through the whole thing. Firestarter is one of my favorite multi-genre books. However, The Stand was where I dropped Mr. King. Enough already. You have all day to write and write you do. And seems like you throw nothing away. Talk about every step of the way with a character, The Stand takes the cake. But then that was when we were subjected to Puzo, Michener, early Clancy, the introduction of the Alphabet Soup spy/conspiracy/black ops franchises from Forsythe and LeCarre, etc.
      But you putting The Stand down when here comes a another dumptruck full of shit?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No. I just got to the point with King where it felt like self absorption, not storytelling. And you not enthralled by heaping piles of graphic troubles on a Hitchcockian any man shook my belief in dog sled 98% headtime adventures!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Holy death by Ennui virus!! I can only “hope” to read more of your musings…but perhaps you’re correct…in another Universe. Somewhere in this Universe, however, is a young person who has not seen the movie at all. Reminds me of the famous PT Barnum quote…”There’s a fool born…”

    Liked by 2 people

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