Any Minute Now

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

A recent poll found 45% of Americans don’t believe in human inspired climate change. That’s the good news. The bad news is that human inspired climate will make believers of them all eventually. Like smoking, no one defends it much anymore. But before anyone gets all poochie lipped or squinty eyed, relax. You didn’t think you were going walk away from the accident unscathed, did you?

Something is going to get you eventually, a roving pack of wolves. A Roman Centurian or even Pontius Pilate himself. But even more than a fear of death is the fear polling Americans. It is literally dangerous to ask Americans their opinions. Endlessly entertaining, like picking at a scab, but dangerous. You know eventually something was going to get you. That’s why we have insurance companies. You just didn’t expect to die by a hurricane, forest fire or global heat inversion.

I was fortunate as a young child in school to learn of the frailty of life early, along with the rest of my generation. We were taught that nuclear incineration was just one smart-ass remark away. No one doubted that the Soviets had the bombs or the willingness to destroy Western Avenue School, just to make their point.

I remember sitting in the hallway with my class, during a “Duck and Cover” drill. Three hundred small children crouched in a hallway. In the event of an explosion, we would have been ejected down the hallway and through the double doors at light speed, like grapeshot fired out of a cannon.

But it was the thought that counted. If they’d done nothing and let us be incinerated to charcoal while sitting at our desks, they would have opened themselves up to all kinds of criticism. Had civilization as we had known it, not ended at that point. Their employment contracts would have been surely terminated. In summers, we would ride our bikes to the NIKE missile base because on Tuesdays, they washed down the missile.

We would sit on our bikes holding on to the chain link fence, watching attentively as our brave boy’s defended democracy, with a hose and a brush. Blissfully ignorant of mathematics or geometry, unaware that, that missile was designed to shoot down a Russian missile almost directly over my house. We were taught the lucky ones were at ground zero. The survivors, would end up in a hellish nightmare landscape of Charlton Heston, end of the world movies.

The ability to accept the possibility of nuclear annihilation and yet, still plan for the future was because it was a possibility, not a certainty. The missiles of October taught both sides a lesson.

Human inspired climate change on the other hand is a certainty. We need do nothing but count the days. As the umpteenth climate report comes out, saying the same thing that they all say. It’s worse than you know. It’s worse than you can imagine, and it’s later than you think!

We meet with the new skepticism, “Why, I have three studies here, all done by petroleum company engineers that say, there is no such a thing.” A recent study found that we are not only not meeting the Paris Climate Treaty targets, were going the wrong way. Not just the US, everyone.

But relax, the TV is still on, and we’ve still hot water for showers and the beer is still cold. Humankind has dealt with climate issues before. And once we realized that there is no other way, we change. Unto us is granted a great vision. To see the end of the coal fired industrial revolution. Of robber barons, strip mines and toxic waste dumps. We are clever little monkeys when pressed, but if we were as smart as we are greedy, we probably wouldn’t have the problem in the first place.

I can’t look at the Bezo’s Bozo Billionaire Bus, (the uncircumcised rocket) without doubling up in laughter. Flying a kite on the deck of the Titanic! “Look everyone! Look how high my kite will fly!” Well, at this rate of the research. A starship in development couldn’t be more than eight or nine thousand years away. They’ve got going straight up and down covered. Now let’s work on the going side to side somewhere.

Inspired by a desire to run away from the problem. Inspired by the belief, we can build again on Mars or on some other poor unfortunate, undefended piece of galactic Real Estate. Thinking that somehow, we will do it differently next time. But we all know better than that, don’t we class? If we can’t burn it, bury it, or dump it in the ocean. The only thing left to do is build a rocket and blast our ass out of here!

Life is, you get what you get. Pliny the elder climbed in a boat to see what was up with Mount Vesuvius. Curiosity killed the cat and Pliny. The Roman Senate had an idea once, to make all the slaves in Rome wear a badge. That way you could tell a noble Roman citizen from the riff raff. Until someone mentioned, that if the slaves ever saw how many slaves that there were in Rome. They would rise up and murder all the noble citizens. Even prosperity and decadence are not without their concerns.

Will humanity ever get it right? Probably not. We never have before, and I can’t imagine that we’ll change now. But we can’t escape who we are either. We’re funny creatures, smart enough to know better, but not smart enough to do better. The recalcitrant child who’s broken yet another window. A galactic band of gypsies moving through the universe from planet to planet, despoiling as we go. Trash falling out of our Gypsy wagons, leaving a trail behind us.

Maybe the Earth is four billion years old, and we just got here seven thousand years ago, from the last planet we ruined. I think it was probably called Eden. And somehow, it got lost in the translation. Maybe that’s the reason why the Aliens watch us so close, to make sure that we don’t move in next door to them!

A recent poll found 45% of Americans don’t believe in human inspired climate change. Five years ago, it was 85% Any minute now! Belief is just a super storm away, just a kiss away. Wait until they start fighting over the water!

“Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while”
― Groucho Marx

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