My Day in Tinsel Town

I spent the day doing something I really hate. I went shopping.

I studiously avoid this as much as possible, particularly when I force myself to visit one of those mega-superstores, like Wal-Mart. Somebody tell me why, exactly, we have 75 different variety of jelly available from 15 different mega-corporations? This isn’t “choice”, it’s gluttony. Overkill. Death by Jam. The somnolent shoppers were moving slowly along, oblivious to their impending doom. Their zombie like movements were really getting on my nerves. Barely able to move, many were grossly overweight and so crippled up from some unknown conditions that I wondered how many of them would have survived if we lived in a natural world? Probably none of them, so instead we overproduce and excessively pollute our planet… for what? So Wal-mart shoppers can select from 13 varieties of boysenberry?

This cornicopia of plenty was making me dizzy. I picked up what I needed and left, but the rest of the trip didn’t go any better. Standing in line at Arby’s was a “lady” that really took the biscuit. She ordered ten Arby’s melts. That’s 10. With fries. And four drinks. I was embarrassed.

I sat down nearby to eat my meager lunch of a single sandwich, no fries, no drink while she plowed into this mountain of carbohydrates and fat. Why didn’t the manager refuse her service? It simply doesn’t occur to anyone in America that gluttony and waste should be punished. Why shoud they? There’s no punishment for the government or the corporations. It all turns to excrement and fat anyway. I couldn’t wait for her to finish and left.

At the mega-mega superstore for outdoor equipment, I was amazed at the unbelievable selection for anything you could possibly want to go forth and conquer the farthest reaches of the earth. You could outfit 20 expeditions to the Amazon, or cross the North Pole with your entire football team and booster club, backpack barbeques and all. Guys with glazed eyes stumbled about, ensnared in the nets of corporate marketing, gazing longingly at the mounted trophies and gleaming guns. On the way out, I passed the “slaughter board”, where “sportsmen” boasted of their (usually puny) kills or catch in bloody glory, plastered on a Polaroid.

What exactly are we supposed to be proud of? Our continued subjugation and destruction of all life forms on earth, including us? Is this all that’s left? To kill and be killed while we fatten the pockets of the corporate masters?

They’re making it so damned easy to be a slave and to pretend that we’re not. Give us toys and we will do your bidding for you. The facade is so pervasive, we actually are thanking them for the privilege as we help them destroy this place. And we call this fun. What makes us think this grotesque cornucopia of plenty and destruction is a good thing – for anyone? Capitalism, with its defining principle of unlimited growth? Is anybody giving any thought to the disaster looming ahead?

The guys working over the stainless steel ovens in the pizza joint looked frazzled. And tired. And for what? $6, $7 bucks an hour? They were only galley slaves after all, looking forward to getting off work, knocking back a few cold ones and forgetting about it for just a few more hours, and then back at it again. The kid at Best Buy laughed when I asked him if he was bored. Of course he was, he was doing a mindless job not fit for a rhesus monkey, surrounding by the most expensive (and useless) toys you could throw money at. Next week or next month, they’ll be required to sell something else. It’s always the same though. More of the same old shit from the same old corporations from the same lying masters, all wrapped up in new tinsel and new packaging, pretending to be the latest and greatest whizzbang whatchamacallit doodad gadget that you just can’t live without. Only 21.99% interest. This will make you happy. We’re supposed to be happy with this stuff, right? And not ask too many questions, certainly not to think.

I feel ill. I really do. It is staggeringly unbelievable that we are so uncaring, indifferent and willfully blind to the fate the awaits us. We deserve to die. We deserve to be wiped out like a bloated virus that has plagued the earth. We deserve to suffer and wither and starve, because we don’t care. We don’t care and we show it in everything we do. We don’t care because of the way in which we live. We don’t care because we continue to foul up our nest with utter abandon, never giving a moments thought to what it might mean tomorrow. We don’t care because we are rapidly destroying and plundering every possible resource we can get our fat little hands on, wringing it dry for a bloody profit. We don’t care because while we watch our profit pile grow, our eyes remain blind to the increasing mountain of misery and slavery and idiots we are generating. We don’t care because all we are interested is “getting some” for ourselves and damn everyone else and damn the friggin planet. We don’t care because of how we even treat each other. We believe like everyone else believes, people are economic slave units, to be straddled, saddled and ridden until they lather like a whipped horse unto death.

I haven’t mentioned to you the other things I saw on my trip today. The stupid, maniacal drivers, the new strip malls, the new meat (apartment) boxes in various stages of construction, desperate cars lots begging buyers, homeless people holding signs, hired in a desperate attempt to get somebody to stop inside.

It’s breaking down folks. You can see it everywhere. And perhaps it should. Perhaps it should come tumbling all the way down with a resounding, thundering crash. Why not? What have we done that makes us more deserving? What makes us special? What makes us exempt from the law of entropy and nature? And what gave us the goddamned gall to believe that we were in charge and in control in the first place? We had our chance and look how we blew it.

Perhaps we deserve everything that has and will befall us, because we let this happen. In a small way, each and everyone one of us is a part of the destruction on this earth and we know it. WE have blithely or gleefully participated in its destruction, almost always not giving it a single thought. Multiplied by billions, that vast collection of empty thoughts congealed and coalesced over decades into a horrifying return of negative-feedback.

Not one of us asked to be here, but now that we’re here, we could have done something about how we lived, but most of us didn’t and wouldn’t let ourselves be persuaded by those who would.

Many years ago, I made a number of small but important changes in my life, but I can see now that I didn’t go far enough, soon enough. Neither did anybody else as far as I can tell. And now it’s too late to make much of a difference anyway. But I’ll still keep trying, because if I don’t try, I might as well roll over and die.


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