revelations, and other children's stories

I for one have not yet met a person who was not deeply, profoundly overwhelmed with a sense of relief that 2001 is finally over. Not one person I spoke with had any love for 2001; 365 days having not one happy thought or memory that wasn't somehow raped, pillaged and burned into non-existence.

Ironically, the obvious events weren't the cause. This year not only felt like a war, it was one. Innumerable casualties, with barely remembered names like trust, safety and peace of mind were laid to rest in a few violent moments on our east coast, and yet all of that horror isn't what people are begging for relief from.

It's as if September's madness-inspired holocaust was a symptom of a greater disease, a general malcontent that finally overtook mankind as an organism and got outside its subconcious. The actions of a lunatic somehow, in the minds of so many who survived it, became the incarnation of a societal nervous breakdown that everyone said would never, could never happen, and yet under the skin we all felt it coming.

Is it post-millenial shock? Do we, as a people, not know what to do with ourselves now that the world did not come to a close at the end of the two thousand year beta period Ol' Jehovah swore would be all we got to feature test the universe? Are we just self destructive children? Somehow, the answer is on everyone's lips, and just beneath everyone's epidermal armor, but no one can seem to bring themselves to utter the truth.

No one likes to admit that their worldview needs to die.
No one likes to face the fact that the world we knew did end.
And sadly, at least for now, we're all afraid of the brave new world.

So, instead, we're overjoyed in a quiet sort of way that the immediate madness is over. We got through our personal and global crises, and tried hard to put into some sort of perspective that doesn't make us cry out in madness.

We choose to become thankful that the airways are secured, and never bitch about the fact that we'll never feel fully safe to use them again. Our trust got fucked with, and our best hope for now is that we can pull a Jonas Nightingale, slinking off into the distance before anyone knows the difference between our miracle of survival and the real thing.

Don't get me wrong though, I place high marks on survival. After all, I'm a child of the Eighties. I was raised on a steady diet of doom and post-holocaust nightmares. Before I knew what it meant to get past third base with another person, I could get my own head between my knees because the schools wanted to insure that I was fully able to kiss my own ass goodbye in the event that the countries of this global circus blew us all to kingdom come before we got home to mama.

The few remaining memories of this existence that a long line of decent scotch hasn't managed to block out are unfortunately crystal clear: hiding terrified under my cartoon-printed covers, waiting for it all to be over.

It's at this point most people usually point out the obvious; I'm a dark, gothy ogre of a human being, and therefore I was probably a dark, gloomy little kid. The kind of brat who delighted in torturing small animals with power tools and probably thought that the apocalypse meant cool things like mutants would be ruling whatever was left of the Earth.

All of that is indisputably true, minus the PETA-inciting bit with the power tools, but I was still scared out of my burgeoning wits. I may have been the anti-christ in underoos, but I possessed less interest in finding out what lies beyond an embodied soul's last gasping breath than the grand wizard of the KKK had about the great works of Louis Jordan.

So I, like an untold army of youngsters, was fully clear in all of my letters to Santa that what I wanted was a White Xmas, and not a nuclear winter. Coca Cola's holiday spokesman must have heard the pleas of tomorrow's disgruntled, angsty twenty-somethings, because at the nick of time the whole world just kind of chilled out and gave us a shot at being alive.

Now as an adult I'm fully aware that there was more to the end of all the things that had the younger me convinced it was all going to hades in a haversack than the actions of a jovial fat man in an unflattering red suit, but by the time it happened I had a more vested interest in untangling the mysteries of Heather Palmer's training bra than I did in understanding why I was being blessed with an opportunity to fail at the task.

While that may sound like I had my head in the sand (instead of perhaps where I wanted it), I think instead it says something very important about the human race. I may not have, at the time, known the difference between being in love and being in heat, but I was willing to chase it right through the end of days because in a world promising death I found a little inkling of something that screamed of life.

I knew to the core of my chubby little being that it was all over, and yet somehow I was able to move my doom and gloom compass just enough so I could point it in the vague direction of something that made me happy.

This idea, incarnated in example by a hormone-driven boy in the heart of cold-war darkness, is the big secret to surviving what we are all feeling right now. I find myself, in other rantings I've spewed out in the past, turning it all around in the last second and offering up a ray of sunshine to make everyone feel good.

I've got news for you, I have nothing to offer. Your clown prince has failed you.

What I can offer you in pathetic substitution is a small piece of advice, thought up by a sad teenager on the brink of armageddon. If you managed to hang in there this long, go out and find something that makes you feel good. Chase mindlessly anything that reminds you of the joy inherent in being. 2001 is over, the facts of that micro-era are not going to get any better, but you have some small honor in having lived through it, casualties and all.

So go cop a feel. Heather's waiting, and you'll both thank me for it later.

06 / 05 / 2009