Sunday, May 21, 2017

Beware of Darkness (beware of darkness), Part Two

[If you're new here, this column consists of weekly letters written to my grandchildren, who exist, to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead, and my great-grandchildren, who aren't here yet.]

[Gentlereaders, I've been working on straightening out the various and sundry temporal kerfuffles caused by a technically challenged Tralfamadorian and a balky Wayback Machine that resulted in the loss of a day and a half of my life, which resulted in my publishing last Monday afternoon instead of the Saturday before last. Though this column is 24 hours late, be assured that everything is now back to normal and that Saturdays, 11:07 EST, is still the official publication day and time.]

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies, 

Darkness and Tralfamidorians were the subjects of my last letter/column. To summarize, I explained that due to the result of the efforts of a technically challenged Tralfamidorian field interviewer I lost a day and a half of my life. 

Also, I explored the current dark trend in entertainment (specifically TV and movies) that feels like Darth Vader has been appointed cosmic program director. This trend is due, at least in significant part, to people without spiritual or philosophical compensations confronting the fact they are never going to wake up/cross a line/win the _______/etc. one magic day and be, happy. 

While I began with the Tralfamidorians I didn't go into much detail about them so let me begin by clearing that deck. Once I finish with that bit of literary housekeeping I'll provide some further illumination concerning the darkness that pervades our entertainment. 


I've mentioned the Tralfamidorians (and Tralfamidorian technical trauma) once before, in late 2015. My column was published a day late because of technical problems that occurred during a week-long visit with my favorite space race.

While Tralfamidorian tech is light years beyond Earth's relatively primitive version, it's still deployed by imperfect, fallible entities, not all that different than we are.

Last time, my problems were caused by a Tralfamidorian to Earthish translation program and a side-effect generating Neuralizer (which I've since found out was due to fact that an Earth2 instead of an Earth3 coded Neuralizer was used).

It all worked out in the long run though. Tralfamidorian customer service upgraded me to scheduled "abductions" even though I was far short of enough abduction miles to do so via normal protocols.

Last week's problems were exacerbated by a slightly miscalibrated Wayback Machine overdue for scheduled maintenance. The Wayback Machine is outdated technology in need of an upgrade and/or a competitor, but the lawyers at patent litigation machine Mr. Peabody, LLC, are very good at what they do.

Besides, as everyone knows, bouncing around in time seems to create problems by definition. I'm old enough to know better.

Your humble but lovable columnist was able to finally get the Tralfamidorians to agree to permit me to write an entire column about Tralfamidorians/alien abductions/etc. They promise me it will be censored as gently as possible.


Some more on bewaring of darkness. Last week I mentioned the more paradox. This is my way of describing how we're genetically/evolutionarily/commnsensically wired to seek more. More food and I'll live to see another weekend, not just another hump day. More sex means more offspring, having sex, which leads to more offspring. More not only ensures survival, it makes us feel happy, which makes us want to survive. 

Until relatively recently, the primary preoccupation of most H. sapiens on the planet Earth was finding enough -- more was gravy. Finding enough still preoccupies many.

Once we have the basics covered, I'm talkin' food/clothing/shelter, and we have a chance to catch our breath, it occurs to us that life is still a constant struggle, just less so. Though I own a sassy McMansion containing myriad overstuffed closets and refrigerators the _______ growing in my/on my _______ may turn out to be malignant.  

[Doesn't malignant sound like it's, well, malignant? Sorry...

Now, as I mentioned last week, if you're fortunate enough to subscribe to some sort of religious and/or philosophical belief that includes an afterlife in which one becomes a permahappy (at last!) -- right away (Christianity), eventually (via reincarnation), -- you have a shield to ward off darkness. Or, you could implement the secret of happiness. 

However, no matter what you believe and no matter how you feel most of the time -- life's still a bitch and you're still gonna' die. How you deal with these facts is up to you; you're gonna' need some occasional dark catharsis. However, I maintain that the ever-increasing total number of citizens on this planet that have enough, or more than enough, has a downside. 

You may have enough, or more than enough. But you may not have a religion, reject my version (or someone else's) of the secret of happiness, or are just drifting because you won't (or can't) decide what game you wish to play and what the rules of the playground are.

Not picking a game can be a good game, but it gets old, quickly. Also, not picking a game renders one much more vulnerable to stumbling into potholes of darkness. 

It's really quite simple, pick your game and you will be instantly happier. 

Or, alternatively, don't pick a game, don't decide what the rules are. Who needs rules? be free. Embrace darkness/chaos/nihilism. Move to Hollywood and make "realistic" entertainment. Beware of accidentally overdosing on your own cynicism. Poppa loves you. 

Have an OK day.


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