Friday, January 12, 2024

The History of the World (Condensed), Ch. 2

Image by JJ Jordan from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes." -Mark Twain

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

Chapter One ended with the beginning of civilization. Our story continues. 

...Next, depending on how you look at it, an awful lot of history happened — or a few things happened over and over again — and regularly something really awful happened. 

Rather like the life of a modern-day, average American Joe/Joan/J. Bagadonuts but subject to even more random acts of violence. They attacked us or we attacked them in the name of cash, conquest, revenge, God, the gods, hunger, honor, slaves, etcetera.

Fortunately, God was on our side or it would have been even worse. 

As Hobbes famously pointed out, life is “...solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Mr. H. was arguing that this is the natural state of man (he had a point) and that’s why we need an all-powerful ruler to keep us on the straight and narrow. 

He was wrong about that but we do need some form of government. This is how we keep the bullies on our playground in check and defend it from the bullies from other playgrounds.  

Once in a while, peace would break out but Mother Nature provides us with ways to stave off boredom and complacency — natural disasters and disease.

For example, say King Ed is sitting in the privy waiting for nature to take its course and his mind starts to wander because the only copy of Dark Ages Digest on hand is almost a year old. 

He’s been giving a lot of thought to attacking a kingdom just down the road because he’s got his fair share of bloodthirsty warriors and greedy nobles to keep happy and if he doesn’t keep them busy they may turn on him and/or each other for entertainment and booty.

He’s been through that before and knows that even if he and his allies triumph lots of innocent serfs, peasants, and slaves will be slaughtered. 

Collateral damage, sure, but since they're the ones that do most of the heavy lifting, and since lots of them die before reaching the age of thirty, you need to maintain a large inventory to dodge some significant downsides. He’s still short of virtual slaves, actual slaves, and cash from last season, not one of his better ones, and short on potential solutions as well. 

Things are so bad he’s considering hiring one of those expensive consultants his brother King Marty favors. He’s heard good things about a firm called DPD, Diabolical Plots by the Dozen, founded incidentally, by a distant ancestor of Vladimir Putin.

His ruminations are interrupted by a hysterical minion pounding on the door and screaming, “Your majesty, your majesty there are reports of plague (or flood, or fire, or hairy weather, or rapacious insects, or blight, or famine, etcetrine) in the kingdom!” 

This solves the problem, short term at least. Now, survival becomes everybody's Job-1. Assuming this isn’t an apocalyptic-level crisis and assuming that King Ed is one of the survivors he can deal with his other problem later.

This is how things rolled most days in most places. Why? Well, it’s either because we’re naked apes living in a dangerous world, or, someone screwed up the paradise we were provided with by God and he/she/they is still mad (the details depend on which creation myth you subscribe to). It wasn’t all bad though. 

Once in a while, a Joe or Joan or J. Bagadonuts was fortunate enough to have an actual boring day. Once in a great while, something truly cool happened.

Somebody came up with the wheel, someone perfected bronze, iron came along, the printing press was invented, Mr. and Mrs. Beethoven had a baby — that sort of thing. Being the clever creatures that we are, we even came up with all sorts of ways to use these breakthroughs for things other than killing each other.

H. sapiens are religious by nature, including the ones who claim not to be. Various entities, or his/her/their messenger(s), have regularly stopped by to light the path to paradise. This phenomenon continues apace, right up to this very moment. 

Nowadays, the entities and/or their messengers may be politicians, pundits, Greenies, Wokies, Trumpies, etc. The field has broadened considerably.

"We're the ones we've been waiting for" so let's "make America great again!" I think that...

{Whoa, Sparky, focus dude.}

Thanks, Dana, I've gotten ahead of myself. Where was I? Oh, yeah...

And then, in 1776, the planet Earth finally caught a break.

(To Be Continued...)

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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