Jots and Snippets: A Preview to the Apocalypse

by tobias crabtree

Don’t you go and worry this won’t be too scary. The end of human life has always been coming. In the beginning, whatever beginning you believe in, humankind (all those previous simians included) began the long steady march into a hand-fashioned grave. These thumbs are brilliant, and mischievous; the latter are the ones that grasp the grave-digger’s shovel so firmly. But follow that thumb back on it’s joints, up the elbows to that floating shoulder and across the graceful clavicle to the upper sternum. And then bore with me through the bone and drop into the upper guts, are you there? Can you hear the thunder? The pulsing engine of the heart? This is the seat of our existence. It is the point of origin of all our capabilities. Our tiny god of thunder. The heart. It runs on alchemy. If it stops, we are done. No more thinking, no more loving, no more cruelty; when the heart stops, we stop. It’s strange to me that the heart can even choose spiritlessness, because that is what fuels the heart. Spirit is the alchemical soup that causes us to love and fight and dance and laugh, but we can choose to abstain from the spirit. When that happens we begin to dress for the grave. Sure, we’re still here, but we are on life support.

I’m not bitter, not really. I mean, I have my moments, but I’m too in love with creeks and music and my Mom and my lover to be bitter all the time. Bitter is pinched, like a butthole. Walking around with a butthole mouth is ugly, not that buttholes aren’t necessary, they are! I actually love mine, but it would be ugly on my face. I’ll try not to lose you here, so I’ll leave the crass chatter behind me. (There’s still a joke there, but I won’t do it…nope, I won’t.) I can tell who is bitter. The ones who are angry with life are bitter. They don’t even know that they’re angry with themselves. Here’s one for ya. How ’bout this fella two days ago, in a beautiful giant F-350. He was in front of me at a light and he was glaring rearward through his giant mirrors. He had a big Trump sticker on his bumper, which told me that he was certainly an American. Only Americans would love Trump. On his back window, centered with painstaking accuracy was another sticker of Calvin (he of Calvin & Hobbs) taking a piss on the word environmentalist. 

 And I gotta take a minute to talk about these stickers who are using Calvin for things like pissing on other things. Perhaps I’m shouting into a vacuum here, but Calvin was just a little boy with an amazing imagination. He was in his own world that didn’t include Chevys or Fords. His world was by the creek in the gully where the seasons were contemplated in a transcendental kind of process. Hobbs was present to provide some grounding so that Calvin didn’t just wander away forever. Hobbs was Calvin’s anchor. Calvin was the inventor, the creator, the wild animal, the dreamer. He wasn’t a tree hugger, but he was almost a tree. His thoughts and actions could only be seen in comic book form, because they wouldn’t have been believed otherwise. Trump wouldn’t have been a blip on his radar, just as I am not a blip on Trump’s radar. Calvin saw the universe in a turning leaf. So let’s get something straight, when Calvin took a piss, it was because he had to go. And it was on a fern or off a bridge or in the highest arc possible to show off in front of Hobbs, not on a word or a brand. If you wanna talk about how dedicated you are to a brand or a party, make a stupid little image of yourself claiming how right you are while you point your little penis at the things you hate. (obviously i’m talking to men here, women are more sensible and don’t seem to take much part in pissing contests) But hey, leave Calvin out of it. He’s what I wish we were. Oh that we had a little more Calvin & Hobbs. There’d be more smiles, more laughing and more wild wagon rides down the steep hills toward the creek.      

Now, I’m not sure what the definition of environmentalist is, but I know what the dude in the big truck was getting at. As he turned the corner, he continued to stare rearward with his mouth pinched in the shape of a…like a kind of a, well, like a wrinkled, pitted prune. (Ha! You thought I was gonna go back to butthole, but I didn’t!) I could see his face, most of it, behind the aviator glasses and I’d put him in his late 60’s. The side of his upper lip lifted a little and he flicked his cigarette butt into the air and onto the dry grass of the median. Somewhere along the way I had to turn, I was going to swim in the river. My guess is that he probably wasn’t going to do the same thing. I wonder about that ol’ feller’s ticker. I wonder about his guts and his dreams when he sleeps. Does he sleep soundly? Or do his lips twitch and jerk at the taste of bile and the smell of hate. I wonder.

I looked up the definition of environmentalist. It’s what you’d think. I have a feeling that it denotes more than just a person who cares about the environment. I’m sure a rancher might have a more colorful definition for that word. And I’m not ripping on people who ranch. Or farm. I love a good many folks who do both. I just don’t understand what the difference is between wanting to raise animals on good land and wanting the best for the environment. Seems like it can easily be both. I’m beginning to think the only “perfect world” is the one without humans in it. But I don’t like that. I don’t like the thought of not being here. After all, I’m convinced that our greatest attribute is that we can love. It’s not that hard to do. Like, I can even love things I’ve never seen. I can love a child I’ve never met who lives in Burma, where I’ve never been. I can love a star on the farthest edge of our universe. It might sound soft, but it ain’t. I loved every fella in my Recon team in the Marine Corps. No one will ever fight harder than for the ones they love. So, us humans, if we love, belong. If we don’t, we don’t.

It ain’t hate that’ll crucify love, it’ll be indifference. It’ll be apathy that does us in. There’s a weird feeling I have when I see too many people in one place, but no one is paying attention to actual life. I can’t help but bring up technology here; it’s a sad old sack that I beat on quite often, so allow me to do so again. I have done personal experiments with my smart phone. I’ve found that the more time I spend on it, the less I care. The less I care about anything, and the more jaded I am about life. It’s depressing. In fact, it’s dreadful. If I put it down for several days, I am fiery and wild. I am full of desire and my drive to create is powerful. It makes perfect sense. Every single app is designed to make you want to stay longer, to stay connected to the screen. It begs you to stay. And with the games that interact with the world, it causes us to see the world through the device. They have become our lenses with filters to make the virtual world better than the actual world. It’s similar to needing booze in order to have a party. It’s a terrible, dangerous little path. It will not lead to feelings and words. It will not make us closer to the wild, it will make us want to visit the wild in order to record it with our devices so we can feel validated virtually without ever having interacted with our actual world. It is slow death. It’s a party and we are waiting for the guest of honor. Oblivion is at the door, don’t take your eyes off the screen, this is gonna be great!

Post Script: Please don’t think I’m excluding myself here. I too, fight the fight. Likes and loves and pokes and emojis and little yellow faces. Symbols and tweets and chirps and texts and airdrops and bluetooths and apps and double taps, googles and wikis and pokemons and streaming data. My goal is not condemnation. My dream is to be more aware as a living, breathing animal, and I’d love it if you were there too. So let’s meet, all of us. Out there under non-filter skies and listen outside of our earbugs to words that are spoken and not played and let’s discuss and disagree and flex our muscles and dance to music that is real and alive and full of feelings. This is not the end.