what if?

What if we really couldn’t afford to take care of our elderly, infirm, sick, dying, homeless, wounded, maimed, disabled, crazy… ? What if even Defense had a budget so tight the argument over whether to pay for one B-1 Bomber or instead, pay for city schools, hospitals, firetrucks, meals, medicine, shelter simply evaporated. Evaporated into listless, desultory conversations about the way things used to be when it seemed that we had choices. It seemed we had choices and if we argued our preferences reason – and kindness – just might in the end prevail.

But then to get to what seems to be the end of the line and find that survival means paring down to essentials, eliminating the niceties, the superfluous, the frills, in just the way we do when stripping to fight – stripping ourselves of binding wraps, stripping our enemies of their humanity. We have to see them as not-people, as not-us, or suffer as we slay them. Even if we don’t slay but simply walk away, allowing them to not-thrive to their very deaths, it will be easier if they don’t seem human.

Will our sense of humor keep pace with our sense of the tragic, the flawed, the foolish if meaning and hope gurgle away? We are on a foundering ship but if we can, at least sometimes – laugh at life, at ourselves, at death, even as we throw the weak and helpless overboard, even as we know that we will inevitably follow them – then maybe we buy ourselves, and our healthy children, and our able friends – a little more time. Then we might survive. Then we might even survive to be worth something, remembering we did what we had to do in a time when there was no time for second guessing, and precious little time for tears. Laughter makes the gods crazy. If we want to outgrow them we need to laugh often and we need to laugh long. It wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and start laughing now.

… half-baked thoughts generated out of a National Geographic article on the Human population fast approaching 7 billion people. Happy New Epoch, everybody.

Images by 

Sebastião Salgado.

This entry was posted in ...into the Valley of Death rode the Seven Billion, fragments, Global Poverty, global weather change, Mewling, overpopulation, Sebastião Salgado, the Great Re-Depression. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to what if?

  1. Love the “half-baked” rant, for it touches us in tender places, and smarts with the smack of truth as you slap us and cajole us and point the way ahead. Great to see you writing again, letting that artist’s sentiments, that fine mind, out for a spin, a walk, a breath of fresh air. I think I see poetics in your prose as per usual.


  2. rick mobbs says:

    Thanks Glenn. It’s good to be back and a pleasure to see you so productive. Here’s to a year of health and art and poetry, kids and love and friends and family and saying what we want.

    A problem with a half-baked rant is that when I see it again I usually want to touch it and make it better. I know it would be better to compose off to the side and post when finished. I’m just getting back into the blog though and I feel the fewer steps to commitment the better. So what if it’s not perfect? So what if I monkey with it later? How is that different from the rest of my life?


  3. /health, art, and poetry/
    /kids and love and friends/
    Man, you nailed the beating heart of our lives. Add to it film, photography, and road trips, plus love making with the wife, and you have a map for success. Perfection is, of course, illusory, and like truth–a matter of perception. A trained eye, a trained ear responds differently to aesthetics than the untrained, unwashed, still in the wrapper minds of “some” of our overstimulated youth, or just the naive boomers that worked for fifty years, didn’t read enough, or go to enough concerts, go to Europe, or see the elephant when they could have, or should have.


  4. nandasosa says:

    I want to steal this for my blog: Laughter makes the gods crazy. If we want to outgrow them we need to laugh often and we need to laugh long. It wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and start now


  5. rick mobbs says:

    ‘Nanda Sosa, everything I have is yours. Well, yours and Jason’s and Naomi’s and the kids’ and Fernanda’s. You guys will have to work all that out later. For now just take what you want. Just like you always have. (Smile)


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