Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Huge Gaping Opinion About Nothing at All (An Anniversary piece)

             This October I’ve been writing a few stories trying to offer some extra fictional fright to the Halloween season. I love writing scary little stories about the things that go bump in the night. A story about some violent monster that actually crawls out from under your bed and eats your face as you scream and kick and blood spurts all over the walls. Writing those stories is just fun. It’s an escape from the everyday horrors that constantly surround each and every one of us. But once in a while the real world creeps in to the fictional world I try to create and some attention must be drawn to it.

            Ebola sucks. There. I said it. Now everyone can relax. I’ve made it official. It is a terrifying sickness that has the potential to become something truly horrific. I wouldn’t wish Ebola on my worst enemy. It’s awful. Yet, it doesn’t mean everyone should freak the hell out. Luckily we live in one of the most medically advanced nations on the Earth and the odds of a regular Joe on the street contracting Ebola is incredibly rare. All the same I would recommend against handling any Ebola infected corpses, feces, vomit, spit or blood. If you are currently finger painting with Ebola infected feces, please stop, wash your hands and lock yourself in your room. I know that sounds a bit harsh but, c’mon, think about the many. And that probably wasn’t the shade of brown you were really going for anyway. So, wow, you double blew that one.

            Celebrity antics are the life blood of the American economy. Without Rene Zelleweger’s new face or Bill Cosby’s sexual goings-on I’m not sure what Americans would have talked about or spent their money on this week. It’s only Wednesday for that matter. I can only imagine what the rest of the week will bring. The new American currency is gossip. And perhaps saying its “new” isn’t appropriate. It’s always been our way to become fascinated by the antics of the famous. Fatty Arbuckle knew the slings and arrows of public scorn all too well. I think it directly lead to the Great Depression in some way didn’t it? Yet, the American public was rapt in the daily newspaper stories about his trial and seedy lifestyle. It was a shock that someone who made people laugh could be a damaged person underneath all that comedy obesity. I’m pretty sure there were far scarier news stories this week than what happened to Rene’s face and Bill’s…whatever Bill did. I don’t even know. Frankly, it isn’t really news. What if Rene Zelleweger got a face lift to look more like Bill Cosby?! Now that would have been news!

            The scariest story of the week for me, as a beer drinker, was the story of the guy who stole a Miller Brewing truck carrying 44,000 pounds of Miller High Life. That guy is going to have one kick ass Halloween party I bet. I wonder if Miller High Life Thief will be a popular Halloween costume this year? It’s just one of the many stories I saw this week that troubled me. The thing that really troubles me and scares me about these types of stories is how many people just believe what they read. I was at a bar a few weeks ago and a young man swore up and down that a woman was being sent to prison for ten years for allegedly twerking on Martin Luther King Jr.’s grave. I told him that I doubted very much that the story was true. He then pulled out his cell phone and showed me the “story” on some website. I read the article and shook my head. This poor guy completely believed the piece without checking the source. The web site was a satirical one, like the Onion and there was no truth to the story. I pointed out the satirical nature of the story to the young man, but he persisted in his belief that it was a true news story. Now that scared the shit out of me. It’s ignorance that scares me the most.

            Things out in the world are terrifying. Scarier than any story I could every write and throw up on my blog page. Canada is getting a taste of true American style gun violence and the Middle East is still a powder keg of uncontrolled zealotry and religious idolatry run amok. Cars are crashing, children are missing, fires are burning, old people are being abused, murderers run free, rapists stalk, and female teachers are still having sex with underage boys. The world is a very scary place. Yet, unlike the stories I write, most of the scary things in the world can be changed.

            When I write about some vicious hell spawn rising from the depths of the abyss to drink the marrow from our bones, I know that it couldn’t ever really happen. It makes the flight of fanciful imagination harmless and even enjoyable. I can even let the villainous demon win in the story and everything ends up in darkness and I’m comfortable in knowing that it’s just a silly story and there’s no truth to any of it. It’s made up in my head and can’t hurt anyone. Unless your eyesight is bad and squinting at the computer screen is giving you a headache, for that I apologize.

            The majority of the horrors in the world however, can be altered through action. We can be vigilant against the spread of an infectious disease, we can truly try to understand the Middle East and Isis so a reasonable solution can be made, and we can protect ourselves against the fear. There are always ways. I’m not advocating violence against the “evil doers” or some blanket Orwellian bureaucracy to control the masses. It really only takes an awareness and rationality to overcome the things we are afraid of. There’s no monster in the closet, only what our imagination says there is. Once Dad checks it out and shows you there are no monsters in there you can finally sleep comfortably, because he educated you and allowed you to overcome your irrational fear.

FDR said it best though truly the only thing we do have to fear is fear itself. Once the veil of fear is removed we can start behaving rationally; or at least slightly smarter than those teenagers that went to the abandoned amusement park at midnight to call upon the spirit of Binky the flesh eating clown. We have the capacity to overcome fear and make things better. Once we were able to light the darkness, the darkness became less powerful over us. It’s been repeated throughout history.

So as I roll out a few more hopefully scary stories over the next few pre-Halloween days, keep in mind that while Earth is frigging scary as hell, it isn’t scary enough to keep us frozen in fear. We are a pretty smart species to make it this far so keep an open mind, use common sense, use good judgment, and keep reading my blog. See how I threw that in there. You probably weren’t expecting that.  Also - Happy four year annniversary to A Minute With Michael!


  1. Nice! What was Cosby up to, by the way?>

    1. Hey Christine! I had heard that he was in some sort of trouble for being sexually inappropriate with some staffers or women.