And Then I Thought I was a Fish

IDENTIFYING INFORMATION: Peter Hunt Welch is a 20-year-old single Caucasian male who was residing in Bar Harbor, Maine this summer. He is a University of Maine at Orono student with no prior psychiatric history, who was admitted to the Acadia Hospital on an involuntary basis due to an acute level of confusion and disorganization, both behaviorally and cognitively. He was evaluated at MDI and was transferred from that facility due to psychosis, impulse thoughts, delusions, and disorientation.

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Observations of a Straight White Male with No Interesting Fetishes

Ever wondered how to justify your own righteousness even while you're constantly embarrassed by it? Or how to make a case for your own existence when you contribute nothing besides nominal labor to a faceless corporation that's probably exploiting children? Are you clinging desperately to an arbitrary social model imposed by your parents and childhood friends? Or screaming in terror, your mind unhinged at the prospect of an uncaring void racing to consume the very possibility of your life having meaning?

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This is the story of a boy, a girl, a phone, a cat, the end of the universe, and the terrible power of ennui.

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What to Do in Case of Nukular Sharknado

Composed on the 8th of March in the year 2017, at 11:00 PM. It was Wednesday.

Nothing. You’re fucked.

It’s a nukular sharknado. It doesn’t listen to reason: It’s an unreasonable thing. It can’t spell, and it’s a radioactive tornado made of sharks. Or possibly a tornado made out of radioactive sharks. It doesn’t matter; if you have to shout, “Look out for the nukular sharknado,” you’re past the point where your resume benefits from a bullet point about being detail oriented.

No, your best bet is to curl up and prepare to be irradiated reverse-sushi. But nobody likes to sit around and wait for death, so everybody tries to work around the reality of the new sharknado. For instance, to grab an example at random, if most of your down time is spent writing, you find something to write about. But you don’t know what to do about a nukular sharknado, so what do you say about it? On the other hand, you can’t not address the nukular sharknado in the room, because it’s a Right Now problem, not a Someday problem. If it passes you by and starts hitting people far enough away that you can’t hear the toothy nuking, you can go back to treating it like a Someday problem, or even a Yesterday problem.

This makes for hilarious middle-ground actions: A friend invited me to a social action planning meeting with a DJ and an event entitled “Understanding and resisting gentrification as an unwilling gentrifier” which I imagine will be a diabetically special conversation. It will be had in a room full of people who look like me, with the occasional interjection to the tune of “Think about the people who don’t look like us” which will be met by one of my clones with “Yes, good, I like your energy, we can’t forget those people, but we’re focussing on what we can do right now.”

The collapse of reason and irony is inevitable when cynicism turns out to be optimistic. Somebody actually said, “Politics have become too politicized.” Half the how-did-it-come-to-this articles about the latest populist movements portray “We just want to burn it all down” as the good and rational argument we want to hear from the people who fired up the latest shark reactor, because at least then we know they didn’t think life would get better.

Meanwhile, it’s supposedly important to stay aware, because we all heard the boiling frog allegory, wherein a sadist put a frog in a pot of water and kept the gas low enough that the frog never noticed it was being cooked. The moral is you should notice when a sadist puts you in a pot, and take periodic temperature readings.

I think the lobster has a better tale. One day, a lobster finds some food pretty much like all the other food they eat, but oops, turns out it’s in a rope box that’s easier to get into than out of. So it sits, getting hungry again, with no inclination or ability to warn other lobsters about the situation. Then it’s yanked up and tossed into a tank with yet more lobsters, after its weapons are taken it away, to prevent it from eating its kin, because it’s getting real hungry now. Eventually, it’s popped into a trunk and taken to a slightly less crowded tank, where it gets a few comfortable days before it’s popped into an already boiling pot where it dies instantly.

The lobster’s tale is a series of quick, jarring shocks that make its final, pre-death tank seem like a relief. Something is clearly wrong every step of the way, but the lobster is helpless and hungry then dead. It’s quick and it’s strange, and almost immediately too late.

In an effort to figure out what to do before some form of boiling, somebody made the mistake of interviewing Slavoj Žižek, who took it as an opportunity to change the subject three hundred times before recommending that the proper thing to do in times of social catastrophe is hide in a cabin and read a book, which is almost verbatim the conversation that made me stop taking philosophy classes. He also said, “violence never beats fascism” despite being old enough to know better. But nobody likes violence, so let’s table that idea, for now.

Love is getting tossed around a lot, but against any organized authority that knows what you’re up to, love doesn’t work. You can say it and you can spray it, and in a functioning social contract with mediocre resource distribution, you can even cite it as a valid political talking point. The notion of love can help tie a political organization together, but if it’s the key talking point… well, everybody’s in a circle, and nobody can hold three jugs of milk. Sudden desperate pleading for everyone to love one another is not an ember of hope in a darkening room. If it comes from those in power, it’s a crass attempt to shame the opposition into silence; if it comes from the opposition, it’s a sign that they’re out of ideas, like when people add “don’t smoke” to a list of health tips.

Everybody’s attempting to respond to the jarring shocks as problems unto themselves, as everybody always does. But there’s nothing to be done: It’s a nukular sharknado. Batten the hatches, hope it doesn’t hit you, get ready for a lot of cleaning up and twenty years of abnormal cancer rates. Nobody has any effective ideas because the situation is so absurd it takes most of our faculties to accept what is happening right in front of us, and the rest of them to survive it. There’s always an attempt to understand why we keep building shark reactors in historically windy areas, and suggestions made about how to dismantle or at least move them, but these discussions have to take place in a world that BUILDS NUCLEAR SHARK REACTORS and if anybody blinks while trying to face that reality, everybody has to stop talking and get a drink.

It’s time to get that drink, and understand how truly fucked we are. It is fundamentally, systemically, and existentially apocalyptic. We are nukular sharknado fucked. There’s no way to spin it into something good: It’s already spinning teeth six rows deep and the silver lining is ionizing radiation.

Accepting how bad things are opens the door for radical action. It’s a dangerous door to open, because it’s full of random, desperate energy, and nobody really wants to follow through on the plan B they came up with in college involving Mexico and an acoustic guitar. But, having watched the world fortify its position in sharknado valley for thirty years, it’s worth pondering ideas that sound more like “moving” and less like “buy insurance.”

This is what my car was doing when I almost killed a family of six.

Hi there! You should totally go buy my book for the low low price of 6.73! It's like buying me a beer at an out-of-the-way dive bar in Brooklyn! Not in Manhattan. Manhattan prices are ridiculous, though there are a couple of decent Irish dives where you can snag a drink for five bucks. Otherwise, you're looking at a two or three book beer.