It's too hot
Too hot to write. Too hot to read.
Are you still reading? What the heck go jump in a pool!
When the internet
First started. Ok that's not true. After the internet started and maybe about ten years in (so it still felt new on some fronts like 'subscribing to an email blast), I subscribed to an email blast. It was from a guy in the UK, which is short for the United Kingdom, and another name for Great Britain.
sidenote - when I toured the British Isles (term #4!) I asked the difference of these terms to many 'chaps I met, and a few 'dames and ya know what I learned?
Nobody knew, or maybe they just didn't care.
But speaking of learning, this email blast I subscribed to was called a phrase-a-week, and it was put out by a Brit who either knew a lot or knew how to research. I mean really, how do you find a manuscript from 1540 that is the first known mention of "go suck an egg" - I have no idea.
Maybe I was practicing my useless trivia for someday becoming a dad.. a goal I'm not quitting on even though sheltering-in-place is not making it look any closer. *sad face*
Stay on track.
As I wrote the title I was wishing that guy still did that email blast, so I could look up a common idiom - that's a word-picture - like 'Dog Days' of Summer.
But now we just have G-search .. *yawn* ok..
So the Alden version and since it actually is 100 right now in a town 30 minutes from the ocean that's usually 68 on average, is that the ancient Greeks noticed that the Dog-Star Sirius would rise and set with the sun around mid-July and last for about 20 days. When the heat was peaked and I assume so were the egyptians, esp if you were working on some fool's errand like a humongous brick pyramid to bury a skinny boy-king inside, you labeled these 20 days of summer the Dog Days.
When Sirius was bright and it was Siriously hot. And it seemed like it would Siriously not end.
Don't you feel better with that knowledge?
Yeah you're right. It's still to d*mn hot. But what are you Siriously tired of thinking about - what feels like it Siriously won't end?
There's so many though!
I know, let's count out the things we all could be reaching the point of exhaustion with:
- Explaining to people about masks (no matter which side you're on)
- Movie theatres' reopening dates (esp. if you just finished a movie)
- Music venues reopening dates
- Restaurant rules changing
- School reopening rules changing
- Politicians trying to explain why rules are changing
- Friends or relatives who don't acknowledge any of the above concerns
- Blog posts
Looking at that list I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the biggest thing we all seem to be sick of is..
wait for it -
At least we can agree on something.
So the irony is we're sick of hearing about things that might make us sick. Is that right?
And it's still too hot.
On. One. Thing.
So that's it
Maybe it is. Maybe at the root of our 2020 apocalypse is the desire - or the need, if we want to continue - to agree on just one thing.
Early on it was freedom from Great Britain right? From the King's rule. It didn't matter if you favored a long rifle or knife fights at close range, we were united on that front. And nobody wanted scurvy.
Of course as we went along as a country agreeing on one thing became a pretty big thing. I believe that's why they drew up that one document and had people sign it. People with really cool signatures.
The theme being...
Let's agree on these things
When it came time for the Civil War it was about one thing right? We knew I imagine, at least some of us knew, that for a growing country to go forward we'd have to at least agree on this one thing. This thing about humans and treating people as not property but fellow humans. After the Civil war we continued to unfortunately not be able to completely put to rest that one thing, but at least we got the one thing out of the bag.
But it doesn't go away.
I imagine if you are in premarital counseling and the issue of spanking your child comes up, if you don't agree on it it most certainly will come up again. Probably at the most inopportune time, say in a public place like a restaurant, family gathering, or heaven forbid a place like Disneyland. The child will invariably have a meltdown, as kids will do. If there is added stress such as a time or food issue, of meeting others or of being hungry, it will all add fire to lead to the meltdown requiring both parents to come to an agreement on how to prevent future meltdowns. The issue of spanking if it is believed to be effective by one and ineffective or unwise by the other, will not simply vanish.
This book is amazing.
Actually it's long. But the theory is amazing. It tracks every generation from the onset of America to today (it was written in 1991 but has been updated), and takes the guess work out of the future based on the patterns that have existed and repeated themselves since our independence.
One of the more interesting theories and patterns is that every 80-90 years a major outward societal struggle or collision occurs. The Revolutionary war / The Civil War / The Great Depression and WWII / Coronavirus.
Wait - what?
Yes you read right.
Authors Neil Howe and William Strauss did not predict Covid-19. However, based on the previous outward conflicts that we've dealt with they predicted that something was due about 80-90 years after the last one. And when was the last one?
Well 80-90 years ago would have been... 1930-1940. Was there a large scale outward conflict going on anytime around that span? Anything that upended American life and /or caused the country to desperately need to agree on one thing? The world even to agree on one thing?
Correct. One speculation of why these outward conflicts happen every four generations or so is that the next "turning" as it's called, happens when the citizens who were alive at the last one are gone or are dying off, and therefore there's no one to warn society, "hey - we went through this before and it wasn't pretty." Sounds familiar if you've tried to talk history with a millennial or member of igen recently no?
"History? that's what they've got that channel for right?" is the inevitable answer.
I happened upon Neil's book last August.
Not normally my strong suit but maybe I'm growing wiser.*
*Alden ducks as a fine china plate flies past his head followed by an overly ripe and rather disgusting tomato that hits him squarely on his left cheek and makes a gorgeous and hollow SMACK sound as it caves his face in before sliding down his neck and onto his white Calvin Klein t-shirt leaving a red almost 'scarlet-letter' ish stain.
A comment from off camera comes in "maybe growing into a wiser ass" but certainly not wise-er."
Look I didn't write the theory - I'm just glad I heard of it before this Covid-mess. It really does take much of the emotion and anxiety about the future away from one's temporal lobe.
Now that I've separated the squeamish from the ones who are done reading and are off searching "your brain and you," let's cut to the chase.
What's the one thing we need to agree on in these über-divided times?
Well to start let's use the Strauss-Howe model. What did we come out of each outward conflict agreeing on?
- Revolutionary War = Taxation without Representation
- Civil War = Slavery has gotta go
- WWII = Communism and Hitler have gotta go
- 2020 Pandemic and Economic devastation = __________ has gotta go
If you're a conspiracy theorist you'd fill in that blank maybe with personal freedoms. Or un-monitered travel.
If you're a moderate (like me) you might put someone's name in their that rhymes with gruesome.
Hate to burst your bubble but this is a far greater issue than a few more possible years with mr. Cheeto head.
Hope or nope
First of all let's think about these shared agreements we came to from these outward societal events. Something's gotta go. Even after the Revolutionary war one could say "British rule? A stuffy monarchy? Yeah gotta go."
They're all outward.
When you're dealing with country-building, slavery, communism, and now gov't overreach it's understandable to appreciate that direction. Get it out. Cut it off. Expose it for what it is.
But what if we're focusing our energy in the wrong direction?
Everything out - expelled - cancelled - exiled. When is the last time we focused on what we are bringing in? What we're learning. Reading. Eating. Meditating on.
Are we ingesting things that lead to health or indigestion? Are we our own worst enemies, asking for bigger portions and then complaining of an upset tummy?
After all, we created mr. orange hair didn't we? We created the cult of personality, the reality show, corporate greed unfettered. And we created mr gruesome Gavin too - political nepotism, unchecked power, a one-party system in California.
No matter who your public enemy number one is, the problems we're dealing with are largely with people we either created or cultivated. Or that we turned away from when their inconsistencies were small and when standing up would have seemed like paranoia or just meanness.
I know, I know...
I'm a sucker for personal responsibility. It started with not letting my dad off the hook.
But that's another post.
I realize this may harm my future political run but I don't care anymore. As Ms. Rod Tidwell says in Jerry Maguire "I'm pregnant, and I'm incapable of bullsh*t."
The one thing that we HAVE to agree on this time?
In this decade?
In this moment?
It isn't to revisit slavery (although reforms in certain areas are needed, and the modern sex slave trade is the real devil we won't speak of).
It isn't to rid the world of communism (although reminding todays' youth of the full spectre that is fascism might be needed more than even I thought).
It isn't to "cancel" anyone who says something disagreeable or hurtful, that unfortunately will never go away and also sooner or later they'll cancel you.
It isn't to do anything involved with getting something out. We've been expelling so many things in fact if America were a body we'd be bulimic and obese at the same time.
Instead of continuing to cancel, expel, eradicate things OUT of America, and of the world, it's time instead we begin to put the right things IN.
It's time to go from nope to hope.
It's time to breathe life back into this unhealthy body that is America. It's been starved of goodness and virtue and soul for far too long. And we know all too well the first step right? You got it - admitting we have a problem.
Admitting we ALL let it happen.
That it's time.
And even though it's a long road back...
It's worth it.