Has The World Gotten Scarier?

…or is it just me?

I mean, seriously: There’s a new COVID variant; monkeypox and a deadly flu are now going around; ebola is making a comeback. Russia in Ukraine is retreating, but on the other hand tactical nukes. Trump’s in the headlines; last time that happened, he became president. There’s hurricanes, floods, famine, plague, earthquakes, tsunamis, and you just know there’s about to be a volcano erupting somewhere, right?

This is worse than that Billy Joel song. When does it all end?!

If you’re not there yet, you can stop reading. Go back about your day in peace and forget you ever saw this. But if you’re there with me, then I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news: It’s not going to end. The good news: It’s nothing new. You’re just seeing it differently now.

Human beings rely on our blind spots in order to get through the day. Most of us drift through the world with the illusion that everything is safe and secure in the face of the terrifyingly obvious fact that it’s very much not. This is at once a survival trait — you can’t live life while terrified; there isn’t time — and the reason some people, against all logic, buy multi-million dollar second homes on barrier islands, which when all is said and done are nothing but transient spits of sand that exist at the mercy of ocean currents.

Thanks to COVID and the 24-hour disaster cycle that passes for news these days, many of us right now are hyper-sensitized to some of the awful truths that, as a general rule, most people go through their whole lives ignoring: Strontium 90. Zombie barnacles. Propaganda. Zombie fungus. Taxation is theft. Japanese murder hornets fnord and spotted lanternflies. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

This awareness is not, strictly speaking, sane.

On the other hand, neither is living on a barrier island, once you come right down to it. So there’s that too.

There are three things that I personally take away from this realization; I don’t know if they’ll be valuable to you, but just in case, I’ll offer them.

1. Life is more fun if you can put these thoughts out of your mind, or at least into perspective. I recognize that this may not always be possible; still, it’s good to know.

2. There’s a difference between awareness of a threat and letting it control you. Even knowing that, my knees still lock when I’m on a ladder. Take it for what it’s worth.

3. It’s great fuel for writing Lovecraftian horror stories. These past few months, my productivity has trebled — at least, in between bouts of COVID.

I wish I had more words of wisdom, but for now, that’s it. Sorry.

OH! There is one more thing, now that I come to think about it:

4. You’re not alone. Remembering that helps quite a bit.

No, I’m not okay. Thanks for asking. The whole point of this article is to acknowledge that most of us aren’t okay right now. On the plus side, you can do something to help.

You can send cash to PayPal in order to help support us, set up a subscription donation at Patreon, or buy us a coffee. Even a couple of bucks will make us smile — and besides, you’d just end up piddling it away on pointless things like rent and groceries anyway.

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