I watched the twisted, metal Babel erupt into a plume of thick, choking smoke as three thousand souls were consumed by fire. God said the Earth wouldn’t be destroyed by water the second time around. Nobody understood how or why, but there was always some Middle Eastern dictator to blame. The streets were cloaked red, white, and blue in remembrance. Jets took off and the bombs fell on the empty desert. We would have our revenge.
The decade came and went and we were still there. Babylon had fallen. Ancient ruins in Mesopotamia, once places of divine power beyond our scientific comprehension, turned into rubble. Gilgamesh wept.
Our culture of hope had become one of fear. But everything has already been said about that. The twentieth century was dragged out of memory kicking and screaming. Memories bleed, flowing freely from the open wounds of our minds. Pale, scarred over remnants of times and places long past torn open anew.
Patriotism escapes me. It’s hard to love someone you’ve never really known, even harder to love someone you know all too well. America eludes me. I don’t understand her. We grew up together and I’ve wanted nothing more than to get far away from her.
Her broken visage stares back at me from Subway signs and freeway off-ramps. She whispers at night to me about special offers and money back guarantees. Her beauty is apparent to me in the coastal shoals of New England, her ugliness in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. She is neither Lady Liberty nor Whore of Babylon. Her board of directors prefers a different approach to branding.
This land is my land; this land is your land. I am her representative, her ambassador. Foreigners look to me for guidance but I’m just as lost. She’s a whore to them: someone to take what they came for and leave. She’s a lady to me: someone to hold gently in the dawn’s early light. But there aren’t any ladies anymore.
The only girl I’ve ever loved was a figment of my imagination. I spoke to her twice and I never saw her again. I will grow old and forever cling to that which never was. She will forever be fourteen.
We had crossed the veil. Much has been said about the nineties but they were the last decade, the end of history. I came of age amidst two decades of total spiritual rot. I don’t care about the economy or politics or the TSA sodomizing you with a flashlight. I care about those things we’ll never get back.
Those true believers in love and honor and beauty are the martyrs of our age. They will die not knowing what these words mean. The evil men from the desert, our sworn enemies, know these words well. They are willing to die for love and honor and beauty. Their alien god has not abandoned them. Our marketplace god has long left us.
I don’t know what happened that day. Perhaps I never will. Whether terrorists or deep state operatives or extraterrestrials knocked down the towers, it is all irrelevant. Mission accomplished. Whoever sought to destroy the land of the free and the home of the Whopper was successful. No amount of political posturing and empty promises will bring back what was lost.
The end of my childhood coincided with the end of my country. America was not a virgin. Perhaps she never was. But in those days she carried herself with the dignity you might expect from a young mother. Now she’s divorced and sleeps with loud, swarthy men from nightclubs.
An elderly Japanese woman is screaming at her half-black preteen daughter. She berates her in a sickening patois of Engrish and Ebonics. Her daughter is eleven but she’s shamefully unemployed and is still going to school. You need to own business, girl. Anthony Robbins said you need to be entrepreneur, girl. School is waste of time, girl. You need to make paper, girl. I try to tune it out and go back to sleep but the Mexican couple is fucking in the shower again.
When you graduate college you’ll be stuck doing sales. Stuck calling small business owners on the phone and harassing them during dinner. You can’t afford not to have this product, sir. It pays for itself. Your boss will pull you aside and warn you about your attitude. You sound like you want to die. I’m just tired, that’s all. You quit the next week.
Holden Caulfield always liked museums. Museums never change. The scene where he’s watching his little sister on the carousel almost brought me to tears. I wish sometimes I could interact with others without the dark clouds of sex, drugs, and alcohol hanging over our heads. But their impenetrable shadows obscure and ultimately render void any meaningful human connection.
Commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings assault your ears. BEER. SPORTS. WINGS. Most have never seen wings attached to a whole roasted chicken, fewer have seen a living chicken. Apparently Buffalo Wild Wings is affectionately referred to as B-Dubs by people in the know. Kayne West will not rest until everything has a hip hop abbreviation. Nobody knows what it means, but it’s provocative. It gets the people going. It’s all entertainment, all sound and fury signifying nothing.
I like to replay The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from time to time. Midway through the game, you are forced to become an adult and the world as you once knew it is destroyed. Seven years have passed and you are thrust into a familiar but hideously warped version of reality. The signs were there when you were a kid, but you never paid much attention.
Games never change, only the players. We too were thrust into adulthood, into the sobering realization that things were bad all along. Only we can’t travel through time. We can’t go back. We must march time’s cruel march while everything around us slowly, imperceptibly gets worse. The cavalry is not coming. There is no exit. The ride never ends.