... And I Feel Fine
Fair warning: virtually no gaming related content to follow -
When I was young I convinced myself that I had fallen in love with a girl. This was not a good love, but the kind that one can only feel when expectation exceeds experience, and decisions must wander through a murky haze of hormonal influence on its way down from the cognitive centers of the brain. It was love based on my certainty that by will alone I could alter reality to fit my "plan", and when it became clear that the girl in question was playing her own reality to fit her own plans, and worse that she was better at it, it all crashed down and I lamented in wild and destructive ways. You see, until then, no one had ever had an overactive teenage crush that ended in catastrophe and betrayal. No one had presumed to love as I loved. Oh, I was the miserable figure of some greek tragedy upon whom the fickle gods had unloaded their great and terrible woe.
Of course, now I know that not only was I not the first, but that my all-too common tale was about as unique as a pair of Levis blue jeans, which is to say not at all.
We like to think, in general, that things have never been worse than they are right now. As a species, we are intensely pessimistic, obsessed not only with our own mortality but banking on a disquieting certainty that when we go down everyone else is going down with us. We seem to perversely enjoy thinking that we've gotten a raw deal, hand delivered on the short end of the stick; that all the generations before us enjoyed a quiet peace, and though times may have been tough, there was peace in that too. A perspective of which I'm certain that generations prior would take umbrage.
I wonder if part of the problem is our unique ability to invest ourselves in the misfortune of others that drives us to assume the whole sad show has got a brick tied to the accelerator as we pass the Bridge Out Ahead sign. I suppose not so long ago there was a time that, if death and destruction didn't befall your tiny particular corner of the world, then it might as well not exist. A time when a horrible and devastating event a few hundred miles away might as well have happened in an entirely alternate universe. Now, I can watch in affronted horror as sympathetic old ladies describe how shady contractors scammed them out of entire life savings from the comfort of my couch. I can enjoy great complex and compelling tales of death, murder, and violence while dipping Double-Stuff Oreos in frosty glasses of milk.
Judging by the increasing popularity of outlets that deal in sadness and betrayal there's a blossoming market for bad news. We can't get enough of it, and the worse it is, the better. Sex may sell, sure enough, but it really makes those Hot Pockets and Campbell Soups fly off the shelves when coupled with violence on the innocent, dirty dealers getting away with their crimes, and the science editor's clear description of how it will be when that three-mile asteroids plunges into the soft underbelly of East St. Louis.
Just like with drinking, all we need is a good excuse for conjuring an apocalypse. Sequential or repeated numbers in the calendar? That's an apocalypse. Lunar or solar eclipse? That's an apocalypse. Unusual birth or death of revered figure? Apocalypse. Law you don't like is passed? Definitely the apocalypse. Interesting stellar phenomenon? You better believe that's an apocalypse.
And, if I can't quite muster the gall to proclaim the great fall of all the infinite universe just because my odometer rolled 300,000, then you better believe that something else's structural integrity will be called into question. Bad news, which comes in a constant and unrelenting deluge if you look at enough pieces of information, always calls into question the fate of those associated. From the universe, to the Earth, to the atmosphere, to civilization as a whole, to individual countries, to the integrity of the family, to morality, to small business owners, to PC games, we seem never as happy as when we claim to be witnessing the end-times of something.
After all bad things have never happened to anyone before we came along, and if they did they sure didn't mean as much as they do now.
I suppose I could say something here about relaxing, taking it easy, not immersing yourself in quite so much negativity, and bad news. I could say something about worrying about the things which you can change, doing whatever good you can, and dealing with the bad when it comes as best you can. I could mention the old saying that there is nothing new under the sun, and that it applies as well to the bad as it does the good.
In short: Dear Humans,