Chapter 9. Avenue to Revenue
My Idea was simple, but one that carried with it great potential: "Let’s send out for pizza," I suggested. "That way we can lighten up the atmosphere, so to speak. We needed food for thought and for fuel to continue our journey. I thought it would be a veritable idea-provoking experience."
I was surprised that I didn’t have to explain to the alien what pizza was. He seemed to be fully aware of our customs, but admitted to me that he was interested more in the “whys” of our woes. He was generous, as well, and agreed to pay for the pizza.
“Thanks,” I told the whys-guy prince of sagacity. “It should be my treat, but I’m sorry to say that I’m on a very tight budget. Remember that my income is very limited – in fact, it has been zero for some time now, and I am burning up cash resources from better times.”
“Not at all, human”, was the alien’s reply. “You are really helping me out with my research, and I just happen to have a little money in a bank account just for the occasion.”
I didn’t know how such an ‘outsider’ could have a bank account that would enable him to pay for pizza, and was curious to know how our own banks would handle such an intergalactic money transaction. Could Western Union handle interstellar transmissions? Did they use string theory to transmit the cash by some colossally cosmological wire transfer?
Despite my own human curiosity, I decided not to pry into his personal and financial cosmopolitan political situation. I think it would have been all right for me to do so, since he had become rather effective at prying into my own affairs. Besides, he was probably getting paid for it with his own alien grant money. Perhaps paying for the pizza was drawn directly from an expense account for purposes as an investment in his investigation. If he had such an expense account, this was indeed proof positive that he was a stellar success at whatever job he held on his planet.
Apparently he could account for every dollar equivalent, being a creature who traveled across wormholes through an outer $pace-time continuum. And though I knew that time is money, I wasn’t sure money could be substituted for time, and if he had been using some $pace-money continuum of boundless resources as if he were the federal government. For if $pace is just an empty void, and time is money maybe $pace-time is all about voiding empty money.
I was pleased that the alien had given me the promise of food for thought, for my thoughts were starting to become delirious. Anyway, his momentary deliberations had given me time to digest his ideas. I reflected on the interesting epiphany I came to - that economic growth was so closely interwoven with good faith and trust. But this trust takes a very long time to build up, and can be torn down in an instant. It is rooted in our banking system in the most radical way, and is printed on our money, too. We know that it doesn’t say “In Gold We Trust”.
When all is said and told, and stocks are bought and sold, evening lights may be beaming, like twilights last gleaming, but all that does glitter is not gold.
While he was still busy deliberating, I remembered a limerick I wrote about space-time some years back:
· Travelers in time who go messin’,
· With time, get a history lesson
· With battles Teutonic
· And plagues so Bubonic,
· They’ll make $pace their next new obsession.
The alien then turned to me with what appeared to be a fresh approach. “I have to admit”, he started, “that the human applications of trust and finance are rather complex.” He then stopped to think some more, it seemed.
I couldn’t have agreed more with his most recent observation. The subject of bonds and money was indeed taxing, and the efforts to match theory with current application were no less challenging now than they were a while ago. I was beginning to have mixed feelings about leaving our solar system discussion, as the subject of our economic woes was getting downright depressing.
But although he could be petulant at times, I understood that that was the way he was, something of a cross between Mr. Spock and the Robot from lost in space. And despite his impudent attitude, I wanted to help my fellow creature-of-the-stars with his research. Besides, he seemed to be so patient with my own earthly demands. It seemed like we were successful at building up a mutual bond of trust in each other.
I liked to consider myself an enlightened conservative, holding true to the premise that people shouldn’t be judged or evaluated based on their skin color. Chromosomes may matter, but body color shouldn’t. Now that I met my first alien, I liked to think that applied in this case too, as it would have if I had ever met Mr. Spock. Even Vulcan chromosomes didn’t matter, as their planet apparently had different races, all with the same blood types of green ice-water
Lord, what fools these mortals be! What a piece of work is man! As logical as a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad. For all roses aren’t red, and no violets are ever blue; they’d smell just as sweet, whatever the hue; and by any other name and from any point of view; though thorns play a part of any rose-that’s true.
I had come to the conclusion that skin color should be essentially irrelevant in our day-to-day dealings with others, and therefore did not agree with an attorney general’s statement that we have become a nation of cowards in talking about race and color. The subject was unnecessary if you really and truly accepted the premise that skin color is irrelevant except in medical diagnoses. For except for a very small part of our DNA, we all have identical chromosome patters. I preferred to apply Dr. Martin Luther King’s wisdom so that I would judge the alien not by the capriciously changing color of his skin, but by the content of his character.
And this alien was a character, all right. He sounded like he was half polymath and half politician, something of a polymathematician. I was particularly amazed by his apparent lung capacity, which enabled him to speak volumes. His anatomy and physiology seemed to include a special reserve of an unearthly large volume of hot air, perfectly suited for any application of the type of filibuster rant he had so vehemently criticized a moment ago with the acrimonious passion that would have inspired even Demosthenes when that classic orator was composing one of his own philippic elocutions.
With all the hot air being espoused by today’s long-winded filibustering politicians, our descendants will no doubt be in need of an affordable-air act to care for our planet’s lack of breathable gaseous substance which otherwise would be produced by the many trees which have fallen silent in the forest with no one to hear but the highly impacted woodland creatures.
But what really impressed me was his obviously firm understanding of our economic woes. So much so, that at times I felt I couldn’t be of that much help to him. Nevertheless, I still wasn’t sure where his actual political sentiments lay. His true intent was still hidden from me; it seemed as obscure as Lincoln’s view of the Capitol Dome from his giant memorial chair facing the morning beams of light in the direction of the obelisks of Egypt.
Nevertheless, I was still somewhat suspicious of the alien’s true intentions. But was this suspicion justified? Did I have a right to assume he wants to invade just because I heard him say things that made him sound like a communist? Shouldn’t I be considering the basic premise on which our own justice system is based, that innocence is presumed until guilt is proven? The words “proof” and “innocence” should be as incompatible as “assume” and “guilt.” I was feeling somewhat guilty at my advanced suspicions for which I had not one iota of proof. Guilty as charged, with mitigating circumstances: I was only human.
Presumption of innocence is a hard quality to aspire to these days. In Hebrew, to be full and complete was to be a simple Tom unspoiled by experience. That fullness was one of faith and trust. It is expressed on all our currency: “In God We Trust” is an oft quoted maxim sounding as a quote by that impish pointy-eared green alien named Yoda from Star Wars: These words are minted on all our bills and coins down to the penny in the syntax style of that Jedi knight. The style reminded me of the Catcher in the Rye’s brilliant character Sunny, who would answer Holden Caulfield in the strangely unique expression “Like fun you are!” The style is not contagious, I can only hope. To speak like Yoda, I shall not want.
These days people assume guilt - until innocence is proven. People have become altogether cynical, as if they are taken part in a Shakespearian tragedy. Encouraged by the mainstream media, they we prefer to categorically accuse the politicians before checking the facts and the killing the lawyers before trying their specific cases, even if it’s the last thing they do. It’s an indictment of the “J’accuse!” genre that would have even had Émile Zola stand up and take notice, perhaps pointing a finger or two in a peaceful gesture of potent accusation. Unlike the regular people, politicians today are frequently presumed guilty and need to be proven innocent before they can continue their way. The proof of their innocence fills their gas tanks with the necessary octane until and unless they burn up the fuel before the next accusatory crisis.
The presumption of innocence, however, seems only fair and just. My problem is that my trust in humanity has eroded so much that I jump to presume guilt until innocence is proven. Could this burden of proof which has shifted to the innocent be an outgrowth of our lack of faith in our institutions? Has my own trust been dashed to pieces? Have my own disappointments and those of others torn down that trust? Should my faltering trust in humanity be extended to other intelligent beings from outside this world? I guess Hamlet was right: Conscience does make cowards of us all. We don’t trust, and resist trying out new ideas, and this affects creativity. We trust only in past successes, not future opportunity. We apply “copy and paste” solutions that worked in the past towards current problems. Tradition trumps innovation.
For those who believe in evolution: Doesn’t nature favor experimental mutations over long eons of time? Some of them may work, but the successful ones have had a profoundly positive influence on human development.
It had been several minutes since the alien ended his relatively brief filibuster. He then found his second wind, which somehow I knew it wouldn’t be his last: “The trust that had been built up in your financial institutions seems to have fallen as is what often happens to societies that have taken that trust for granted. It is a phenomenon we on Zatox have come to call the Big Bank Theory.”
Now THERE was an interesting expression that left an impression on me. I wondered if it referred to the notion that there’s no real way to convert political p-money to value v-money. Though ill-begotten booty can be laundered through clever banking gambits, usually that money is cleaned and pressed right into the reservoir of political p-money. The hard-working class of value adding people will never see even a penny of it, and are forced to contribute to it through taxes and other vile tactical means.
“Big Bank Theory?” I repeated with radiantly explosive internal laughter. If I could change color I would have, probably going green not like the smarter trees but rather like the paper currency. The only thing I really knew about banks was that tradition, discipline and rules must be the tools that rule finance.
“Yes. It is a theory that was built over the years in which some banks build up large amounts of trust and capital, but when there is a danger of their failing, the government steps in and bails them out because the banks are perceived as simply ‘too big to fail.’ This happened when your president from Yale came to your congress to present the case for a bail out of hundreds of billions of dollars. Your legislators at first did not support such a passing of the bucks, the big-bang for these bucks became unstoppable. Now your smaller community banks are in danger of becoming the next victim of what are known by your government as SIFIs, those larger systematically important financial institutions. Even your Dodd-Frank legislation hasn’t seemed to come to the rescue,”
I wasn’t sure who Don Frank was, but it seemed there was so much I didn’t know. The alien paused for a moment, seeming to allow me the time to digest his heavy dosage of toxic tonic. It made me wonder whether government officials who have access to true information about market trading and upcoming legislation that could affect certain stocks are able to avoid using that information to purchase advantageous positions in the public market. Do the Senate and Congress short-circuit information and front run stocks before their values climb? Could this insider trading be part of an exclusive investment-club where their salaries paid for by the taxpayer is used to capitalize on their own selfishly perceived opportunity? After all, senators earn one million dollars one six year term, not to mention golden-parachute type government pensions based on their bloated salaries. The irony is that there’s nothing in the Constitution that says our elected officials must earn salaries that are well above the average yearly wage for the hard-working people they are supposed to represent…
…and not to mention book sales from ghost writers, external engagements such as public speaking or teaching, many politicians make three separate six figure salaries. Those three sixes are the nature of the beast…
…and not to mention other perks and incentives they receive from wealthy donors. There are many other unmentionables. It seems there’s way too much that is never mentioned. Don’t ask the media. They’ll never tell, at least not the whole story. The fourth estate has split into two polarized fifth columns, manipulating the situation with the ambidextrous agility of a crow that relies on both the right wing and left wing when swooping down on its next prey. Any noisy murder of crows deafens the truth.
But those separate columns are holding up a house that seems at times fused together in the middle like Siamese twins. If this is indeed true, the dexterously sinister combo should be blamed together for the problems our country is having. The detachment from the people seems as separate as Olympus Mons on the planet Mars or in ancient Greece where the gods would stomp on the mortals on their own stomping grounds. For we mere mortals who are not wealthy enough to see the goings on up there on the summit can see the mountain top only from ground-level. We’re near-sighted and are all too often pre-occupied with trying to finish the month in our homes. It isn’t right to be left out in the cold.
The alien looked at me now, perhaps concerned that I was in thought-overdrive or in something of an interstate traffic jam and I would somehow either blow a gasket or a cellular peptide. But to his apparent relief, I smiled for a moment as I thought about that amusing remark attributed to a number of people including Mark Twain: ‘If pros and cons are opposite, is progress the opposite of congress?’ Sometimes it seems that the pubbies and cratties are attracted to each other, under the principle that opposites attract. It seems that they are together against the people. The pros and cons quote was indeed so relevant in today’s bipolar sociopathic congress, where the pros and cons reside. We needed another Haley’s Comet to bring back Samuel Clemens and redeposit him on this planet.
No profuse apologies for the profusely confused; just the profound thoughts of confounded voters, suspiciously preoccupied with insightful inciting by websites or an Orwellian telescreens for a politically sponsored two minutes of hate. No two minute warning before an expensive commercial break followed by hurried quarterback audibles can match the hasty and nasty crow caws of the winged media of either side.
Like the Communist party of the Soviet Union, the Cratties and Pubbies have simply gotten to be too strong, and their Tass-like news agencies have drowned out the news items that really interest people. One agency takes on its party’s country-club mentality, and the other acts like a groupie cult.
The Soviets spelled their TASS agency in the Cyrillic “TACC”, though they lacked the TACT to leave people’s private lives alone. Nevertheless, wouldn’t be ironic if our own groupies and clubbies news agencies behaved like TASS in the use surveillance cameras to hear what the public is really interested in, and what is really discussed at the water cooler before the people become annoyed and turned off. A truly free society offers alternatives for the people after they turn off the politically infested media. They then can and will look for other information super-highways.
Lesson from a November poultrygeist: Spring chickens who get too fat to fill their seat can easily become mistaken for turkeys in the fall. For true democracy is all about people electing to fill vacancies. And though nature abhors a vacuum, sometimes the voters prefer the vacuum to the tush that occupies the seat. They would say that vacuums don’t suck as much as their elected officials do.
After seeing that the neural intersection had cleared in my mind freeing up neuron traffic, the alien continued his politically salient point: “The bank-bailout of 2009 was a missed opportunity to clean up the financial system you are currently suffering. But instead of fixing the problem, the instigators have been rewarded with higher salaries and have retained their high-pay jobs. None of these executive bankers went to jail but instead seemed to find the mother lode, getting wealthier and wealthier, changing the notion of homemakers to home-takers and ultimately home-wreckers breaking up families and the institution of marriage. The actions of the bankers and politicians could have a disastrous effect on the faith and trust the people hold for government institutions and is detrimental to your society and ultimately your civilization.”
The alien touched on a sensitive topic. The bank bailout of 2009 was a controversial episode many called an escapade. Many of us were appalled by the consternation nation we had become and by the indignation nation we seemed to be turning into. It seemed that when Bush comes to shove, every elected official supported the cash-rescue idea even though we all knew that some of the cash flows back to the very same grubby and guilty hands of Wall Street investment gangster-like gang-bankers.
I don’t mean to be making cheap-shots or bank-shots at all bankers, just the senior executives as well as the corporate CEO’s, the donors to the political parties. These are the banksters who caused brokered and broke the middle class into poverty by creating the financial problems in the first place, and without whom no financial bail-out would have been necessary. They made a fortune causing the fortunes of America to decline. They do not deserve the money. They deserve to pay. There should be no bunkers for these bankers.
If so much money has left the country to the Cayman Islands, can’t the government print the money and recirculate it inside the borders? Or just destroy the money and make it disappear? With a smaller money supply, purchasing power increases for each dollar. It would make the rest of the money reserve, including the v-money people work so hard for, that much more valuable. Money was meant to be circulated, not stored. It is like blood and is less effective in an anemic body. It has value among the people, not in the Cayman Islands. Even if the government prints money and doles it out to the people, at least it will be circulated and the economy stimulated
. Much attention has been given to the bankers’ pretense we have come to known as “Too big to fail”. The fair lady Liza Doolittle would have called that premise “too big to file”, and she would have been close. Actually, the big guys do file tax returns but with all the money going into accounts overseas, there is no income coming in to the home base.
There’s a rather absurd double-standard about gambling and insurance companies. They are the second biggest gamblers of all. For many years we have had laws against gambling, yet besides the stock markets where billions are invested with little supervision, our insurance companies actually bet on whether you will live or not. Imagine going to a hospital with friends and betting with them on which patients will live through the week and which will die. Doesn’t that sound horrible? Yet, that’s what the insurance companies do. The only difference is the timing. Otherwise the insurance companies are engaged in exactly the same thing. They bet for your longevity with a life insurance policy, and wager against you by selling you an annuity.
The alien had been trying to drive home a point. But poetic license aside, I didn’t know how and where he had gotten his information. Perhaps he had researched it from the internet off my computer. He had proven himself to be an adept internet explorer. But now he sat down and closed his ocular appendages, and took an unexpected siesta. I would have considered this an impolite “turn-off” and may have been insulted by his disregard of my being in the room. He could have said “excuse me for a moment while I close my eyes for a few minutes; I need to recharge my battery cells”, but perhaps on his stoic and macabre avatar-like planet it was considered normal and no such pardon or excuse was necessary.
I admired his ability to connect the dots: All this talk about bank bailouts, Yale, financial failures, and predatory bankers who never went to jail - all combined to provide me material for a little melodic “ode to the mother lode”, a piece of licensed poetic justice of my own, which I just now thought up and then thought down. It rose and fell with a rhythm with the tone starting like a high like a sine curve at zenith, then crossing below zero into negative territory hitting a low point nadir perhaps signifying the unemployed situation I was in, then going back up crossing again zero on its way back to the zenith: “From Yale to fail to jail to bail…to Yale to fail to jail to bail…to Yale to fail to jail to bail…,” and so on and so forth, covering an area which Rod Serling might have described as lying between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.
The ode may have been just a meaningless little ditty of repetitive seasonal cycles, except that this coded ode turned out to be relevant for many people. It seemed to have relevance particularly for students who build up college debt while attending exorbitantly prestigious schools in the summer of their years, while being frightened of the possibility to fall from grace if they fail to get good grades and to succeed in the long run. Like the nervous student, society in general has the same fears of going down downward spiral to an infernal bottom, landing in a frigid wintry jail on a cold day in hell, languishing there until a bailout from a rich uncle enables a happy spring-like recovery back to positive territory where student and society are back at the ivy summer school again, susceptible to failure just like banks.
Though most of those bankers who caused the failure get to bypass jail, having jail-broken the rules of the monopoly game, they are like Mr. Moneybags above the rules, reaping the cash benefits of what they probably feel is “just” rewards taken for granted from the dealing and doling federal government. Banks used to be held up by robbers; now the big ones are held up by the government. All we the people get is a big bank out of it, and a tax bill to match. We got one heck of a big bank for our past, passed bucks, not stopping here or there for anyone; not for Truman and not for Carter.
Financial infractions of trust are especially potent. The transgressions breaches of trust don’t stop there, with just the malfeasance. They have a long-term multiplier effect on society, causing future generations to presume suspicion ahead of time. Trust takes many years to build up, and can be knocked down in only an instant.
Like a skyscraper. Like all our structures of faith and trust. Like our society in which people who might have once carried innocent pocket knives on planes are presumed guilty, or at least considered suspected terrorists. The suspicion and cynical nature of the free people everywhere who remember what the 9-11 terror has brought on our society is the long term iniquity which I feel the perpetrators should spend some part of eternity understanding, experiencing the same earthly horror and sadness we do for every terrorist act which kills innocent people in this realm.
Instead of tending to impending terrorist threats on a day to day basis, and instead of working daily on tracking terrorist threats and following terrorist plots, the government seems to be waiting for a dramatic crisis like another 9-11 while claiming that nothing can be done to prevent such attacks. There seems to be an attitude of que sera sera, while the government waits for the next high-profile tragedy. Not only has our intelligence community failed us in preventing the horrors of planes being aimed at buildings, it seems complacent on a day to day basis and is ready to accept terrorism as an on-going reality. Unfortunately for the people, a government’s being complacent about dealing with terrorism is only one step away from becoming compliant with the terrorists. Having joined forces with compliant partners in our government, it seems to be winning the struggle while our government has raised its hands in surrender to the inevitabilities of more terrorist tragedies whether they come in form of planes or other types of missiles or anything to disrupt and terrorize the people of no consequence.
The paradise lost to our people in the breakdown of faith and trust, is rebuilt only with extensive amounts of time and space. Both of these heel all wounds, but at a cost to the civilized world bringing a decent society such as ours to a descent, falling to its knees, suspicious now of everything from powder to nail-clippers.
I don’t remember Gorbachev ever saying to the president: “Mr. Reagan, tear down this Wall Street.” Nevertheless, investment bankers may not are not terrorists, but the terror they put into the hearts of men, the scare they place in decent people who become afraid of losing their homes because their money flowed into the hands of a few Wall Street cronies, puts them in the same category as the terrorists. The suspicion that the other guy is a crook is also a deprivation of innocence, a long term cynical injury to faith and trust. It makes for a rather lavish necktie party where the suits are pressed and the SEC regulators are uninvited.
The bank bailouts are a special case because they involved government compliance with the banking industry, supported by both Cratties and Pubbies. This had surprised me at the time because I had simplified their differences, distinguishing the former from the latter, with the former group feeling that government should protect the people from themselves; and the latter insisting that people should have that right of protection on their own by virtue of the second amendment. The politics of greed were again making strange bedfellows; that was not just a lot of bunk.
But I suppose you can’t simplify peoples’ preferences any more than you can classify alcoholic preferences based on nationality. People from East-Orthodox counties don’t always prefer vodka; Citizens and denizens from nations with a Papal influence do not necessarily prefer wine; individuals who are of a Protestant persuasion don’t always choose beer as their alcoholic beverage; and creatures from the dark lagoon like this alien like this oft-times conceited popinjay aren’t necessarily teetotalers who participate in four-o’clock tea party rituals simply because they speak their English with two lumps of sugar.
By now the alien had been at rest for a couple of minutes, recovering from the barrage of words that came out of that weird-looking ATM device he probably called his mouth. Since he had been quiet for that brief period, it seemed like an opportune time to ask the questions.
Now it was my turn to interrogate the inquisitor. I had already been asking too many rhetorical questions of myself and it seemed a suitable time to turn the tables: “Given the possibility to fund projects by bonds or by revenue, are you saying the government should use the gathering of taxes to pay for projects rather than to issue bonds?”
“If taxes are how you get your revenue, then it would make sense to me, unless you don’t mind the fact your national debt is growing by the minute in a very drastic way, without knowing where the bond revenue money went. This is what is dangerous to your children’s financial future.”
“But raising taxes…I hate that. And so does everyone else - when they have income, that is.”
“I did not say your government should raise tax rates, human,” he responded, sounding like a Jovian jackanapes in the same conceited popinjay tone I had already gotten used to I was talking about raising tax revenue. This distinction is so basic and simple that I am surprised you humans had not thought of it first. Simply enable people to start working again. Invest in them. The government can do this with the money it has already placed in trust in exchange for the sale of debt securities such as bonds. Then you will have more people working and paying taxes. The more people that pay taxes, the lower the tax rates need to be. Everyone who works would be contributing to the internal revenue.”
I was he didn’t conclude with “Elementary, my dear flotsam”. The alien’s Sherlock-Homes type of deduction notion did seem obvious to this outsider. But who was the outsider now? The alien or I? To me, the alien’s thesis sounded a bit alien, not of this word. All I could do was respond to his idea with a little misplaced sarcasm: “What? Put more people to work?” I asked this sarcastically as if it were a novel idea no one had ever thought of.
“Exactly,” He said, very seriously now, perhaps naively unaware of my ironic stance.
“We have been monitoring your job advertisements and it seems like there are so many openings out there. All you need to do is have your government invest in its people through effective education then get people to fill these positions. With the money they make they will be paying taxes to your government. And, since more people will be working, you can even lower your tax rates. I should think that this idea is so simple.”
“Actually, it’s very simple.” Too simple, in fact. I am wondering why I didn’t think of it. Maybe because I have been spending too much time responding to job announcements.
“Yes, that is right; we have already discussed that.” he said, appearing somewhat apologetic that he might have touched a nerve. He had no idea about how complicated it was to understand our tax code. This patchwork of schedules, deductions, exceptions and exclusions, had proven itself to be more layered and complicated than anything dreamt up by some of the most Diablo-detailed diabolical creative charlatan geniuses of our time.
In short, taxes can be taxing on patience, and can turn healthy persons to patients. It could be said that our tax code is more difficult to understand than the Da Vinci code and more complex than the genetic codes of the humans who file those taxes.
The alien then popped me back into my real dream world of reality, he said. “Let me know if I can be of any help. But if there are so many job announcements out there, and so many opportunities, would it not be helpful to have a matchmaking service for job seekers and potential employers? The overall amount of money earned by your people would increase, and that would make your internal revenue increase as well. Then you would not have to sell so many bonds, and your debt situation wouldn’t get any worse.”
I was admittedly intrigued. Did the alien have some solution to the unemployment problem which has plagued our people and has preoccupied so many of us for so long? “What sort of matchmaking service are you talking about?” I asked him with great interest. “Who would run it?”
As if prepared for my question, his answer flowed quickly but coherently: “I suppose it could be run by a non-profit organisation that would stand to gain the most by seeing that such a system is effective: Your own government. It could fund the project from the extra cash it has on hand from treasury bonds. In this way the ‘people reserve’ works to enhance the riches of the Federal Reserve and its banks, which in turn pay back the treasury from taxes raised. At the same time, value is added to your society from the work performed by the people, for the people.”
Our own government? The same government recognized by the person on the dollar, as a dangerous servant and fearful master? Could our government, at times a master of political guises, at others the webmaster of disguises whose signature healthcare enrollment software was out of site? Could such an institution be effective at funding a useful project from extra cash? I wasn’t impressed by the alien’s proposal because it seemed too much like science fiction. I would sooner believe in extraterrestrial visitors from the other side of the Milky Way galaxy.
My sentiments were probably symptomatic of a pervading cynicism in our society which had grabbed hold of me. They should perhaps be taken in that context. I was vehemently against our government being a nanny state, although I did favor continuing our war against drug possession. My reasoning was simple: Anything that can adversely affect judgment of people deployed in tactical operations such as driving a car or a tank or a plane on a runway should have impositions imposed on them. And I don’t mean just taxes. Some drugs weaken our ability to fight our sworn enemies, and it seems that these mind-numbing substances cause serious addictions that threaten our social safety. Or other mind-numbing addictions, like alcohol, marijuana, gambling, or Facebook. That’s why I have always seen them as our enemy’s best friend.
Though I still wasn’t convinced that my alien friend was such an enemy, I asked him what many of us would probably have asked: “Why would our federal government want to get involved in such a matchmaking effort?”
“Do not governments have a duty to see to it that all qualified and capable people have a reasonable source of income? And do not they have a duty to pay off its debts including the interest on government bonds?”
“I don’t really know,” I replied respectfully. “It is possible that some of our elected officials do feel it has that duty. That’s why they have undertaken an effort to set up all those agencies, offices, and one-stop centers that are supposed to connect us, the unemployed, with employment. They do have classes and seminars, teach us to write resumes, and discuss job seeking tactics and interviewing techniques.”
“But have these efforts really and truly worked?” he asked, wanting to probe our own solutions for effectiveness. “If they have been successful, why are there are still so many unemployed people out there?”
“I don’t really know. Our officials may think it the one-stop centers have succeeded in their mission. But as you say, if these really worked, why would there be so many millions unemployed for such a long time? Could we be blamed for not trying? Not listening?”
The alien wrinkled another facial appendage I couldn’t begin to describe, and then concluded: “There needs to be a system by which qualified and talented job seekers such as yourself become employed directly by the employers who are seeking your talents.”
“I don’t know why there isn’t,” I said, solemnly. There’s so much I really don’t know, but I would like to get even a general idea. Maybe our elected officials feel that we can’t handle the truth. I am gratified that my alien friend has demonstrated that the truth is out there. Maybe no one is monitoring the system to see that it works. Maybe the key word in all this is ‘interest’. Maybe the government is not really interested in seeing that people are working. As I have thought many times, that’s probably why both interest rates and government interest in developing valued wage-earners are each at an all-time low. No one in government seems to be taking an interest in the creative talents of the people who comprise the citizenry and residents of the nation. All they are doing is setting up these one-stop centers which only nominally solve the problem, and occupy the time of the people in a job search which lasts months – and sometimes years. But in actuality the unemployment problems remain.”
The alien was obviously thinking things over. I could see his ocular appendages move from side to side as if he were coming up with a fresh idea. “If your government is so concerned with its national debt and your people are so interested in lowering taxes, maybe everyone would be satisfied if it was decided that your elected officials did their representative work while setting an example for the long term unemployed by working on a volunteer basis. That would be a real win-win. The government would save money, the people would pay lower taxes, and the elected officials would be free to govern to their hearts’ content. That is, if they still have a heart left over.”
Surprisingly or not, this idea – that elected politicians not earn a salary and perhaps not even a pension – appealed to me very much. Perhaps it would serve as a ‘follow me’ example of leadership at a time when so many of US citizens and residents are under pressure to cut back on our vital expenses. They seem so cut off from the people, having as much in common as the lunar path of the Beltway and the people who reside within that loop. They are as connected to reality as the Long Island Expressway is to New York City. They have as much in common with the common people as I-495 interstates near New York, Boston, and Washington DC, and their orbital trajectories have shown themselves to be quite adept at avoiding or circumventing the centers of cosmopolitan mass.
It all goes back to the struggle between manager awareness and employee focus. If the cynical Greek philosopher Diogenes were to have the most powerful light with unbelievably stoic beams to be able to actually find an honest politician, even then he would find that there is a certain level of awareness that even an honest politician must retain in order to not become detached from the people. Too much focus on detail can detract from that awareness.
Understanding opposing forces is crucial sometimes, in order to understand polar opposites like “give” and “take”, or “up” vs. “down”. For as the French learned before and during World War II, those who do not “take down” a dangerous enemy on the rise may be forced to “give up” their freedom after they fall. Thus for every inaction there is an equal and opposite re-inaction even if the consequence of initial inaction is difficult to predict.
Powered by severe discouragement at my unsuccessful job search, fired up by a sense of unrequited creativity, I took the pro-con remark a step further, taking my frustrations out on our government, our legislative branch in particular. Why do so many elected officials of well-repute engage in shady deals, pork legislation, and campaign finance abuse, just as if they were in a house that could be called the opposite of Constitution? I understand why they are not always on the level with the people, so why are they situated in an ivory tower high up “on the hill?” Perhaps they should check out the pits and the trenches where we the people are located.
Or better still, they could start walking the streets, or in someplace more suitable for the electioneering and campaign finance activities of their campaigns and their wealthy fundraisers. With all those expensive dinners, including slights of hand using handshakes, gestures, and checkbooks, one would think there would be a lot of hand-washing, if not some other kind of laundering between every uncorking of the bottles of Chateau Jean-Qeaux.
But even after they have discharged their money in political investments and wash their hands before each lavish dinner, the donating shakers, makers, and takers still remain filthy rich until they launder the remaining loot through further political campaign investments. It’s all constitutional, anyway. The Supreme Court ruled in a key “Citizens United” that unlimited corporate campaign contributions are constitutional, in an interpretation ruling that today appears to have become a turning point in political corruption. Perhaps the filthy rich should use their hands in other ways, or consider pounding the pavement like street walkers in a place of business. Members of Congress can only progress once the main street they walk is Constitution Avenue, and not its opposite.
In the spirit of true confessions and false professions, as well as false confessions and true professions, perhaps that avenue should be aptly renamed so that it is more aligned with the opposite of Constitution. Between pork projects and porn prospects, maybe they could look in the mirror and see the truth. Would the reflection be seeing a lie? Was the gentle congressperson the pro and the mirrored reflection the con, or was it the other way around? These days the media profess to report accurately but instead seem to confound and confuse the public in their conflicting reports that economy added hundreds of thousands of jobs the previous month, while profusely avoiding the truly profound details of the types of low-wage jobs that were actually added.
Maybe I’m just a bit jealous. After all, politicians and members of the media have jobs and I don’t. But I wish they would do their jobs accurately and intensely. Instead, some of them are like rock-stars rubbing elbows with the celebrated celebrities at a time when our funny-bones are not laughing. I sometimes wish they could feel what it was like to be in our position, that of the unemployed. Perhaps our celebrated elected officials should really be serving their constituents without being paid. That royal edict would affect not only the royal class of presidents and senators, but also members of King-Congress and all the other cunning princes of wiles who do not add value to society. I was beginning to think outside the ballot box, or perhaps outside the sphere of influence of the earth’s solar system. Such an idea of our leaders’ volunteering their time altruistically was totally alien to my species.
I guess it’s not just the politicians; it’s the estates of mind that caste us in our social roles and pose wise questions, asking about the “whys” to the woes of our realms. The fourth estate would probably ask: “Why don’t you go out and bite a dog or fill in for a machine?” We the people of the third estate of the realm are asking, “Why can’t we bite through the barriers, even those of us without teeth and who have no more gold fillings to fill in for machines?” The nobility of the second estate would ask “Why are the people always revolting?” Finally, the clergy of the first estate would simply quote, “Why do the heathen rage?”
If I had $100,000 to invest, I would consider investing in a political contribution. As part of the payback, I would ask and try to gain information about legislations that would affect certain sectors of the market and certain companies that stand to benefit. A better financial advisor you probably couldn’t find. By investing in a politician with access to information, the investment in the politician could pay off very nicely. The only problem is that so many other people of wealth have already figured this out and are investing not $100,000 but rather millions of dollars, and there are many such p-money runners in this marathon.
One way to fight the corruption of campaign finance is for society to build immunity to campaign ads, the ones that try to convince voters to vote a certain way because the opponent is evil. Campaign ads should not refer to the opponent, but to the alternative votes and why the specific candidate is better. Too bad there’s no campaign to make people aware of this.
Sometimes it seems that campaign ads are as phony as a three dollar bill, but as expensive as a billion dollar pork bill. The spurious behavior seems as obvious as stage directions on TV. Like when a phony phone rings or the doorbell sounds on the set, one and only one of the players on stage calls “I’ll get it”. Or when the actors turn off the TV when they finish watching something they find important. Or when confounded characters show their confusion by looking at each other in bewilderment. Nobody really behaves like this in real life. Life, it seems, is altogether different from its presentation and its representation. It’s a great irony that it was the celebrated playwrights Gilbert & Sullivan who pointed out that “Things are seldom as they seem
Life is also different from the sets they make for the programs. City streets tend not to intersect with others at obtuse angles. Most of the time in real life the intersections are at right angles. And in apartment buildings, it is very hard in real life to find an apartment whose hallway is right next to a window. I guess all the world really is a stage, and Hollywood actors seem to comprise the most memorable politicians.
For the media that are paid for campaign advertising, money is like music, in its rhythm and flow, in its ebb and tide. Whenever we hear about estimations of large earmarks of money to be appropriated by congress, the media quote the amount as being something to the “tune” of, for example, ten billion dollars. What happens when the music dies? Will we be singing bye-bye to the pie? Or taking to the limerick again:
· Congressional public relations
· Tend to exceed expectations
o Despite bad perceptions
o And lavish receptions
· They’d prefer to take more vacations.
And why is it so important for our government to retain its status of having good faith and trust while its own citizens have lost that faith and trust? What does it matter to the people if its government doesn’t have that luxury? What would be so bad about not having them? At least there would be no more debt and we could get started again, this time funding projects with internal revenue rather than government bond sales. And where is the reserve of cash on hand after having been collected in exchange for the debt issue we gave out in the form of treasury bonds? Was it diverted to the Executive, Judicial, or Legislative Branches? We the people should know. It only stands to treason.
I was admittedly stumped, and sat on an adjacent couch, quiet and pensive, feckless and frustrated, all alone in space and time after having bonded with a creature whose only desire in the universe was to make sense of the situation on one of its most vibrant worlds.
The alien seemed to read my mind on the subject like an open book of business. “Faith and trust are very important to you, human. I am curious to hear your opinion why you feel they are important for your country. They certainly are not helping you find a job.”
“Because without it,” I replied automatically, “we can’t be trusted as a country. And if the country can’t be trusted because it finds it can’t pay its debts, wouldn’t that lead to suspicion among its constituents and put us in a state of doubt as to our potential? Wouldn’t such a default show a defeatist attitude?”
I knew that the true “mea culpa” of such a national default would not be that of the generation that eventually defaults, but rather the one tht generated both the insurmountable debt and the descendants on whom that debt was imposed. Unfortunately, something had gone wrong somewhere between the credit floor and the debt ceiling. Even if there is no money left over to pay the debt, our shamed children would be forced to pay in a loss of faith and trust, as well as in a heritage of broken promises. For “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be question,” says the 14th amendment.
Nevertheless, the validity of the debt isn’t called into question here, just the sanity of the reckless generation that generated it. Instead, other questions should be posed by our progeny who would in their rights to know what happened to all the money that was borrowed in selfishly lavish acts justified at the time by some political excuse of indig-national interest. Faith and trust will have to die for these sins so that the millennial generation can live. It’s another story of Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate. The nostra culpa of the boomers, the true deadbeats dead and beaten by greed, would be rightfully left as indigent gents in a potter’s field without means to procure even the simplest of shovels. No money left over to pay debts both public and private, whether credible or incredible. No tender solutions for ourselves and our posterity to ordain and establish even a modest headstone memorial deserving of preserving.
“As a people,” I continued feeling rather eloquent, “we humans have always taken pride in our achievements. We watched the how the Apollo 11 Lunar Module landed on the moon, and the astronauts walk on its surface. Our destiny was manifest from sea to shining sea and on to the Sea of Tranquility.
It has been a long time since I had heard the term “space age”. It seems that the only space we know of today is that between our ears. Once upon a time we believed that we would be reaching a new light era and an end of the dark ages, but instead, matter has gotten an adversary in antimatter. The opposing forces are like hirings followed by layoffs, in that every positive action has a consequential nemesis reaction to ensure a zero-sum game. These days, it also seems like gigantic black holes have engulfed the light. Even the subways are in a hole.
I then thought to myself that the site of the first manned moon landing was one of the first places in modern times to have an American flag with no post office access. Maybe we thought that by placing a flag on the moon that a post office would be going up there someday, with zip code and all. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor airless gloom of an on-going night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, even on lunar grounds. Now THAT would be true manifest destiny, or at the very least: Eminent domain.
We all dreamed back then that more such colonies would follow. We took pride in that achievement, never thinking that the post office would be giving out federal pink slips to its loyal employees. Getting the slip from the federal government would cause anyone to go postal, or perhaps find jobs moonlighting as persons who deliver official pension termination letters.
“Anyway, we all watched with much hope and promise for the future, with the faith and trust of manifest destiny that eventually the humans would be engaged not in an arms race, but rather towards the stars, beginning with our next small step beyond to the moon.”
It then occurred to me that the building of faith & trust begins with one small step, then another, then another, eventually leading to a series of such small steps of trust, then in giant leaps of faith for mankind. Despite divisions of church and state, we trusted in both God and eagle like on a quarter dollar. Our trust in government was once high in the sky. While we remembered one ominous bird of yore from Baltimore saying “nevermore”, another flying entity named “Eagle” had landed at Tranquility’s cratered seashore. We were in love with ourselves and not the least bit misanthrope; to paraphrase Charles Schultz, we loved mankind – it’s people we couldn’t always stand.
From the Bomber generation of World War II often called the ‘greatest generation’ came the baby boomers. I guess it’s ‘ashes to ashes to ashes, bomb to boom to bust. Economically, it is all too often ‘cashes to crashes, boom and bust, doom and dust.’ My recurring dream of waking and falling made me, as an obsolete dust-buster think in terms of ‘womb to tomb’. Like the Yale cycle and like my recurring dream, it’s an ongoing process of going from dust to lust to bust then back to dust that summarizes a full life-cycle.
I addressed the alien again, as he seemed genuinely engaged in what I was saying: “We even had a movie called 2001-A Space Odyssey which envisioned a society where technical advancements were the norm of the future.”
We were proud of what we achieved. We took pride in the achievements built up over time. But in that pride we often forget the enterprise that was built with brick and mortar of faith and trust. A firm house needs to be a bastion of faith in the beams and building material, in the engineering and construction. There must be trust in favorable statistical models which make collapse next to impossible. That trust extends to a faith in God - that a flood or fire or sinkhole won’t destroy it.
From horseless carriages to drone-like driverless cars, automation seems to have accelerated at an alarming rate, outpacing all the competitive runners of the human race with all its creative spirit to invent novel ideas.
We had become too proud of our achievements, like a pride of lions we felt we needed a lion’s share of greatness and that we could rest on our laurels forever. But at one point we completed our feast and finished resting. There was more to do. But we stopped there.
Or maybe there comes a time when we reach an understanding that some achievements cannot be improved upon. You can’t keep building up the tower higher and higher without taking on a certain risk that the structure will fall. Every child who has ever played with blocks realizes this. It is a human epiphany that every person must eventually discover in one way or another. The easiest thing to do when building a structure with bricks is to start on the floor with the foundation. As each brick is added, there is a new realization that the placement of the previous blocks is critical in order to provide for stability of the structure in later stages. And as each block is added to the structure, the more precarious it is to maintain that structure. There are also concerns that other elements, such as jealous children “friends” will topple the building. Once that vulnerability is removed in some way with threats or adult supervision, the concern remains that the structure holds its own under the newly added material. Every child learns that the higher the building, the more vulnerable it is. Working from the bottom, ground zero is much easier to develop than trying to enhance the top.
Somehow, we need to figure out a way to cement the parts together without hampering flexible development. It’s the same old struggle between tradition and innovation. To build technology better, not higher, is to rely more on innovation, while connecting the new parts to previous levels. It’s also like lessons of history which should be used in order not to repeat the same mistakes. The wheels of fortune have already been created; one doesn’t need to create them again. The challenge is for society to seek its fortune by utilizing previous innovations rather than throwing them out.
Trust in social structures is just like technological development. Both consist of building-block structures like those we constructed as children. The closer down-to-earth the structure is situated, the less vulnerable we are to environmental threats or breaches of trust. But both technology and trust must be built brick by brick, block by block, story by story, over time. Every success-story at one level paves the way for building another story above, but that story will have some additional vulnerability built in. Trust is like that. Once a story is damaged, once a block is dislodged, the danger of collapse – both physical and social, becomes more likely.
I guess that illustrates how pride is so very different from trust. In a way it is a polar opposite. It may be the ingredient required turn a house into a more than a home and can be decorated fancied and made to look nice to the neighbors in a keeping-up-with the Jones lifestyle. But as the three little pigs showed in the childhood story, the pride in a house of straw or bricks is insufficient to prevent destruction. Trust in the bricks and mortar of faith and trust can keep the wolf’s threats at bay. Why would anyone feel secure in a house built with pride alone? Without firm belief in the construction process and in the beams and girders that hold up the structure, there can be no faith that the house will stand.
“Yes, but back then the year 2001 symbolized your future in which you go further out into space. The venture is similar to the building of your tallest edifices such as the Twin Towers in Manhattan, and your society was much like Nimrod’s when he decided to build a Tower of Babel to scrape the sky, one which would be the envy of the world.”
I remember reading about that ancient international venture which resulted in an allegorical incident of world-wide proportions, causing people to begin to speak in a code stranger than that of Hammurabi. The world is still babbling today just like the brooks and rivers of Babylon between the Tigris and Euphrates, two of the four superfluous rivers of Eden said to be near Nebuchadnezzar’s own wondrous Hanging Gardens. But of all the Mesopotamians throughout history from Hammurabi to Saddam Hussein, we humans today mostly resemble the Biblical character Nimrod: We still don’t understand each other’s Babylonian babble, each of us sounding like we are fluent only in the Jabberwocky jargon, where the mome’s wraths outgrabe in the slithy toves.
As if to read my limited mind to a limited extent, the alien then reconsidered some luny lunar ideas. “Just look at your moon if you want short answers,” he said. “It does more than generate both ebb and flow of tides; it does more than enable you to mark your calendars with measurable mercy that seasons justice. It regulates the earth’s spin and therefore the changing seasons in much the same way your umpires ensure fair play, like the SEC and the other regulators claim to be doing.”
I now wished he hadn’t mentioned the moon, as my mind’s eye was being hit by the pizza pie idea I had earlier. I tried to forget about my hunger for a moment, considering that familiar lunar satellite. I looked forward to the pizza. I liked my pizza as and hot, unlike my beer.
Nevertheless, the alien continued: “For although your moon is bonded to your earth and never leaves its side, faithfully running circles around it like a dog would dance around its returning master, it actually travels more than twice the distance around your sun than our own planet does. The suspicious people among you would probably comment that your moon never fully trusts its master planet, always watching but never turning its backside on the Earth. Like each person’s reflection in a mirror that never turns its back. Not because of its verecund shy nature, unwilling to “moon” us with its backside derriere; it just wants to keep an eye on you – the one left over on the left side after one of our silent ships managed to poke out the right one in George Melies’ silent movie revolution classic of over a century ago, ‘A Trip to the Moon’.”
I didn’t know what revolution he was talking about. It made me think of the Beatles’ “Revolution Number Nine”, whose very words when played backwards seemed like a mirror image of a voice saying “Turn me on dead man.” I didn’t know what trip to the mean he meant either, and whether or not it was on gossamer wings. I was still trying to figure out what the alien was referring to as I was admittedly a moonstruck mooncalf at times. If I said I understood, I would be bearing false witness against myself.
I had always been aware of the influence our lunar satellite has had on the development of human civilization. From the cradle and onward, the moon has provided this civilization a fertile crescent of imagination. It beckoned us as it did the fishermen three, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod sailing on a river of crystal light in a wooden shoe, “Where are you going, and what do you wish?” Since our childhood, we continue to sing some old sweet song on moonlight bay.
The alien surprised me in his knowledge about our natural satellite and how it is kept in bondage by our planet together with human space junk, looping around the Earth a dozen times a year while never impolitely turning its back on us. Maybe the moon just didn’t trust us. It kept its dignity, too, never having mooned us with its backside and only flashing us when its reflecting beams had no choice.
The alien also seemed to know all about our moody moon satellite as our emotional attachment to it. If he hadn’t been so knowledgeable about our lunar interloping inter-looper, I would have declared him looney tunes in alien pantaloons.
I was very aware of our moon folklore, being an avid fan of werewolf movies. I wondered if the alien had heard King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” with its allegro pace or Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” in the andante mode. The first time I had ever heard that sonata was in the Broadway hit “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” in the late 1960’s, which was around the time of Apollo 10, whose lunar module was named “Snoopy” and command module was named “Charlie Brown,” characters created by that same Charles Schultz, whose quote about loving mankind still intrigued me.
In the meantime I started thinking about the song “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore,” and it made me think about the urgency to order the pizza already. But like our typical sunbeams directed away from the earth, whether they are moonstruck or still propagating, I suppose I was just trying to get ahead of myself.
Perhaps it was just coincidence that the Charlie Brown play and the musical “Hair” were first presented of the late 1960’s, at about the same time the movie “2001” was first released and shown in theaters. Back then we looked forward to the day when the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, as it seemed that peace would be guiding the planets and love would steer the stars with soft skies and no lies in a sea of tranquility with harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding with the backing of the good faith and credit of the United States of America. The scientists and engineers of Apollo 13 performed a miraculous recovery in saving the dawning of Aquarius at a time when the space (craft) Odyssey was in trouble and the mission’s astronauts in mortal danger. We were enchanted by science, but today look upon the space adventure as merely a moon phase we were going through, something of our childhood’s end of the beginning. I only hope it wasn’t the beginning of the end.
No one was talking about nerds or geeks back then, because practically everyone WAS a nerd. People wore their hair short, went to baseball games dressed formally, and paid their taxes without creative excuses. One only need look at how the scientists and engineers dressed at Mission Control. Things seemed measured, proper, decent. Such square nerdy ways could have been the ticket to the moon. The geeks and nerds may have saved the world from the dangers of the cold war.
The 1960’s were similar, but a bit more fancy and daring. The decade was a time of middle class strength. It began with the introduction of the Flintstones, a cartoon sitcom set against middle class growth and prosperity, particularly among blue collar labor. When I was a kid I wrote a little ditty to the Klezmer-style music of “If I Were a Rich Man”, a sort of ode to dreaming about being wealthy:
One thing I knew. I wouldn’t make any money selling shoes to the people of Bedrock. Vitamins maybe. But not shoes or socks.
The 50’s and 60’s were indeed a period of national growth, where nerds ruled but were not ridiculed. There was a straight and square nobility of structure. Home movies were the big family past-time then. People were much more social, attending religious services, and staying close to their community. Back then, TV characters who played the defense attorneys such as Perry Mason were heroes because they defended the accused downtrodden.
Today, the prosecutors are the heroes, like on Law & Order. How did we begin to side with the accusers? Do we consider people guilty until proven innocent? Besides politicians and other people who strive for power, why should we presume guilt and dishonesty?
As I have thought many times before, the separation break between pride and trust probably began with the first Kennedy assassination, continuing with the schism between the public and politicians continued with conspiracy theories resulting from the mistrusted Warren Commission, then the Vietnam War, the second Kennedy assassination, the Watergate scandal, and a series of other happenings that showed how unaware people could be about their government’s doings and the propaganda from politicians which has gone even further these days to affect and infect the performance of the news media.
Back in the future present, the alien looked at his data for a moment, and this gave me an opportunity to think of something to say just to keep up. All I could think was how the word “moon” became a verb and how that perhaps symbolized the human race’s inadvertently showing its best side to all the elements. In an attempt to provide some sort of consolation for the halting of our small steps towards that giant leap for mankind, and our fall from grace like descendants of the Nephilim, we found ourselves off course and out of bounds of the field of play, and like a cancer-moon bounded to the earth we would regard our own declination in light of the astrological fortunes of time with this ready-made excuse for that very descent from the heavens: “It isn’t just about the destination, it’s about the journey.” I said this to the alien in a lighthearted manner not expecting him to respond so quickly.
“That may be true, human,” the alien acknowledged, making what could be called “eye-contact” with his expressive and extensive cylindrical ocular protrusions. “But you have halted that journey. Though you are to be congratulated on the achievement of the Hubble telescope and the Cassini probes which enables you to actually see the radiation of the beams without the need to actually go there if you even could travel back in time, the propagation of ideas is not just about the journey. It is about the impact they make on those who are receptive to them.”
I wasn’t sure what bright idea he was presenting. Was there no value in the propagation of propaganda that raises our spirits? Nevertheless, despite his data receptors the alien certainly didn’t seem to be receptive to my own hunger pangs. I was still waiting for the pizza delivery person to make the journey today and not yesterday, even though I didn’t eat pizza yesterday. If the pizza I ordered now had indeed been delivered yesterday, then I would have to make a point to praise their delivery service as being more than punctual.
Back to the point, the alien continued, his own reflections unabated: “It is no different from ideas and dreams. The journey of photon energy of propagating light beams is meaningless until the light beams reach an object that can absorb and reflect them back outward like a moon-bounce. When the earth rises in the west at twilight time, gradually blocking the sunlight until night-fall, your own sunbeams become undetectable in the night sky. That is, until they strike an object such as your moon enabling its visibility on a clear night for all to see. That is, nocturnal visibility of your satellite is the lunar surface is available for all who are positioned on the earth’s surface as long as the moon is not itself being hidden by the same earth on which you stand. Unlike the major light-disk you call your sun, your spherical minor light-disk lunar satellite does indeed rise in your eastern sky, and together with the earth’s own rotation the moon comes over the horizon always from that direction, seeming to your romantics at times to either to be chasing the escaping solar disk at dusk or being chased by the its approach at dawn.”
But like the days from July until December, my attention span was getting shorter. It had been like the moon, but less in the waxing mode and more in the waning, wanting now more than ever for the pizza delivery guy to get here.
The alien was waning and waxing poetic, effectively explaining why Moonday – Monday - always follows Sunday. It made me think about how Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stop moving in the sky. The moon went still over the Ayalon, which today is associated with the road that leads travelers out of Jerusalem towards Tel-Aviv. The flow of the river coincides with the heavy traffic that brings a steady flow of tears that could replenish both the banks and rivers of Babylon.
But I did understand on a deeper level his enlightening explanations, although these had become at times perhaps a bit too bogged down with the mechanical motions of lunar orbit. His essential message, though, was as clear as day: Without a target in the night sky such as the moon, sunbeams hidden from our view at night do nothing but propagate energy on their journey. Without a heavenly object to absorb the light, the journey of the beams is of no perceptive use to us.
At that point I remembered a comic strip called Hi and Lois which had a baby named Trixie that used to talk to sunbeams coming into the house. It made me realize that during the day when the sun is in the sky, the beams that splash into our windows the beams would be unnoticed if it weren’t for dust particles floating around the air. We need the dust to see the light beams. I guess all we are is dust in the solar wind whose existence is predicated on our ability to see the light and reflect it to others.
I remembered also having read about ancient civilizations and how many believed in similar mythological chariots being driven across the sky, dragging the sun from the east to the west. Wanting to appear an intellectual counterpart to this alien cornucopia of information, I interjected like sophisticated moron with this sophomoric comment: “I guess we should cheer on the Egyptian god “ra” with a “ra, ra, ra” as he drags the sun across the sky, singing Ra Ra Ra your boat gently where lights stream, merrily-merrily, ever so carefully, keep alive your dreams.”
“Interesting point,” said the alien in a somber but polite way, not wanting to add insult to my own self-injury due to me for my own queer comments probably because he needed me for his research. After a few seconds he thought of something to say. “Much has been written about the chariots of your gods in the sky in the sky.”
“My God,” I asked myself. “Why was he talking about our gods?” We haven’t been pagans in centuries. Except for our faith and trust in the financial system, in the money and celebrities we idolize, and in the perversion ‘In Gold We Trust’, we haven’t had a golden calf in a great many centuries.
The alien continued his stream-roll like a juggernaut: “We Zatoccians know about how you humans have been depicting sunrises and sunsets in the same way, with erroneous depictions of the sun as a disk of fire from mythologies such as Shamash of the Sumerians, Ra of the Egyptians, and Helius of the Greeks just to name a few cultures of creative earthly genius. Of course, there are some examples of chariots pulling what you once called the minor light across the night sky.”
I had never heard of such mythological creatures but did wonder how their creative minds were so prolific. Maybe all the men could think about at night after the recovering from the sunset of their sexual desires was to find only a drinking buddy that catch a buddy coming through the rye, and use that rye together with the wheat and barley gathered from their hard work under the “shine-on harvest moon up in the sky”, with no love to show since January, February, June or July. And all this work just in order to process and imbibe with temulent fervor the ancient equivalent of today’s moonshine, to drink and be merry from the intoxicating elixir of Bacchus and Dionysus. I’m not sure if there’s a connection between sunbeams, moonbeams and the terms “white lightening” and “Beam’s Whiskey,” but one thing I knew: Even Noah after the flood was known to have gotten drunk and lie naked, much to the shame of his descendants.
I guess where there’s a still there’s a sway. The alien’s analysis had apparently served to stretch my brain to new dimensions I never thought possible, as a deeper, more intoxicating thought just occurred to me: Was it that centuries old hundred proof-of-guilt concoction like that which is still famous in Kentucky and Tennessee that helped them connect the dots in the night sky and create stories to accompany their presence in the ancient past? Is alcohol, together with other hallucinogenic drugs the ticket to stardom? If it weren’t for the Prohibition decades later, Indianapolis wouldn’t have become a pit stop for rum-runners, American engines wouldn’t have been as fast to escape Elliot Ness and the Untouchables, and Milwaukee breweries wouldn’t have developed core competencies to supply Chicago with all the beer from there to here.
The role of alcohol was bigger than just the rolling of engines and tires across the Midwest. No one ever thought of blaming the great Chicago fire of 1871 on the densely packed storage of alcohol in wooden warehouses of the windy city. They blamed it on the wind, on Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, and on a kerosene lamp. But alcohol was never considered a factor.
One thing was certain: The gods who drove the chariots may have had a need to get high, but they never drove under the influence. But then, we humans only think we can’t have accidents even if some of us are. The human factor providing burden of proof has been otherwise behind the wheel, ever since it was created. Ever since the human was created, that is, not the wheel.
In order to avoid another pregnant pause, I asked with polite curiosity, “Was there some god who drove the moon across the sky?”
“Your mythology has fewer examples than that of gods driving the sun across the sky. The ancient Greeks had the spirit of giving, having presented the moon driving responsibilities to a female goddess, they named Artemis, and whom the Romans renamed as Diana. She roamed the sky, and perhaps blamed the fates for her having been dealt a twist for which she thought was better suited and could find a better fit.”
“That’s what she said,” is all I could say, adding insult to already self-imposed injury, in the spirit of a true imbecile: “Ra Ra, sis-boom-bah and yay, team!”
“All very well and good, human,” he said seriously, like a tutor getting impatient with a student he wasn’t always happy to have to teach but had to be up to the task. “But all this creativity, the ancients starring at the stars, the mythological creativity, the earthly analysis, the daring expressions of nature by people like Socrates and Copernicus who suffered the wrath of human group-think, all the philosophic arguments over the years leading to the renaissance and then the industrial revolution, right on up to the adaptation of radar and missile technology to take you to the moon, all of that is in jeopardy because of your not absorbing new possibilities despite their being beamed to you as if sent on a journey destined to strike your minds with novel ideas.”
“Is this the same reason I have been so unsuccessful at finding work? Could it be that the powers that be out there don’t have the necessary creativity to find a place for me?” I asked, having this possibility come across my mind every now and then.
“It may very well be,” he countered. Your leaders aren’t being creative like they once were probably because so much creativity has already been spent, as has your creative energy. Many of you have become discouraged and have lost that faith and trust in the economy as we discussed earlier. You feel that the economy is being driven like chariots across your sky by politicians and executives who are not interested in your society but rather in filling their pockets by limiting costs – and that, of course, means firing people – or perhaps put more euphemistically, laying them off due to lack of work.”
I had to agree, and again it was refreshing to hear this from an outsider with no external human influence but myself. Though he was a disinterested observer, he wasn’t uninterested in our eventual fate.
He then continued, “Much like a CEO of today who wants to get work from nothing and will try to push hard to this end, the Pharaoh did not call on his sun god ‘Ra Ra Ra’ like you so emphatically did earlier. Instead, he was impatient with the progress of his projects and became frustrated with his workers, who this in turn provided the his own grame and sour grapes of wrath, unreachable and unmanageable. Like a potent mixture in vino veritas together with spiked moonshine, drunk with his own power. If the slaves did have a union, the Pharaoh tried his best to bust it. As unattainable subjects these slaves, most of them Israelite, were deemed worthy of death and destruction by flinging the next generation’s first born into the river.”
The alien continued his beaming illumination, patiently allowing for my mental digestion - or indigestion – of his thoughts. “Just as with the medical and health care you were talking about,” he continued, “the Egyptian slaves worked for free although they were not; and when they tried to reason with the Pharaoh that they didn’t have the material to do the free labor, he made the tasks even harder. When after ten plagues they finally did quit Egypt with all their possessions, they did so in the middle of the night by the light of a full silvery moon. Despite all the light, the Pharaoh lacked the foresight to see this ahead of time, in much the same way CEOs today expect the work to get done with the taskmaster’s whip that elicits nothing but the employee’s blood sweat and tears - all of this at zero cost.”
“They are like a lot of our politicians - shadier than a new moon,” I blurted out, trying to match wits with the alien. Either he didn’t have the necessary sense of humor to be receptive to my quip or my own comic beams were too dim and not suitably cosmic for him.
I admit I hadn’t thought much about these things, perhaps once in a blue moon. The alien ignored my previous comment, which went over like a lead balloon or an anvil in a Looney Toons Road Runner cartoon.
He preferred instead to continue on his trajectory, “Any object of value such as free labor or acquired wealth is removed will cause humans to become frustrated and angry. In a broader and more social sense, the people become edgy as the wrath of jealousy takes over. They argue over money and sue each other as mutual trust goes down and the divorce rate goes up. Now the achievements they once took pride in are as far away as a trip to the moon. The people, descendants of those once proud in their nation’s achievements, are now suffering hangovers, having become a parable of soured grapes of their own wrath towards society and each other.”
As he said this, my mind wandered a bit. It occurred to me that when peoples’ trust in government is strong, the attitude is like a bull market where people are willing to pay taxes even when taxes are increased. If the trust is week the citizens become bearish and don’t want to risk investing their money in a sinking ship. This bull and bear trust in government underlies interest in buying bonds. The higher the unyielding nature of government mistrust, the higher the yield on short term notes and ten year bonds. Bulls and bears live side by side both on New York’s Wall Street and in Washington’s Federal Reserve.
I always wondered how the Dow Jones Industrials have been able to rise at a time when people are so tight with their money. Where does the influx of cash come from? Perhaps it’s all money from the one percent of the filthy rich. Or perhaps it’s all hype. Like the time an old Wall Street red-bull met up an old flame after many years, whom he remembered as a suntanned brown cow, a flaming beauty. While catching up on old times, the tired toro exercised his memory and the sacred cow to which it as any male would, by definition of the gender. He remarked candidly to the once beautiful bovine: “You know, I used to know how to be a potent market maker, but it seems I have forgotten how NOW, brown cow.” Apparently that was no bull.
“So it is,” he continued with a raised voice like a tired scientist-lecturer at a symposium wanting to wake up the attendees who had fallen asleep, “So it is with other societies that start out enlightened and are truly successful but develop spoiled behaviour over the years. It explains how the Persian Empire lost its wealth over the years. It also explains how Rome became so successful as a Republic characterised by Cincinnatus at its zenith height, and had deteriorated morally to become a corrupt loathsome empire epitomized by Nero at its nadir depth.”
His comments did make sense. The frightening thing is that Washington these days seems as detached as Rome was to its citizens in Nero’s day. Like the Mayans, the Babylonians, the archaeologists of the future will need to know how a superpower sank so fast and what were the social causes. Like the Romans, we had Goths of our own.
Though he didn’t live during the Gothic invasions of the empire of the fifth century, Nero is remembered for fiddling on the roof of a burning house like a pyromaniac psychopath. He probably would have preferred to fire the firemen and give them nothing but the boot with severance at the neck. When Rome fizzled, Nero burned. It eventually exploded like a Roman candle, or like a supernova ejecting new civilizations that learned to use the alphabetic elements to write letters from the elements ejected in the explosion. A stellar ending to a renaissance of new nations, where the tectonic fault lay, both prophetically and retrospectively, not in the stars but in the greedy brutes themselves.
It was so easy for the Roman Republic to become a dictatorship. The same is probably true in modern times. All you need are a few drunk fanatics to stir up racial or ethnic bigotry. American prosperity in the 1920’s was the backdrop for anti-immigration feeling and a Ku Klux Klan march of tens of thousands along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. while at the same time the popularity of the Nazis in Germany was on the decline. I guess it does go to show that just like with the Roman Republic, the deadly sins are crouching at the door for an opportunity to ambush the system and corrupt it.
“It is these tendencies that further explain why societies rise and fall in general – in each case it is the people who raise the flag and the empire befalls it in that flag’s last stages. Greece, Rome, Carthage, the Mayans, the empires that fell at the end of World War I such as the Ottoman, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian: All these decadent empires became corrupt, and the corrosion speeded up their collapse. Then came the perfidious Socialism of both the National and Soviet genre…the list is very incomplete but should provide extensive proof that the failings of human empires are timeless and the lessons so far unlearned.”
The alien left me looking for answers, but couldn’t find any. He looked at me again with a look that could be described as part amazement and part bewilderment. Then he got up again, and this time without uttering a sound, he went back to the other room and sat down at my computer to apparently search the web for supporting evidence of what I had told him. The truth was out there for sure, but perhaps we simply can’t handle the truth. Even if the alien is far smarter than any human, and just because he thinks he’s smart doesn’t mean he’s omniscient, knowing everything. There must be some concepts beyond his ability, in addition to ours, to conceive. We just don’t know what these concepts are.
We humans have been living our entire existence with these conceptual limitations, and there are still many things still beyond our comprehension like a quintessential verbal element missing in action. For example, I find the term “retirement” totally inconceivable; these days it is a concept beyond my understanding. So many retirement advisors ask that old familiar vision question: Where do you see yourself in retirement? And this provokes my thinking, causing me to ask myself: How DO I see myself in the sunset years? Driving away in a ritzy luxury car? Backpacking in Fiji? Quaffing brandy all day?
Distant visions such as these seem right now to be as far away as the most distant quasar. I don’t know if it’s just me. I just can’t perceive such a picture, and these days it does seem to be beyond human comprehension. For many of us, retirement is an elusive idea, one of the many we humans can’t seem to grasp. There are just so many missing pieces, and I assume there are examples of human concepts that elude the alien’s hexadecimal race. Just go down and ask any chap on Zatox: Why can’t humans fathom a vacuum-packed cosmos of quantum photons?
While the alien was clicking away in the other room, I was thinking that at times the truth seemed to be covered in a dense nebula-like opacity that was so impervious to logical penetration. Even a creature of this alien’s apparent complexity who has logged light years of frequent flier mileage while encountering incomprehensible permutations found this hard to grasp. Maybe he spent too much time in interstellar space, where not much happens. I felt truly sorry for him. He was a sixteen-fingered hexadecimal alien who over-bounded his steps and thus overstepped the boundless but finite realm of human understanding. He must have felt like he fell into some black hole where no beam of intelligent light could get out.
I knew how he felt. It was a feeling of being all alone, and inferior to others. Obviously I wasn’t very smart or I would have a place of employment and be earnestly and gainfully employed. I wished I could have been smarter, and longed for some solution to engage my mind in some form of creative contribution to society.
Finding a job was a hard thing to do; it was about marketing one’s attributes to another seeker so that one could enter into a long-term commitment. It was a lot like seeking out a long-term partner, I guess. Like employment, it was always a challenge to get a perfect fit, and ‘scoring’ was more complicated than just reaching a goal like in a soccer game. Like looking for work, sexual gratification was like rounding the bases in pursuit of happiness. Funny that this was played in a diamond shaped field on a journey epitomized by hardness. I knew that diamonds were a result of many years of high pressured mountain-building, with so many peaks and valleys along the way. And then it was soil erosion that exposed the diamonds, better known as a girl’s best friend. Diamonds are a truly hard substance seemingly forever to have epitomized the pursuit of happiness for both sexes.
The alien was still in the other room ticking away, and it seemed like he would be preoccupied for the next ten minutes. It was all right with me, because I had a chance to think a bit more about the pursuit of happiness. Our own Earth is said to lie in between a planet which spawns belligerent conquering red-blooded male heroes one on side who come into contact with their counterpart women of another heavenly body on the other side where the atmosphere is under high pressure. The poets would say that the tendency is for these two genres to help-meet halfway and then come together to regenerate the species in sensual recreation with primal urges designed to replenish the earth. It may be humanity’s mission to generate the bodies for God to inspire with fully refreshed spirits and to restore the soul in a newly generated body with no mortgage liens to spoil their naïve spirits.
This made me reflect on the famous painting by Raphael, who was inspired to paint that creation. I didn’t know if his idea had a complementary treatise on the material world which included climatic conditions, a merciful mixture of materials, and the human brains to build tools have been created and provided for us. I guess it is incumbent upon us to discover and apply them so that we can survive another day in order to be able to be fruitful and multiply.
What a piece of work is man – how noble in reason while trying to woo vanity’s name into a dance, waiting patiently for an invitation to do so. He needs to first cut to the chase, through all the red tape, with a potent pair of scissors – if he wants to do more than just to cut rugs in prelude dances. She is drawn to the Martian warrior by what Freud may have called Venus envy of the conquering heroes from Mars who themselves are engaged in a “cherchez la femme” effort to-get-her to be with him. The very thoughts can be altogether inspiring and engaging, and can generate all-to-get-her ideas on the planet in the middle – Earth - which seems to beckon the sexes, inviting them to interact in an act of supreme recreation as with Beatles words “Come together right now - over me.”
Creativity today may be stifled by instant gratification. Missing is the tense wait-time of both members of the planetary bodies in motion. Though both are charged physically and emotionally, motivated with anticipation of their mutual participation, there are too many short circuits or perhaps not enough long scissors to cut through the anticipation. Expectations may be high, but patience - among other things - is short. Imaginations just don’t get fired up with ideas like they used to. The anticipation of how meet and behave with the sexual partner of our dreams just doesn’t resonate like before when we seemed to have more time. This is just like beams of light that propagate in space until they finds a receptive body at the end of the path. The shortening of that journey comes with a price of diminished focus; a degeneration of the creative human spirit and its demoralization leading to a lessening of motivation and dreams.
During the 1940’s, when the free world was being threatened by war, and innovative ideas were indispensable, Ray Charles sang a tune “Moon over Miami with its words “Shine on my love and me…shine on as we begin a dream or two that may come true.” That decade, Sinatra and sang songs with words like “Moonlight and love songs, never out of date” and “Full moons and empty arms”, further demonstrations how romantic desire urged us to produce wonderful, often silly love songs people have not had enough of, in addition to the abundance of beautiful sonnets, creative love notes, and exquisite poetry expressing lovers’ emotions.
Eventually the sexual desire would get an annual libidinous reawakening in the spring as clothing became lighter, and as a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, while women would fantasize about the man of her dreams. Full moons and empty arms would signify the cultural romance of love, one of the few forces that could momentarily defy the universal laws of gravity. Sex drives, everybody crazy. The comedians knew this best. Lou Costello claimed further that a husband is what’s left of a sweetheart after the nerve has been killed. Groucho Marx was quoted as saying that love goes out the door when money comes innuendo.
Instant gratification may be what has depleted human imagination. Men in particular used to be full of anticipation as to what would be the next article of clothing to come off in a strip-tease. Even if they knew the stripper wouldn’t take off all her clothes, the imagination of what that would look like fired up the creative spirit. The male organ wasn’t the only part to become engrossed in anticipation; it was the creative mind and capability to imagine female nudity that was provoked and stimulated. The exercise seemed not ignite a fire of passion, but at the same time to fire up neurons that otherwise wouldn’t have been activated.
In today’s world the internet has short-circuited the effects of the strip-tease. With strippers starting out their act naked, and with all the internet pornography occupying man’s time and attention, matters of the creative spirit seem to be in the process of becoming atrophied. It is the anticipation that teases the mind, and with instant gratification brought through pornography, the teasing becomes diminished and the intellectual prowess becomes less potent. It’s ironic that humans need their creative organs not only for recreation purposes and for reproduction and regeneration, but also for stimulation of the creative spirit. Without such stimulation, that spirit is getting pulled downward.
The philosophers and theologians among us would say that the pull downward tempts all bodies and all spirits. They would also say that the downward fall towards the Satan who was looking for a decent Job himself, and whose insatiably ravenous hunger for souls is said to be hell-bent. As an accusatory dare-devil prosecutor of categorical purgatory, he could be found hard at work on human temptation by making them horny for sex without love, or any hard-core sensual activity at rock-bottom. They would further imply that the generated light from the “qerens” of Lucifer’s horns radiate like moonbeams, targets everyone with dare-devil thoughts of erotic sensual pleasure. In his perspective to err is human; to sin, divine.
Yet without the sexual drives of the binary pair there would be no regeneration of our species. Without the solar flares from the two binary stars the journey to gratification would be far less potent. As a consequence, there would be less romance, and a deficiency in art and poetry motivated with emotion by our lengthy journey before the connection. If the hopes and dreams of sexual gratification were to be submerged, there would be much less to think about.
Love? Amour? Amor? Today, it’s hard to see. All too often, you don’t see it. As one can say in Spanish, “no lo ve”. No love. Humans need this urge in order to be creative. When sex is not at hand even for the handsome, men have been known to refocus these urges on other potent efforts such as manufacturing war machines, erecting pyramids and towers, and engaging in war games foreplay before plundering and pillaging.
When not engaging themselves in these ways, the lascivious urge for creativity has motivated people of both genders to spend their time telling stories, drawing erotic art, wishing, imagining, dreaming and fantasizing. We may not all have composed Peruvian art in the Andes or Tagore songs of Bengal or classical music from Vienna or Cambodian sculptures of Angkor, or Noh Japanese opera, but we humans do have the spirit of creativity. Even the Philistines were artistic; they had statues of stone and elaborate temples showing they had their own artistic prowess. Human creative energy has always been utilized in writing plays, poems, ballads, epics, astrology, and much folklore in lieu of sexual gratification. We humans may not be sexidecimally based, but our ten-based system has been sufficient to convert what matters to energetic innovation.
So maybe it is about the destination of procreation – or more accurately, regeneration of progeny that is important, rather than the foreplay of the dance beforehand. But short-circuiting the lengthy journey towards that pursuit of happiness is often by short-circuiting it with a fast happy ending has perhaps served to detract from our creativity, speeding up the length contraction like the special theory of relativity implies. The problem is that a plethora of too many iron-rich men from Mars lose their creative imagination when they view the world like the little green men they really are. All too often, they look upon sex like greenback money in the bank: Once they withdraw, they lose interest.
Like the beams of light radiating outward from the sun, it may be about the propagation of light we don’t see, rather than the moonbeams that we do. Unfortunately today people are more interested less in the journey and more about its length.
In today’s computer age where both sexes are interested in high speed connections and storing their material in hard drives both internal and external, everyone seems to be moving fast to reach a sex object-oriented target. Just like beams striking the moon, flash drives of instant gratification and immediate sex take precedence over its very pursuit in which the before-play of passionate love-making comes first. Sometimes the speed of the foreplay is at the speed of light whereas in the case of special relativity, length contraction becomes characteristic of the today’s time-frame-of reference.
The nature of prima-facie physical attraction is part of a natural course of events. Although I am not a person of brilliance and am certainly not the “brightest bulb in the tree”, I do remember from my college chemistry that nature has many examples where highly charged matter seems to want to come into physical contact with other matter to establish better stability. Sodium likes to team up with chloride to form a stable ionic compound we know as salt.
Chemistry also has many examples of bonds, like the covalent hydroxyl radical which may be the root of our problems (OH my!) and the hydroxyl ion (OH-) with a promiscuous nature, making an important contribution to inebriety and public intoxication. Nature also seems to like orgies in abundant compounds such as the ménage à trois of water (H2O) and the polygamous nature of ammonia (NH3). The love triangles get even more tangled with hot-work sex-ivalent chromium which is a toxic carcinogen. But when two simple like-minded hydrogen items are thrust together in nuclear collisions in the sun, the result is inert helium plus lots of sunshine with beams of light radiating outward in every direction. But we humans are more than cosmic manifestations or other infestations of trivially complex reactions
Anticipation and participation are two oscillating types of energy: potential and kinetic. The urges are like that heavy rock the mythical character Sisyphus was eternally charged with having to push up the mountain against the pull of suspenseful gravity. Once the rock reaches the height of the mountain, it has all the potential energy to do a lot of work like a rolling stone. Though it sits high, out of work like me with not satisfaction, it sits high with getting anticipation to do work. All it needs is one small push to initiates its roll, then it gravitates downward, gathering neither mass nor moss, while releasing creatively kinetic energy and generating heat and noise on the mountainside. The fall continues like beams of propagated light in a free fall weight-loss with gravity getting the boulder and all other rocks off the mountain’s back. Eventually the boulder falls to earth with a powerfully potent big bang, releasing energy and work by generating more noise and a deep crater. All the rock had needed was one small push and just like an act of sex, the fall can be regenerated in time like Sisyphus starting the next cycle of pushing the rock up the mountain again, against the gravitational field, putting potential energy back into the system
Today sexual foreplay is faster than before. It seems to be moving faster than ever in a race to the finish with lightning speed. The lovemaking part is too short, and without the journey’s extension through sex tension, human creativity is curtailed. We spend less time in deep thought and more time in shallow dreams. This is just one optical conclusion that can be reached, though it may need to be said again – it’s not about the conclusion but rather the journey.
The human electrically charged high voltage generated by just the thought about physical pleasure of lovemaking and coming together is high. Traditionally and perhaps stereotypically, man has been known to manipulate and maneuver, subconsciously manufacturing perceptive ways to penetrate often being accused of putting the “wo” in woman, who have, on the other hand, been by tradition have been placed in the role of the responsive one, receptive to the men’s overtures with rigor and rice and everything nice.
But before any opus takes place between the curious couple, the partners must learn to make beautiful music together, connecting the pretty black dots of sextuplet notes with horizontal beams. Lovemaking is more than an amusement of the muses. For the g-clef is more than just a key to the soul. The Romantics would probably say about music that the g-clef is more than just a French “clé de sol” that opens many doors once locked.
As an overture of original synergy, the man may want to just kiss the miss, and the miss may want to kiss back. But only after organic consummation with no more misses, will the participants be engaged in concert kisses. Then the Mr. and Mrs. with much more than kisses emerge from the garden without serpent hisses.
Like nuclear reactions on the sun, great sparks of beaming potential energy of both hers and his are released while the couple are engaged in a fusion process that brings them together as one rib-sharing flesh. But while they were charged with the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply”, not much is said about the desire which comes as an appetizer before the main intercourse.
This may be the source of our creative dilemma. Perhaps it is spurred on by a longing sex or just companionship. Whether we are separated from our spouses and lovers by a “prishut” ordinance like the Pharaohs enforced in Egypt, or we are simply experiencing unrequited love, instead of re-consummation, we refocus our imagination in other potentially energetic ways, becoming consumed with expressions of love in our poetry, music, and letters with the longing and yearning for our true love. While yearning for each other’s company and yirning with petulant pout, this is the type of fertile creativity that sparks the birth of a renaissance. It has in turn, led us down a path towards an industrial revolution which seems to have not yet reached a conclusion.
Ah, to be blessed and blissed. Where there is true love, sex is more than just an act. I had been thinking about traditional values of men and women, and then my leg was starting to fall asleep again as blood was rushing to other parts. I was going to stand up and walk around, but all my thoughts about traditions and men and women made that a bit difficult, and so I decided to wait a few minutes. In order to remedy my situation, I started thinking about baseball and why tradition made it necessary to summarize a score using runs, hits, and errors. Wasn’t the run category the only one that counted? In order to win, didn’t one have to cross home plate more times than the other team? In terms of critical stats, why were the errors considered significant others? Hits don’t matter to the final destination, either. Why don’t we break with that tradition like we did when we decided to demote Pluto from its Supreme Court status as our ninth planet to a junior law clerk asteroid? Sic semper to the underworld?
And speaking of the underworld, it always fascinated me that men and women were kept apart in so many places while living, then after their death the remains of the departed genders are buried side by side without sexual consideration. Unlike the “vive la difference” way of living, cemeteries don’t have separate men’s and women’s sections, even when the deceased are turning in their graves over what their children are doing.
I had still been preoccupied with the descent of man’s apparent loss of innovation and creativity, when the alien re-entered the room. I had become so engrossed in my thoughts about sex and baseball I forgot all about him – and the pizza, too.
The interstellar intellectual outsider came back inside the room and asked me “Are you feeling okay?”
By now I was able to get up, as my thoughts had been shorted. I liked the way he asked the question, just like a local insider. “I am fine, just trying to digest something rather large, although I was distracted for a while. I have to admit I am getting rather hungry. It is often a forgotten fact about us humans that we the people need to eat. Many of us are fat-accompli, but all of us need nourishment. It is our own fate-accompli.”
“I understand, human. Your three fates would have, too,” he responded, not realizing the nature of my obvious allusions to my hunger and the conclusion that should have been drawn. I tried to be obvious but was oblivious. As a long-term unemployed person, I was used to that. What good is my right to free speech if I am being ignored all the time?
The alien then continued in the wrong direction to the one I had been trying to direct him. “Clotho the spinner, also known as the prenatal ninth should have foreseen that. Lachesis the time allotter, also known as the tenth, should have been able to estimate the length of time it takes for you to get hungry as you burn up your calories in your activities before the Atropos cuts your life short with one fatal blow.
His talk of fate didn’t affect my destiny to continue being hungry. But it did distract me for a moment as I thought back to that recurring dream where I had been running up the stairs to stop an accidental murder from taking place. When I had been waking up I was like the ninth fate before birth inside the womb for nine moon cycles, and when I was running up the stairs I was like the tenth fate using allotted time to seek justice before succumbing to my Atropos fate to fall over the railing. My fate-accompli was a true fait-accompli.
That recurring dream made me think of the journey from apprentice to journeyman to master. But more often the dream was less linear and more cyclic. It was like the Sisyphus myth of rolling up a stone only for it to be rolled back down like salmon who have to spend their lives swimming upstream and die when they get there after spawning their offspring going downstream.
I found the alien’s reference to the ninth fate of prenatal destiny and the tenth fate of time allotment rather interesting. The thought of satisfying nine by going to ten made me think about the pizza and the satisfaction that takes place once the feast begins.
No more hints. Now the cards will be on the table. I wanted to know where my next meal was coming from, so with explicit interrogative discretion, I asked, “Where’s that pizza?”
“Pizza? What pizza?” He looked at me with surprise like Stan Laurel who would look at his buddy Oliver Hardy whom both had considered the intellectual superior of the two. It was the same look Barney Rubble would have given Fred Flintstone, his own mental mentor of stone-age creativity. All I could do was display a little dissatisfaction at our progress on this matter.
“Oh, the pizza. Did you not order it? I said I would pay for it.”
It was a simple misunderstanding. Better lines of communication could have prevented deplorable acts of terrorism that had taken place over the past decades. These were too obvious and too horrible to mention here. Not on an empty stomach. Not on a full one, either.
“No, I didn’t order it. I thought you did.” I felt like such an idiot. How would he know how to order pizza? He wasn’t from here. We were both preoccupied a great many things, traveling to the moon and back, traversing the universe of ideas while I myself had forgotten the most basic need at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy. I needed to eat.
“Then go ahead and place the order,” he suggested. I appreciated simplicity in this case. Great minds think alike I guess, though neither the Twain shall I meet. Not in any meeting of the minds. Not any time soon.
“I am sorry,” he added, that I forgot about your hunger. “I should have realized how urgently important your basic needs are. Hunger must be satisfied. Just as the number 9 wants to go so much to double its digital length and reach an even 10 once it has digested all the known numeric symbols known symbols, you need basic satisfaction.”
I agreed, although I was too hungry to analyze carefully what he just said, concerning nine and ten with his digital pronunciation. It did make me think, about the fictional obsessive compulsive detective Adrian Monk, who couldn’t live knowing that there could be nine or even eleven of anything. Compensation was necessary. For this reason the number eleven was excessively hyper-normal, a superfluous entity. He was obsessed with the passing of naughty nine to noble ten as he was to solve his wife’s murder at the same time he was solving so many others, turning nine into ten as it should be.
I also wondered how such a strange alien as this one with eight fingers on each hand could appreciate the decimal system, and the importance of nine going to ten. Having sixteen fingers and toes, he would probably be a natural at sexidecimal based-systems and had a whole separate way of expressing the corners of a sexagon using sexidgits which we count as ten through fifteen. His number “10” was no doubt our sixteen.
After a couple of minutes I placed the order for pizza over the phone and I felt an oxymoronic sense of impatient satisfaction. I got something done.
But I couldn’t wait for nine to strike ten. I just couldn’t wait…
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