Okay, now I’m a traffic statistic.
On the way to work the other day I experienced a mild bout of road rage. I didn’t get cut off and no one was creeping along in the fast lane. I simply saw one too many imbecilic bumper stickers.
I was practically indifferent to the old Corolla that’s back windshield informed me that I shouldn’t be fooled, the driver’s treasure was in heaven. And I barely noticed the new Cadillac Escalade whose bumper sticker said, “Not perfect, Just Forgiven.” Juxtaposed, I figured the driver of the Corolla had a better chance of maneuvering through the eye of a needle than the new Escalade owner, but they were both vying for real estate I didn’t have much interest in. So I drove on unfazed.
Then, I passed a suburbia-optioned SUV with a bumper sticker that read “I love my carbon footprint.” And the minivan ahead of it shifted into my lane and echoed the SUVs sentiment. It’s window decal said “Global Warming is a lie.”
Jeez, I thought. Why not just get a bumper sticker that says “I love chopping down rain forests” or “I heart human extinction”?
I know, I know. The jury’s allegedly still out on theories like Global Warming, Climate Change and Evolution, but we’ve got indisputable proof of Jesus, God and the Easter Bunny.
I’m sorry. I try to remain tactful and judicious, but what kind of buffoon comfortably publicizes such irresponsible nonsense? Global warming and climate change are not stand-alone phenomena concocted by scheming liberal scientists to deprive the leisure class of their just and proper spoils. They’re happening in concert with hundreds and thousands of other alarming trends that all indicate that human beings are leaving detrimental “footprints” all over this planet. And our almost psychopathic missteps are not hard to track.
Unless you’re woefully isolated or willfully ignorant, you see or hear about them every day. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch now has an Atlantic counterpart and scientists suspect there are others. Oceanic dead zones are multiplying, sea life is disappearing, coral reefs are dying, seawater is becoming more acidic and the migrations and territoriality of several telltale marine species has grown precarious and unpredictable. Our freshwater systems are being poisoned by urban run-off, toxic dumping, mining and drilling deposits, pesticide drift, acid rain and mercury. Our lands are being depleted by slash and burn farming, industrial agriculture, deforestation, desertification, soil salination and disappearing resources. And this planet’s biological diversity is being decimated by systemic ecosystem erosion and toxicosis, habitat fragmentation, bioaccumulation, human overpopulation and plain old human greed and egotism. For our sins, however, our own bodies are slowly and incrementally becoming toxic soups of cadmium, lead, aluminum, benzene, formaldehyde, chlorine, acetone, mercury, benzopyrenes, nitrosamines, herbicides, household cleaners, etc., etc., etc.
Does the only hope for life on this planet have to be you and I eliminating our own species before it destroys all the others?
These crises are not cyclical. We have seen the enemy and he is us, the guy looking at you in the mirror, the lady you see in your make-up compact, the karaoke stars on American Idol, the irrelevant jocks scoring touchdowns, dunking basketballs or sinking 30-foot putts, the dim minstrels starring in summer blockbusters, and the talk-show personalities proclaiming wisdoms or sharing recipes. We are onlookers and they are clowns. Their sole purpose is to keep us from getting too nervous about the human high-wire act that’s transpiring in the big picture.
It was just a matter of time before the materialist dichotomy of artificial preservatives and planned obsolescence would make Capitalism obsolete. The high-wire act we’re involved in is not death-defying; it’s death inviting. Life doesn’t always go on. Especially when you leave idiots at the wheel, drunk with their own success, addicted to indulgence and blinded by their own cultural narcissism.
The bumper stickers I saw that morning inspired me to drive metaphorically, to speed up, but take my hands off the steering wheel, to keep moving forward faster and faster, but in no controlled, responsible direction. Would I run into the myth of global warming or trade paint-jobs with a beloved carbon imprint? Would I crash into someone who was more worried about treasure in heaven than sustainable life on earth or someone more content with being spiritually forgiven than existentially accountable? Alas, the rage dissipated. We passed each other in our metal coffins on the way to our inconsequential vocations and all was right with my acquiescence. There were clowns to watch on TV later and dire consequences to disregard.