Grizzly Nihilism

Betsy DeVos teaches us there’s nothing left to care about.

“Bye guys.” (Image: Mick Thompson)

Millions of Americans are upset that a complete idiot is about to become president of their country. But on Tuesday, upon hearing Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos say that schools should have guns in case of a grizzly bear attack, they realized with a strange kind of feeling slightly resembling pleasure that maybe they no longer cared about anything anyway.

“I have been pretty angry for the last two months, reading a lot, thinking about what I can do, how I can get more involved as a citizen and all that, but once I heard what DeVos said about grizzly bears, I was like, ‘Ok, whatever, I’m out,’” said Bob Ringold, 39, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, in the parking lot of his office in New London.

“Totally,” echoed co-worker Harry McIntosh, 35, pausing before getting into his 1999 Honda Civic. “I told my wife, ‘I am done,’ and she was like ‘With what?’ and I was like ‘With all of it. With the whole thing.’” He made a circle with his hands, ostensibly making reference to the whole world and everything contained therein. “Luckily my wife said, ‘Oh me too, I was so afraid you were going to say that you still cared about something or someone’ and I was like ‘Ha, no way’ and she was like, ‘Good, me too.’”

The couple, who met at the University of Connecticut and have been married five years, agreed that they were going to spend the rest of their lives just staring into space. “It’s good you’re on the same page,” Ringold said, and to which McIntosh replied, “Either way.”

Across town, at a children’s playground, six year old Mattie Bean jumped off a swing set, ran over to his mom, Katie Bean, 28, and held out his hand. “My mitten thumb has a hole in it,” he said.

“Ok, remember, mommy told you that nothing matters,” she asked. She led her son back to the swing then stood back and shrugged as the child recommenced playing. “My girlfriend and I talked about it last night, after we watched the thing a few times and confirmed that yes, indeed a grown woman had said schools should have guns in case one of the approximately 1500 grizzly bears remaining in the lower 48 states chose to attack it—and we looked at each other and said, ‘Realistically, how many times can you tell a six year old that nothing matters?’ But I gave it a try today and I think I’ve said it about fifty times, and I don’t see any problem with saying it fifty more. My girlfriend told me said she said it maybe ten times to him before she went to work, and that it rolled right off the tongue. So it’s all good.”

At Jimmy’s Pizza Shack down the street, Jimmy Salvatore, 48, was giving his customers pieces of white bread on paper plates. “I don’t have it in me to make pizzas and no one can taste anymore anyway, so, here we are,” he said, taking a sip of Diet Coke and Smirnoff out of a blue potato salad container.

“Can you cut mine into little pieces?” asked another customer. “Ever since I saw that thing about Betsy DeVos and the grizzly bears I can’t even chew.”

“I’ll see your no chewing, and I’ll raise you,” called out a voice from behind the unplugged jukebox. Erika Thane, 30, proudly pointed out a portable IV drip, administering glucose and various nutrients. “I went to the doctor and I said, ‘I know there’s nothing wrong with me, but I would really just like to engage with life as little as possible and I am willing to pay through the nose for the privilege.’” She looked around, put her finger to her lips, then lifted her shirt up to show a colostomy bag. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say this makes me happy, but it’s pretty hard to make any kind of decision or exert any effort in this state, so, you know. I guess I am feeling something like whatever happiness used to feel like, sort of, except, I feel nothing anymore, so. Yeah.”

As she trailed off, a customer could be heard inquiring, “Jimmy, how much do I owe you?”

Salvatore leaned against the glass display case, formerly filled with cannolis, now empty. “Uh, a dollar? Two? Three? Or you could just throw a cup of cold water in my face. It’s really all the same to me.”