We're Alive, This Isn't Hell, and in 2018 You Might Have to Do Something About It

And other answers to questions you didn’t ask.

Image: Stefano via Flickr/small>

“Are we dead and is this Hell?” —Ghost of Gary

Probably not and no. Reality isn’t changing. We’re just allowing people to make us think it’s changed. It’s as if everything that has happened before has evaporated away. Not that everything was all that great. But everything now possibly minus the stock market is decidedly not great. And what we’re left with is a tall glass of brown gunk. Which they will try to convince you is delicious lemonade. It is not. It never was and never will be. You will just have to be strong and not let them wear you down. Because boy are they trying to wear you down.

Maybe the USA was never all that great. But we talked a good game for a very long time. It has maybe always been great for rich white guys. They write most of the laws and histories and make most of the movies. We only had one big stupid civil war. And we only fought in a million stupid other wars, horribly mistreated women and minorities forever. Wrecked other people’s countries all the time. Possibly this is payback. But it’s just so insulting to everyone’s intelligence all the time that it makes intelligence a symptom of unhappiness. Smart people are more susceptible to mental illness. So, if you’re smart, you may want to make yourself more stupid. Read The New York Post and watch Fox News, that will surely help.

It’s the holidays, and everyone has enough problems at this time of year. Family responsibilities, visitations by ghosts, wildly incoherent Star Wars movies. But at some point we’re all going to have to do something about all of this. Possibly when it’s warmer. Because marching in the snow is no fun whatsoever. And no matter how many things you retweet, email or like on Facebook, these people are going to keep doing everything they want until there are literally bodies in the street chanting for justice. Justice for people, justice for the planet, justice for the piece of paper we all signed defining what this country is about. All of those things are hideously in danger from people who don’t care about them at all. They are just trying to survive this moment and will pull whatever bullshit they can to keep on doing just that.

We’ve been able to mostly keep ourselves mostly chipper about the way this country makes its own political sausage because things were only slightly terrible for everyone. More terrible for other people than ourselves. But America right now is Side Show Bob stepping onto endless rakes. It would be funny if it weren’t us inside his bruised skull. All sausage-making is terrible. Sausages are, admittedly, delicious. But watching them get made is not enjoyable, and does not enhance the eating experience. The act of being governed, likewise, is unpleasant. Like thinking about your own every breath, and how, once you do, it becomes almost impossible to breathe.  When we think about the million terrible things that are attached to the one or two things that actually help Americans, we disappear into the black hole that is our own navels. Currently, according to the set-up that we have, both political parties can be hot garbage. The Republicans are clearly the hottest garbage. Objective truth is just something that they think they can wave away like an inconvenient fly. And so far they’re getting away with it.

So, while you are enjoying your holidays with loved ones and people you can barely stand, look forward to next year when you might have to publicly protest to save the Republic, such as it is. Do I think New Jersey should be in the same country as Mississippi? I don’t. But I also don’t think we here in New Jersey could win a war against the people of Mississippi, a majority of which played football competitively or served in the military, I imagine. I am literally bursting at the seams from eating too much disco fries. I couldn’t win a war against a box of Twinkies. So, protest it shall be. I’m not a big protestor. It gets in the way of my need to frequently nap. I only went down to Occupy Wall Street because I was bored and unemployed and I was mad at Bloomberg. Those were much simpler times, and even I miss our benevolent billionaire overlord. Even his corruption seems kind of quaint now.

I spent one night sweeping Zuccotti Park with a broom in the rain dressed like Santa, hoping the police wouldn’t invade at dawn. That was the extent of my brave civic protesting. They invaded and cleared the park some other day. Protesting is also a pointless, pyrrhic endeavor. But it would make me feel better. And you as well. Rich people always win, poor people always lose. And both parties laugh all the way to the bank, just for different reasons. But we do the dumb things we gotta do. America may not be worth fighting for. But we also can’t wait around for the Democrats or the Mueller Investigation to do something. Maybe Soros should pay for protestors, we all could use a little extra money. Especially at the holidays. I wish you comfort and joy, but I also hope you get combat boots for Christmas or Hannukah. Something tells me we’re all going to need them.


Jim Behrle lives in Jersey City and needs cheap eats suggestions for the Flatiron District of Manhattan.