But how, in essence, from the unprejudiced viewpoint of a Martian did Man differ from other earthly animals? Would a race that could levitate (and God knows what else) be impressed by engineering? And if so, would the Aswan Dam, or a thousand miles of coral reef, win first prize? Man’s self-awareness? Sheer local conceit; the upstate counties had not reported, for there was no way to prove that sperm whales or giant sequoias were not philosophers and poets far exceeding any human merit.
There was one field in which man was unsurpassed; he showed unlimited ingenuity in devising bigger and more efficient ways to kill off, enslave, harass, and in all ways make an unbearable nuisance of himself to himself. Man was his own grimmest joke on himself.
Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
I read this short story a few years ago and it profoundly disturbed me. There’s something about it that is so scarily true, it gives me chills.
I just reread it a few days ago and found it to be brilliant. Say of that what you will.
“I can believe that things are true and I can believe things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen – I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of casual chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
I just experienced the most amazing customer service ever.
I ordered a tent and it never arrived. I clicked a button that said, “chat.” A few seconds later I was talking to a representative. In less than 5 minutes I was done speaking with them and a new tent was en route. And they never once bothered to see if what I claimed was true or not.
That’s fucking customer service.
Last night I played my final softball game ending the season on a high note. When we started practicing I was fearful that my abilities would not improve enough in time for the games. Gratefully they did and I was able to enjoy the games without worrying too much about my inexperience.
It also helps to be put in right field. That was a blessing.
Made contact with the ball most times I was at plate. Brought in a few RBI’s. I’m happy with my performance all things considered.
Mostly though it was just fun hanging out with friends. I didn’t sign up so I could play baseball. I signed up to get out of the house and out of my comfort zone, and in that regard it was a great success.