Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Actual Conversation



“If the Earth were about to be hit by an asteroid, and you were randomly selected by the government lottery to be saved on a spaceship which would be used to repopulate the human species on another planet, and you were allowed to take one family member with you on the spaceship, who would you take?”


“Would you choose one of us, or Auntie Shelagh, or Grammi....”

“No, I wouldn’t choose. That’s awful.”

“But if you didn’t choose, then that person you could have saved would die. In a nuclear winter.”

“That’s a terrible scenario. I couldn’t choose between my loved ones!”

“So, basically, one of us has to die, just so you don’t have a guilty conscience? That’s like murder by omission. That’s terrible!”

“Ugh. Whatever.”

...Parenting Annoying Children with High IQs


My hair...it is not good.

I am also wearing only one shoe, though I have no good reason for that...I just can't find my other shoe. It may be lost forever. This has been the situation for the last hour and a half.

The hair situation is slightly more purposeful, but only slightly.

It all started with the baby albatross chicks, who's parents lovingly fed them my old toothbrush, bottle cap, and clicky pen. These bits of plastic were floating in the ocean, looking like food, and absorbing all sorts of toxins before ending up in the chick's bellies, and then causing them to starve to death, painfully.

And then there was a moment of panic when I realized that, every day, we were making and consuming thousands to millions of products which were going to last FOREVER. Forever. We've only been doing this for a hundred years, and every single nick-nack and plastic shard we've made is still around - whether recycled, landfilled, or in the Great Pacific Garbage Heap of Doom. And there's no point even cleaning it up, because every day we keep buying and producing more, and more, and more....ahhhhh.

So, naturally, I wanted to stop this panicked feeling. I figured the best way to do this was with ethical consumerism - but then a second wave of panic hit when I realized how few and far between my options were. Everything is packed in plastic. In terms of all of the personal-hygiene products I regularly consume, I can think of ONE (Burt's Bees Lip...wax?) which is not exclusively packed in a plastic tube.

This led me to google, which led me to various green living sites, and the British, who seem to be ahead of the curb on this no-new-plastic thing. I found some charming recipes for home-made deodorant, should I feel inclined. And finally, mostly by accident, I stumbled upon a movement called 'No Poo.'

Not constipation, but not much nicer - No Shampoo.

Proponents claim that you will not smell, and that over time, the natural oils will self-regulate and your hair will become far more healthy than its ever been (you can use baking soda and vinegar, if you must, every couple of weeks). Common knowledge tells me that shampoo is made out of some scary chemicals and only invented a hundred years ago...although before that, maybe people had very smelly hair. I'm not sure.

Some independent studies (three out of five randomly selected volunteers claim, after six weeks, their hair is much healthier and they may never use shampoo again), some photos of classy-looking women with great, non-dreadlocky hair...I was sold. Save money, less plastic, fewer carcinogenic chemicals on the skin next too my brain, and maybe healthier hair? Done and done.

The downside is the greasy transition stage, which lasts anywhere from one to six weeks or, for the lucky few, forever. But, let's be honest, my hair wasn't looking amazing before. No one wants to be the smelly kid, and I may call it quits any day now, but for the sake of the baby albatross chicks and my hair follicles, I feel I have to try.

Unrhetorical Questions, Unfortunately

Would you like to see a full-length movie of Sophie’s Choice?

Meryl Streep stars in the full-length movie, “Sophie’s Choice,” as a Polish woman who once was asked, “which of your two children will you send to the gas chamber, and which will keep alive?” And needless to say, it was probably not an easy decision for Meryl to make.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the movie, “The Road,” in which there is not one Sophie’s Choice, but many. Which is to say, every moment and every scene involves a decision which is terrifying, gruesome, and soul-destroying in its moral implications - no matter what the outcome, really.

For instance, would you rather shoot your son and yourself in the head with your last remaining bullets, or inevitably both to be raped, killed, and eaten by marauding gangs - and not necessarily in that order? Would you and your young son venture outside into the cold, where the likelihood of being hunted and eaten is high, or stay indoors, where you will inevitably starve to death, soon? Would you try to survive in a barren world, knowing that the Earth is dead, that there is no hope, and that you’re only delaying the inevitable?

Care to contemplate such things for, say, two full hours? It gets worse...

Would you kill another person, in order to save your son? Would you eat someone - if they were dead, or sick, or weak, or maybe just small and delicious-looking? Would you do it to feed your family, as the only means to survive?

Would you stockpile live human-beings in your basement and then slowly eat them to extend their shelf life, an arm or leg at a time? And, were you about to be captured to be stored alive and eaten, limb by limb, would you shoot your small son in the head with your only bullet, to spare him from facing the same fate, even if he’s crying and saying “please, papa, no,”?

These are the questions you ask yourself, minute by minute, second by second, as you watch The Road unfold. Until your emotional self retreats, into the fetal position, and you wait for the movie to end.

If that sounds fun to you, then I recommend "The Road," as a stunningly rendered cinematic feat. The beautiful landscape is darkened sky and ashen ground, and a father and son, trudging through the barren scape, trying to stay human and trying to stay alive - even though neither really matter, any more.

For those of you who will wisely avoid this film like the emotionally-wrenching post-apocalyptic nightmare that it is, I will give you the take home message: When the world ends, and the Earth dies, it will not be a Nick-Cage explodey adventure. It will suck, a lot, and be really, really, sad. The End.