Over the past week or so, I have greeted each day with all the enthusiasm of a one-legged turtle. All of that is based on the assumption that a one-legged turtle would not want to get out of bed, leave the house, talk to people, or lay eyes upon the world as it deservedly turns to ashes after being given chance after chance to make things right.
I realize that this may make me sound like I’m depressed. Oddly enough, I feel quite good, or at least content. I’ll try to explain.
Imagine—if you will—that I am a passenger on a huge passenger ship, we’ll call it the Titanic. No, no, no, I am not Leonardo DiCaprio’s, Jack. I’m just an aging, rotund passenger, happy enough to be on such an amazing boat enjoying the cool sea air and open bar while trying to get a good look at this woman Rose and her breasts that everyone is talking about. In other words, I am a fat, drunk, pervy dude lurking around the main deck, trying not to get thrown in the ship’s brig for boob ogling.
Life is good. I’ve got a few bottles of port procured from an unattended beverage cart and a belly full of food as I lounge under heavy blankets on a deck chair and watch passengers walk to and from dinner, happily unconcerned as the huge ship navigates the cold North Sea dotted with icebergs.
As I finish one bottle, toss it overboard, and open another, I shuffle over to a young man who appears to be part of the ship’s crew.
“So, um, there sure seems to be a lot of icebergs. We good? Seems like one of those could fuck this ship up.”
“Yes, of course, Sir. Captain Smith knows exactly what he’s doing, and this ship can handle anything; you have nothing to fear.”
“If you say so, but it doesn’t look great—”
“Sir, please. We’re fine, you’re drunk, and I need to be going, I’m very busy, and late for my watch!”
“Ok, ok, off you go then Freddy, go clean toilets, or whatever it is you do! You know, back when I was thinking about maybe joining the navy, I —”
And with that, I went back to my bottles of port, and my chair as young Frederick went off to do whatever it is young Frederick does.
I tucked back in under heavy wool blankets, took a deep swig of wine, and felt the warmth of intoxication wash over me.
As small groups of passengers took strolls along the deck after dinner, I would yell out, “LOTS OF FUCKING ICEBERGSH! ICE BERGISHS!!! LOOK AT ‘EM ALL!! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!! Ah fuck it, no one cares… no one cares about the icebergs. I cares about the ize-burgers! I SWEARZ!”
These bursts of drunken profanity were, of course, met with piercing eyes and shouts to shut up and go to bed.
Just as I popped the cork on another bottle, I heard the yell of “Iceberg! Right Ahead!”
Chunks of ice and water sprayed upon the deck, as the ship’s crew quickly ran amuck in search damage.
“ALL CLEAR! SHE’S FINE!!” One crew member shouted.
“No, she’s not,” I muttered under my breath before taking another long swig from my dwindling supply of spirits, leaning back in my chair, and popping my collar to shield the cold ocean spray.
As the damage below became apparent, chaos and panic ensued. There was screaming, yelling, and crying, as underfilled lifeboats of women, children, and cowardly men were lowered into the water.
The number of available lifeboats soon began to dwindle. Several passengers, resound to their fate, retired to their rooms so as to greet death in the cold sea while in the arms of their lover, while others now joined me on deck to sip champagne and silently watch the lifeboats paddle off into the night.
Not looking to be in the company of the passengers and crew who were so quick to ignore me, I grabbed my last bottle and went for a walk alone, doing my best to stay upright atop my drunken legs and the sinking ship below them.
Obviously, it was a rather somber moment, but I was content and awaited my fate, along with 1,500 others.
As I finished the last of my mind-numbing bottles, a voice called out, “COME ON!! WE’VE GOT ROOM FOR ONE MORE!” I looked up to see a small lifeboat about to be lowered. ”HURRY YOU FAT DRUNKEN FOOL! HURRY!”
I looked around to confirm it was I that was being called after. Seeing no one else, I made my way to the boat, squeezed myself in, and watched the ropes lower us to the water. As our small boat rowed away, the immense crooked ship above us creaked, bent, and snapped from the waters intent on sinking it.
My fellow lifeboat passengers screamed and cried at the horror all around them. I pulled a flask of bourbon from my jacket, took a swig, offered some to the young woman next to me, and said, “You know, I warned them about this hours ago. But they wouldn’t listen. I said, ‘Freddy, look at that ice Freddy, look at it!’ But Freddy didn’t care!”
The woman took a drink from the flask, grimaced as the liquor burnt her throat, and handed it back to me.
“What’s your name?” I asked before taking another drink.
“Rose! My name is Rose!” She yelled over the cacophony of noise.
Wiping her lipstick from the mouth of the flask and stuffing it back into my pocket for later, I replied, “Well, it’s nice to meet you Rose. Very nice indeed.”
What the hell does this mean? I have no idea other than the world is a dumpster fire of COVID, climate change, orange fuck faced presidents, and political, social, and racial division. Come November, the country has another chance to come together and say we’re better than this, and I have every reason to believe that it won’t.
However, at some point, you just have to live your life and hope for the best. As long as there are bikes, books, boobs (or man bits if you prefer), beer, cameras, tacos, footy to watch, dogs, legalized in the state of Michigan herbal supplements, and friends to share lifeboats with, we’ll survive. A ship or two may go down, many a dumpster will be set afire, and things will look bleak at times, but it will happen someday. And if it doesn’t, there’s always that flask in your jacket pocket to take a sip from and say, “I told you we were fucked.”
I probably could have summed all this up in one paragraph. I didn’t.