I would rather quick oblivion rather than humourless survival, lectured by Bear Grylls types about how I’d be dead if they hadn’t rescued me from being caught on the door handle by my belt-loop, writes Colm O’Regan
Most of us are very fortunate. We never have to worry about the end of our world. We may fear death. That’s easy — the regrets about not treating someone right, not bringing all the one and two-cent coins to the bank, not seeing all the telly that was on our to-do list; or worse, seeing all the telly that was on our to-do list and realising that hadn’t brought any happiness either.
But it’s abstract, whereas the sort of dread about the future of the world seems much more vivid.
Now, I’m not saying that the election of Trump is going to bring about the end of civilisation. There are probably some checks and balances. For example, when he looks for the nuclear codes, the guy who carries them everywhere might have been instructed to pat his midriff and exclaim that he must have left them in the pocket of his other trousers. It’s the people around Trump that are scarier. The assistant Trumps, young Trumps and Trumps-in-law. If it were a movie, Trump might be defeated with twenty minutes to go but the third act would be finding out it was actually his son-in-law all along. He would say in the reveal “you don’t think ‘The Donald’ would have been able to plan all this by himself do you? Please Mrs Fletcher don’t be absurd.” Because almost all of the Trump entourage look like they did the murder in Murder She Wrote after the Mexican guy they’d framed was proven innocent.
The last fortnight was so momentous, no matter what side of the argument you must have felt everything had changed utterly.
You could be like me, apparently a special snowflake liberal feminist, in thrall to the gays and the greens, the gluten free and the PC brigade, betraying the proud history of my gender. On the other hand you could be a cruelly suppressed white male living in fear of having your beliefs questioned, the past few months a misery. Finally you can speak freely. Now is your time. Either way you must have felt an existential shiver.
When I get existential I get apocalyptic. The feeling passed quickly enough. Life goes on. But for the little while that over-the-top feeling was there, I quickly assessed my survivability. And the conclusion wasn’t good. I think I’d be gone quite early. As soon as the hot water tank was empty (after I had one monster shower to make myself feel better), as soon as the broadband was gone and I had no way of tweeting ironically, I’d be gone too. Killed by an amateur irradiated zombie on work-experience, who wasn’t even trying to get me. Normally that wouldn’t bother me. I’m softhanded and useless. No one needs jesters in nuclear wastelands. And I would rather quick oblivion rather than humourless survival being lectured by Bear Grylls types about how I’d be dead if they hadn’t rescued me from being caught on the door handle by my belt-loop.
But now that I’ve a daughter, I guess I’d better try and survive for her. It’s interesting how quickly you think in those terms. Where would you go? Underground is good — but we neglected to build anything underground apart from the odd car park or tunnel. Caves are notoriously damp here, due to lax building regulations. The countryside is an option, back to my roots. But while they might welcome me back for the odd visit, I think the attitude would change if I became a strain on resources. Even getting there is impossible. The escape of the masses from the flaming cities would be the Bank Holiday Friday to end all Bank Holiday Fridays.
In terms of eating, what was the last animal you snuck up on close enough to attack? Probably a cat. A cat who knows you don’t have it in you because he’s sitting on your chair and you let him. I’d better stop thinking like this or it’ll be a long four years. Or eight. [Gulp]
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