Like many philosophically minded people before me, I’ve long been an ingrate. For how can I be grateful to “The Universe Or, Like, Whatever” (T.U.O.L.W. being the official name for God, now, in California) for my own health, prosperity, or relative safety when, out there, somewhere (in Africa—the example is always Africa, the entire continent), there’s a baby that is, right at this very moment, being —– and given —- while watching her entire family be ——. (If you’d like, the preceding sentence is a real downer of a Wheel of (Mis)Fortune puzzle; you’re free to solve it.)
Which is all to say: if I’m grateful to T.U.O.L.W. for the fall leaves and all this abundance, don’t I also have to be pissed at T.U.O.L.W. about that baby? (I’d answer that question, but I’m busy flicking the long black bangs out of my eyes, taking a long, French-film drag off of a cigarette, and staring out into the middle distance.)
Oh, sad, smart, cocky youth! Oh syllogisms! Oh tragic world! Oh T.U.O.L.W.! Save us from the labyrinths that are our minds!
For T.U.O.L.W. works in, like, mysterious ways. And now is not the time to think of African babies catching —- while being —–. Now is the time to think of the beauty of the fall leaves and the abundance that the global economic system forged through centuries of exploitation has brought to this land that we happen to have been born into.
Damn it! Stop it brain! Did not F. Scott Fitzgerald once say that the “test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function”? (I’ll tell you, he did, I just copied and pasted it in after Googling it.) And don’t you want to have a first-rate intelligence, self? Or at least an intelligence somewhere in the top ratings?
Yes, yes you do. And so let us then, fellow Americans, be pissed at T.U.O.L.W. for that baby and all her baby friends, but foreground, during this festive and fall-leaf-color-blessed-time, our gratitude, or at least expressions of gratitude, that is, sentences structured such that their linguistic makeup signifies, “I am grateful.”
For, truly, I am grateful; for the kindness that exists in all of us, for music and art and beauty, for mothers’ love and fraternal sacrifice, for this planet that T.U.O.L.W. has blessed us with, with her unfathomable interconnectedness and deep intelligence, for all these simple things.
I’ll have your back again next month, African Babies.