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 (“Confusion” by Gujjarappa B G) 

We live in terror, yes? Not just me this time? Yesterday, I read this: More “deaths of despair” now than ever before. (More suicides. More overdoses.) 

More bigotry. More rage. More floods. More droughts. More extremes of every kind.

So many ways the world could end. Bang, whimper, fire, ice. Add another way each day. It’s a race, breathtaking to watch, to see what kills us first. We’re out of “if”s by now; we’re left with only “when”s.

Are we? One thing that blurs my thinking is the fact that every generation (or so) assumes it’s the last. This turns out to be a narcissistic delusion, every time. (So far.) Only now is important, we/I think. The past was just the (retrospectively predictable) build-up to this moment right here, where, as it turns out, I live. Of course my ancestors were wrong—or else I wouldn’t be here now to be so right.

At the same time—and this is the wonder of it, for me—at the very same time I’m assuming my doom, I make plans. I invest in retirement. I buy life insurance. I save my frequent flyer miles to visit cities that may be underwater, or on fire, by the time I get there.

I take long, hot baths. I sip vodka through a plastic straw. I write “slice of life” stories. I have a seven-year subscription to The New Yorker. I look forward to grandchildren.

We live in (t)error, yes? But I really don’t see how to fix it, today, apart from rinsing off my plastic straw so I can use it forever, in every screwdriver I drink.