Thursday, February 4, 2010

Around the Campfire

I have studied the foibles of humankind—the wars and genocides, the purges and scandals, the conflicts and tumults. I keep coming back to Rodney King’s perennial question: Can we all get along? Why can’t we just gather around the campfire, hold hands, sing songs, maybe roast some marshmallows, and tell ghost stories? Perhaps we might momentarily break away from the beach party and with a few friends skip on down the shoreline under the moon and stars. Yeah, in this scenario we, in a spontaneous moment of joie de vivre, might just slip off our swim trunks and go skinny dipping, experiencing in wild abandon the exhilaration of life without analysis or commentary.

Why can’t life be like this? Why? I’ll tell you why! A huge shark will bite your frickin’ legs off, my friend! Besides, you wouldn’t survive the campfire unscathed. You’d contract some venereal disease, what with all the hand holding. Vegetarians and PETA would get on your case for eating marshmallows because the gelatin contained therein is made from animal products. Your campfire songs about community and brotherhood will be labeled socialist drivel from righties, while your mention of God will offend the lefties. Inevitably, someone will lace the smores with LSD. Eventually the beach party would descend into half-naked drunks throwing plastic bottles of their urine into the fire just to watch them melt and explode. Then there’s the pyromania freakazoid who tosses a can of hair spray into the flames and risks a major conflagration just because he thought it was “cool.” All of a sudden you realize: “What the hell am I doing here in this cesspool of humanity? I’d be better served leaving the campfire and going out to fight wars or join a gang, something useful at any rate!”