We navigate thruways, parkways, and freeways as if they are the Daytona International Speedway and rage at drivers causing us to arrive at Hooters eight seconds later than we planned. We work stress filled 12-hour days fueled with 5-hour Energy drink and get behind the wheel bug-eyed and ready for combat.
We take children who need an honest talk and a hug and feed them Prozac. We nurture kids on video games that celebrate, glorify, and award points for horrific cold-blooded massacres. For young people with XY chromosomes, brute force is not simply a birthright, it’s an imperative.
We end marriages and relationships because recapturing the thrill of being 21 and on the prowl is virtually unattainable, and thereby provide our sons and daughters with as many broken homes as humanly possible.
We send young men and women off to godforsaken hellholes around the world with the promise of personal fulfillment and money for education. When they return with posttraumatic stress disorder we issue them Zoloft and put them on a VA hospital line that stretches around the Pentagon. We shutter mental health facilities to lower property taxes three percent.
We push increasingly elusive material goals like they were crack cocaine to the masses, who are forced to function more like day laborers with each passing year and are up to their eyeballs in debt. We are constantly reminded of what we don’t have by a 24/7 bombardment of images featuring the super rich and the impossibly beautiful.
We elect a president who equates his public support with a carte blanche to gun down enemies and strangers in broad daylight. Who cannot muster the personal warmth of a slug. Who incites brownshirt tactics against dissenters at public rallies. Who puts everyday protesters and the Ku Klux Klan on an equal footing. Who has normalized sexual assault. Who has convinced white America that black, brown, foreign and Muslim people are standing between it and the American Dream. Who confronts the most serious nuclear threat the world has faced in 55 years with schoolyard name calling and inane threats to obliterate millions of people from the face of the earth.
We fiercely protect the right to own and acquire AK-47s, SIG Sauer SIG516s, Glocks, and bump stocks while suppressing the right to vote. We equate the indiscriminate purchase and use of firearms with freedom. We conflate the right to hunt with the right to hunt people. When massacres transpire and the time seems ripe to discuss the killing fields that are the United States of America we say, “Too soon!” When a bit of time has elapsed we resume talking about the plot to institute Sharia law and Khloé Kardashian. We sell ammo like PEZ.
What could possibly go wrong?
Rich Herschlag is well into his third decade as an author, consulting engineer, husband and father and is very tired.