“We both know the difference between right and wrong. Life is full of temptation; it’s so hard to be strong. Seems like everything good is bad, and everything bad is good.” — 100 Proof (Aged in Soul)
Ain’t that the damn truth? Sometimes I’d really like to know whose brilliant idea it was to set up the world where most of the really fun stuff is bad for you.
You know, there are all sorts of different theories about how life on earth began — some more scientific-y than others — but among them is the very entertaining idea that we were planted here long ago by an intellectually superior alien race who engineered our DNA, got everything all set up for us, and then stepped back to watch us develop as part of some sort of ambitious science experiment.
I kind of picture it like something akin to the plot of Stephen King’s gargantuan science fiction novel “Under the Dome,” where a group of mischievous adolescent extraterrestrials used their super-fancy technology to trap an entire town under an impenetrable dome, cutting them off from the rest of the world with no warning or explanation.
(If you’re watching the new TV series on CBS instead of taking a year-long leave of absence from work to find time to read the book, don’t worry about the spoilers. King and the show’s other writers have already revealed that they significantly altered the story line for the series and so far, it seems to be a rather loose interpretation.)
In the novel, the purpose of the alien teens’ cruel little “experiment” was to sit back and watch the confused and frightened townspeople slowly fall apart for their own amusement. It was sort of like their own little ant farm, except instead of an intricate network of highly cooperative eusocial insects, they were dealing mostly with desperate and self-serving human beings who end up looting, killing each other and basically burning down the whole damn town.
King’s novel was a commentary on the nature of humanity in general and, specifically, the way we react to crisis and fear of the unknown. Of course we’d never have to worry about such things here in Mobile. If we were all trapped under a dome together without any escape or outside influence, we’d surely fare much better. If civilization collapsed at all, we would merely collapse into non-stop Mardi Gras parades with short breaks for racially harmonious elections and perhaps a friendly bout of negotiations about who should manage the emergency shelter set up at the Saenger. But I digress, as usual.
Whatever smart-aleck extraterrestrial cooked up our DNA in a lab practically set us up to fail by making all the fun stuff so darn unhealthy. It’s really not fair and I’m quite sure they did it on purpose just so they can laugh while they watch us poor slobs squirm.
You’ll have to forgive me for being a little cranky and incoherent today. That’s just because I’m hungry. I’ve been counting calories lately and they add up way too quickly for me to eat any of the good stuff. Yes, I know it seems like I’m ALWAYS on a diet but it’s really not my fault. The aliens did this to me — to us all — on purpose, and it was probably like this right from the start.
Just ask Fred Flinstone about those brontosaurus burgers and ribs. Sure, he could have been eating grilled pterodactyl salads, but they obviously don’t taste nearly as good. Plus, they needed to keep their poultry alive to serve as airplanes, sewing machines and car horns. Set up to fail, right from the start. The only reason Wilma was so thin was because she always had that string of rocks wound around her neck choking her and making it difficult to swallow.
It’s not just food either. There’s nothing like a nice summer tan to make you feel vibrant and attractive, but a big ‘ole patch of scaly skin cancer has a way of killing the sexy vibe. Cigarettes can be rather tasty alongside a nice cocktail, but you may as well be sucking on a pack of suicide sticks. Extravagant shopping sprees are mighty fun, but unless you’re actually wealthy, they only lead to financial stress and ruin.
Wild crime sprees? Drinking to excess? Nothing but trouble. Fornication? It really doesn’t sound that bad as long as you’re single, but my grandmother always insisted it causes puppies to cry and angels to lose their wings. Or something like that.
Hell, even meth sounds pretty darn enticing if you ignore the eventual consequences. Bear with me here. As a huge “Breaking Bad” fan I know meth is no joke and I’ve also seen it destroy the lives of several people I’ve known. It’s tragic and disturbing what it can do to people, but have you heard the way they describe it in all those articles warning you about how awful it is? No wonder it sucks people in so quickly.
“Early methamphetamine use causes intense euphoria, an escape from negative emotions and painful memories, increased confidence and social enjoyment, increased focus and productivity, increased energy and the ability to stay awake for days, weight loss, and increased libido and sexual enjoyment.”
After reading the first few paragraphs you’re almost ready to pull out your old chemistry books and put Saul Goodman on speed dial. Until you get to the bad parts, and then of course you’re like, “Gross. Screw that nasty crap.”
When I’m watching football next Saturday with my brothers, chewing on a carrot while I watch them scarf down pizza, meatball subs, hot wings, chips, dips, ice cream, and at least a half-dozen kinds of cheese, I think I’ll make a point to listen closely to that sound way off in the distance. I’m pretty sure it’s the aliens laughing. Jerks.