It just occurred to him, when did his culture become so rinky-dink? Everyone so messianically self-assured – always capable of passing judgment on anyone – when did it happen? He couldn’t put his finger on any moment but he felt it, and he was pretty sure everyone else in this culture felt it – because it had all slipped, seismically, a trickle of sand that turned into a torrent of bedrock that turned its back on us and slid into the abyss.

This thought occurred when he turned off the radio in disgust. The first thought had been: when did DJ’s start whining? Sure, on-air self analysis—that was OK, ranting—call it like it is—complaining, get it out—but whining? here is the DJ telling us about his mother who won’t take care of herself, won’t do anything they suggest, and always wants a pill to make it all better. He starts this private glimpse by starting with – “let’s talk about my Mother and her drug use”, and continues.

Driving, he just let the idiot prattle on. But when the music started he turned the radio off in disgust—with himself. He had just listened to that idiot go on and on – and that was when, looking out the window of the car watching various levels of the superhighway go by each etched with its trim of lights — he realized his disgust was generated by this DJ sharing with his audience this incredible judgment – that his Mother was worthy of scorn, derision, possibly a social outcast and lesser person because she wanted a drug to make things better!

He thought “I’d take a drug that makes everything better.”

The thought settled on him then. This conviction that everyone was willing to judge each other at a moment’s notice – harshly, vindictively. Because, after words, there would be general acclaim, sharing, and vindication. We judge to do so publicly and expect to be noticed in return. To be agreed with, to be deemed worthy of inclusion, rather than exclusion  — guaranteed certitude based and a smidge of self-importance. God, he thought, when did it all begin – the beginning of the end?

Then the sour thought occurred – no — this has been going on since… forever. Is that it? Is that our, mankind’s, fate? Mankind is an oxymoron?

(a quick note of explanation—this begins the 5th chapter of The World is So Poetic: Essays—it’s gonna be poetic prose for awhile — and how better to start than with a muse upon the obvious oxymoron “poetic prose”?)

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