It is a strange time when the American Way of Life crashes. Fear and a sense of impending doom tend to drive otherwise rational people into deep fits of despair. People drool and babble and fall all over themselves at the prospect of having to live within their means. When Americans are forced to accept personal responsibility for their actions rather than hurl insults and slander at abstractions like â€œcapitalismâ€ or â€œsocialismâ€ or â€œgovernmentâ€ things turn grim. The money whores in this nation have plunged us all into the darkness, but it’s the perverted â€œkeeping up with the Jonesesâ€ attitude we’re all guilty of that has spawned these cash-guzzling pimps. A strange time indeed. But I never expected that when the American Way of Life fell, it would fall directly onto me.
This morning I woke up early and took a stroll around the neighborhood. Suddenly, with no warning, a monstrous object hit me square on the top of my head. I was knocked unconscious, for how long I do not know. I awoke to find that the force of the blow had driven my spine straight out the small of my back and into the ground! I hung there, dangling on my own spine like a scarecrow. As panic began to set in, I looked around to see if what had hit me was still there. Lo and behold, just a few yards away, the American Way of Life was lying in a bloody heap, barely breathing. Where had it come from? I cast my eyes skyward and was gripped with fear at the sight hovering above me. The Economy loomed overhead, laughing maniacally at my predicament. â€œWhat have you done, you cruel monster? Are you the one responsible for hurling the stock market down on me!?â€ I cried out. But the Economy just laughed and spit on me.
â€œPoor foolâ€, he bellowed, â€œI may have no regard for you or your way of life, but do not think that I am some dumb brute of a monster. I am complex and I work in mysterious ways! But I am a tragic being as well. For I am controlled like a puppet by forces which you can never hope to understand. I have sent yourâ€¦way of life crashing on top of you because YOU became lax at the helm, but I have also done it because I CAN!â€ He reached down and slapped me across my face for emphasis. I began thrashing about wildly in a fear-driven rage, twisting and turning to free myself from the ground, but the more I swung my arms and legs around, the further my spine buried itself in the ground.
â€œYou sick, twisted fiend! If I get free from here I’ll grab your â€˜helm’ and control you myself! I refuse to give up my way of life, my opulent lifestyle. If I don’t have the latest and greatest toys I am NOTHING! I will bring you under my power and make you MY SLAVE!â€ I shook my fist at him, but I knew my threat was idle as I sunk ever deeper into the ground.
â€œYou petty little manâ€, the Economy snarled backed at me. â€œYou can never control me. No single man can possibly hope to wield a sword big enough to control my actions!â€ He reached down and punched me in the face with a huge fist. â€œThat is for having the audacity to think that I can be made to bend to the wishes of the people by one man. You know nothing about me!â€
â€œYou son of a bitch! It is you who has plunged this country into the abyss! It is you who has thrown us all into a pit of despair!â€ I reached behind me and grabbed my spine in a futile attempt to pull it out of the ground and free myself of my bonds. The Economy leaned down close to me with the faintest look of sympathy in his eyes.
â€œNo. It is you who has plunged America into the abyss. Humans have done this. Humans and their predilection for greed are the ones. Wall Street, the auto industry, banks, people with foreclosed homes, they are the ones. The American Dream is not to own everything in sight, it is to have the opportunity to work and take home your earnings and buy what you can afford, not to live beyond your means like some feudal lord. The American Dream is about freedom from oppression and being responsible enough to earn a decent living. It is not about wealth and materialism. You Americans have lost sight of the Dream and your blindness has left you at the mercy of me and my whimsical ways.â€
â€œBut, but, what about my Hummer? My boat? My 96-inch TV? My Jet Ski? I’ll have to sell them just to make my next mortgage payment! Fuck! I took out three of them just to get that stuff! It’s the politicians’ fault! It’s Wall Street’s fault! They should pay!â€
â€œDo you think they are politicians and bankers who have done this? No. It is you, you and others like yourself who control me. Yes, thoseâ€¦politicians, and others who you are quick to point the finger at, yes they have power over me, but you do too, so do not think that it is some injustice done to you solely by others that has caused my mood to sour and hurl your way of life down onto your ignorant little head. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and stop trying vainly to free yourself from the ground. It is ALL of you fools who are responsible. Your rash actions and quickness to blame ME has clouded your judgment. THINK and use wise judgment and you can recover from this.â€
â€œBut how? I am TRAPPED! Who will save me from rotting here on my own spine? I slumped forward in defeat.
â€œYOU will. I will send a politician to pull you out of the ground, but your injuries are severe. It will be up to you and you only to get back onto your feet and heal your wounds. Just remain calm and free of rashly made decisions and you will be fine.â€ He snapped his massive fingers. Out of nowhere, a hulking rat ran up to me and pulled my spine out of the ground. The pain left me weak and unable to move. I fought against it, but I slipped back into unconsciousness. When I awoke, I was all aloneâ€¦
Art Wellersdick (yes, that’s his real name) writes for Synthesis Weekly