“Thirty miles northwest of a small village named Pisinemo (or Pisin Mo’o) is an inscribed stone, overgrown in a copse of ironwood, cholla and whitethorn acacia. The inscription refers to a very popular poem in the rustic dialect, about the heroine Roya Teymu, who recoverd the use of her mutilated limbs at this sacred site.” From a pamphlet, “A Brief History of Utterance Rock’, Oracle Junction Press, 1956, 16 pages.
Anyone my age (62) or older has lived in worlds that are now gone. I wonder if worlds collapse more often in the modern era. People seem more restless, more ready to scrap old worlds and leave them behind.
Yet the carcasses of the old worlds get dragged along with the new. The ghosts follow us. For me, the two ghosts that haunt the coronavirus pandemic are the Vietnam War and the arrival of AIDS in America. I remember the United States government at those times was bumbling and callous, and full of ridiculous liars who caused thousands of unnecessary deaths. I remember during those times some Americans were cruel in their ignorance.
When I unearthed this diagram in 2018, I did not know what it represented. An imaginary pamphlet came along with it, but it was not very informative, and I found nothing more within myself, or in the outside universe. The story would not emerge until now. This is a cancer map. It is a coronavirus chart. It’s a survey of the end of the world.
“Key facts. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.” From WHO, the result of a Google search “worldwide cancer deaths in one year”.
At least 40% of the people who live in the United States will get cancer. I’m not going to compare the risks of getting cancer to the risks of getting Covid-19. I lost my two younger sisters to cancer last year. Their deaths brought my world to an end, and now I live in a new world. I don’t want this new world, I’d rather have my sisters. I don’t get that choice. Nobody gets that choice. There are a lot of circumstances in life that are not in our control. We will be forced to accept living with coronavirus like we have been forced to live with cancer. Why should we fret about it? It’s just the end of the world.
There’s a funny thing that happens when your world ends. You can look back and see that the world has come to an end many times. Before coronavirus I already knew that we were living in a post-apocalyptic world. The end of the world does not happen like it does in the movies. Tina Turner does not strut through the wreckage in a skimpy chain mail dress. Nor does it end in the way that is hoped and longed for by the preppers and the Christians; the world ended and they didn’t even notice; when it ends again, they will remain oblivious. The Jehovah Witnesses have picked several dates for the end of the world, and maybe they weren’t wrong, maybe they’re just confused about what to do in the aftermath. We have gone through Y2K and 2012, and I’m sure the year 999 was a crazy year before the end of the Millennium. And let’s not forget all the past extinctions! How ’bout the one that’s called “The Great Dying”, when 90% of all life on earth just went away? Yet there was a world after that. There had to be, for us to be here on this planet.
I recommend picking your own past end date for the world. Personally, I like October 12, 1997 as the end of the world. Welcome to the New Post-Apocalypse! You don’t have to accessorize with chain mail, leather pants and a blow torch (unless that’s your thing). You don’t have to stock a basement full of canned food and bottled water. You don’t have to mount a gun to cover every window and door. The disaster you tried to get ready for has already happened. The revolution you were planning has come and gone. There is no future.
You have this moment, now. The world is still here.