Power tools, Barbies, weapons grade plutonium. The world spawning the Post-Apocalyptic Savage quickened like the surge of a dying beast’s last desperate breath, in an effort to reach the most profound heights in the least amount of time. Like a large pool of water, dammed and still before a trickling riverbed …. a cask of wine corked in the hand of a snoring Dionysus … an overcrowded expressway of yearnings and desires forced to a standstill on a muggy afternoon … humanity came to a standstill.
Up ahead stood the inner critic’s checkpoint. Heart-centered movements were strip-searched, abused, and left to run out of gas with little hope of roadside assistance.
Columbus’ “discovery” of America may have opened up a few more lanes. Stranded pilgrims took to whatever frontiers remained—relentless seas, uninfected lands, the abysmal recesses of the mind. At the quickest speed that horses, sails, and slaves could muster, they pushed onward. They hoped with the mere implication that distance could be ignored. That was, of course, until there was nowhere else to go.
In time, what was abandoned again overtook. Nature either assimilated or was forced further underground. To compensate, a person began to own a lot more toys. Technological innovation, the never-before ease of information and corruption seemingly harder to conceal created a naively optimistic period. Even the church and state had been forced to assume separate wardrobes.
Blinded by progress, humanity’s bright future grew with the world’s highways and flyways, shrinking in their expansion. People felt a need to go places, see things and to experience the world around them. Business flourished, McDonaldization made its way into the dictionary, and corporate executives with black metal expense accounts ruled. Tourists needed a place to eat and those glowing arches meant familiarity. Even if you didn’t speak the language, all you had to do was pick a number. It was a time of immense innovation and heavy pollution, an era of free-thinkers and conglomerations, an epoch of robber barons staking their claims as the wealthiest men alive—and you better believe they had every intention of staying that way.
So, when environmentalists warned Spaceship Earth was showing signs of engine failure, was it any surprise most ignored the portents like the irritating “Service Engine Soon” light seen on automobile dashboards? Everyone had one, and even if they didn’t, someone owned an extra one for them: a car—better yet, an SUV for those untamed roads of the imagination.
“Why buy a wimpy car,” a commercial asked, “when you could trudge through canyons and creeks, wild and free in a brand new SUV?” Many bought into the magic only a commercial culture could create: “The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup.”
“Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.”
“You’re not fully clean unless you’re Zestfully clean.”
“The quicker, thicker, picker-upper!”
A typical commercial might begin with an unsatisfied specimen confronted with a problem like bad breath or nagging children. Enter the product and the ambiguous expert opinion—“two out of three doctors recommend (fill in the blank)”—and, viola, problem solved.
All are smiles of contentment.
No witch’s cauldron or praise for Hecate, no enchanted wands or potion vials, just a culture dominated by image. Take away the sense of sight in all people occupying Spaceship Earth in the beginning of the 21st century and you reduce the civilization to savages—still indebted to the metal beasts in their garages.
But then something did happen—a subtle force so strong it made the hair rise on the back of an antelope’s foreskin. A force so otherworldly it unified humanity after an existence of squabbling. A force so fantastic it brought all who could stand flailing wildly out into the streets. A few humans survived their planet, and society became nothing more than a giant pimple burst on the looking glass of the universe.
Post Apocalyptic Savage! Get yours today!
Joel Finsel is the author of “Cocktails and Conversations from the Astral Plane,” and writes creative short stories, essays and musings every other week in encore throughout 2014.