Eclipse! end of the world edition

The eclipse is coming, the eclipse is coming! Pack up the car and make a run for it. It’s some sort of attack by alien forces that control the celestial dome above our heads. No, forget that. There is no escape! We’re all doomed! No, wait. Just get a pair of those special glasses and you’ll be safe. But make sure you don’t buy the counterfeit ones that will permit the sun’s rays–prior to the eclipse taking its complete blockage–to burn your retina and maybe blind you. Yeah. That’s the world we live in. A virtual once-in-a lifetime event and the scam artists are finding ways to exploit it for profit over people’s vision health. 

Wait. Someone is trying to put profits before public health? Big deal. That’s called free-market Capitalism, no? Just ask our congressional right-wingers who seem determined to kill millions of Americans so that insurance companies are kept as the money skimming predators of public health. It’s business as usual. Profit. What else matters? Wall Street is being taken care of. Record high DOW numbers! In fact, things are going so well now for the running dog lackeys of those bull market profiteers that when President What the Fuck Did He Say Now?! just yesterday threatened nuclear war as in “fire and fury like the world has never seen before” regarding North Korea, did the markets freak? Did the DOW drop 700 pts.? Did the hedge fund managers pack their cars and head to their well-appointed bomb shelters? It hiccupped, as in losing 33 pts. Really? Investors didn’t cash out and bug out? We’re talking nuclear holocaust. Hmm. I guess President Strangelove’s blithering have proven to be so much hot air that even posturing so irresponsibly about nuking another country didn’t rattle our financial markets. 

That eclipse, though. In long, long ago times, early Homo sapiens certainly cowered in terror. Great fiery ball in sky! It gone! Or maybe they grunted to that effect. Now? Seriously, what can truly shock anyone anymore? Mass shootings? 15 year-olds committing suicide? Genocide? Serial killers? Terror attacks in crowded public places? Scapegoating minorities? Bald-faced xenophobia? Stolen elections? The fish-stinks-from-the-head-down corrupting? Different day, same stories. Craziness is the new normal. Science is dismissed as a hoax a la climate change is “fake news,” and vaccinating your children causes autism. Is it any wonder that very young opioid users even infest pristine suburbia while refugees flee their countries in order to avoid getting their heads lopped off for embracing a certain religion or being of a certain ethnicity. Or having their limbs scattered far and wide due to conventional or drone bombings hitting those high value targets. Or just fleeing for simple survival. Drought, starvation. No clean water. Not a leaf to eat. Does this fact shock anyone?: nearly half of the world’s population of 7+ billion live in dire poverty, even if they aren’t dodging bombs or bullets.

I’m thinking a total eclipse of the sun might not be too memorable an event  for such a beleaguered people, existing as they do on the ground floor of Maslow’s pyramid, where simply getting enough food, water, warmth and rest is each day’s business of the day. They can only dream of making it to the next floor of that pyramid and find security and safety.

However, if we all get nuked, the financial markets or simply finding legit eclipse glasses won’t matter. All those junkies out there? One wonders, why the spike in users? Maybe they’re ahead of the rest of us non-users. Reality bites. A sort of opioid beam me up attitude.

The towns that are in the direct path of the total eclipse are anticipating mobs of people invading hamlets large and small. Good for local business. Eyes to the sky, folks. Got those glasses? And no doubt the carnival barking doomsayers are preaching the sun won’t come back. Repent! Save yourself! All the while selling doomsday T-shirts from roadside stands. $20 a piece. Two for $35.

Yes, something REALLY BIG is coming! Only those who have the time and money to indulge it as a road trip will get to appreciate its totality. Once in a lifetime, ya know. Then again, if it turns out that before August 21st, there’s another extreme event having to do with a don’t look directly at it without protective glasses comes first, well…. That would be the one that ultimately takes the shape of a mushroom. Uh oh. Refugees, opioid addicts, hedge fund billionaires, science-deniers, jihadists, Game of Thrones junkies, artists, or whatever one’s mojo is will be about to a go-go. 

Then its back to sticks and stones, as Einstein famously noted. Old Sol may “disappear” momentarily in a week or so, but it’ll come right back, casting a blinding light on darkest parts of humankind’s rapacious, belligerent and blockheaded tendencies.  One way or another, Earth seems on the brink of a burn out, be it a nuclear ash end-game, or human activity-assisted climate collapse. I doubt there are any special glasses that will mitigate the effects of either of those dire events coming to pass. Just in case, check eBay or Amazon. You never know…





About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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