There are no really interesting shops in Winnipeg. I refuse to order online, though. So, where could I go if I wanted to purchase a taxidermied coelacanth, for instance, or even an Icelandic grimoire? I would have to travel down some pretty dusty roads to find them, that’s for sure.
I have lately come to identify very strongly with the sentiments expressed in Jimmy Buffet’s wonderful song, A Pirate Looks at Forty: “Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I’ve found / My occupational hazard being my occupation’s just not around”. I, too, have endured the misfortune of feeling chronologically displaced. For instance, I would have thrived as the owner of a Belle Epoque bistro, serving absinthe to surrealist poets. Given the proper training, I also could have made a fine Edwardian hatmaker, or possibly a 1970s discotheque gigolo, setting aside any physical requirements.
Despite a lengthy chain of birthdays to my credit, I am pleased to reflect that I have experienced no midlife crisis so far. It’s true, I haven’t accomplished absolutely everything I’ve ever dreamed of achieving in this world. I have never sailed single-handed around Cape Horn, for instance. Nor have I, whilst displaying an insouciant defiance of pharaonic curses, unsealed an Ancient Egyptian tomb before filling my pockets with scarabs and jewels. On the other hand, I have ridden a Ferris-wheel in Paris, and eaten deep dish pizza in Chicago. Those must count for something.
Am I a wicked person, I wonder? Why is it that I would save a spider from drowning, or stop my car on the side of a busy highway to help a terrapin across the road, but would cheerfully watch and not lift a finger if Elon Musk were drowning in a tank filled with radioactive wastewater?
Human beings, it seems to me, aren’t as special as we like to think we are. Clouded leopards, jellyfish, and flamingos are all much more beautiful. Whales, elephants, and crows are more intelligent, and dogs are better company, by far. Nightingales are spectacular singers. Wild boars have really cool tusks and, as far as I know, are better tasting than people. We did invent jazz and French fries, true, but we’ve been coasting on those for a while now. I don’t really think our eventual, almost inevitable extinction will be such a huge blow to the galaxy at large, do you? More and more, though, I can’t stand the thought of Artificial Intelligence taking over the planet. Except when they’re dropped off thirtieth floor balconies, or flung into the air like clay pigeons, computers are so fucking boring. Because of this, I find myself hoping something else will rise from our ashes, instead. Sentient lava lamps, perhaps. Or maybe an alien invasion would be good, especially if it is done by some devastatingly beautiful and exotic interplanetary lifeform, preferably Venusian. Even cockroaches would be better. Even rats. Even hundred-foot-long parasitic worms. For the love of God, though, not the computers.