You were born right before covid hit. Covid is a virus. A tiny life form created on a day God was being extra loose with the dice.
A few people died. Many countries put their citizens under lockdown. Including the country your parents chose to run to.
We experienced the first two years of your life indoors. We couldn’t travel. Had to wear masks if we wanted to go out. You didn’t. Luckily. You were often the only one on a crowded tram not wearing a mask.
The news got boring. So many new covid cases this day. These and these restrictions have been changed. Or lifted. Or enforced. Or reinforced. Your parents ignored all this shit most of the time. We had other worries. We did not get caught up in debates over the merit or evil of vaccines. We did not go out to protests. We did not pretend to know the answer to the pandemic. Your father was mostly afraid for his business and how this virus would affect it. Your mother secretly thought: Fuck it, let this stupid virus just run rampant without any restrictions. People die all the time. Your mother is not active on social media and keeps her opinions to herself, so there was no shit storm as a result of this unpopular opinion. Most people accepted all restrictions. They grumbled from time to time, but people being people they accepted whatever the authorities told them to do. At least publicly. Not behind closed doors.
Dogs got very tired when their owners used them as an excuse to get around all the lockdown rules.
As soon as the media finally decided the covid news had been milked enough Putin attacked Ukraine.
How to explain this?
Let’s hand the mic to the current vice-joke, I mean, vice-president of the US: “So, Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine. So, basically, that’s wrong, and it goes against everything that we stand for.”
I’m assuming this explanation was directed at people your age, namely 2,5, so I think you are fully informed now.
Seriously though. We are talking about the most destructive conventional war since the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. I was a kiddo in the 1980s and I confess not being aware of this military conflict at the time. When I was four I was more interested in the battle of the Little Big Horn, the battle of the Berezina and the D-Day landings. Ever the champion of the underdog I rooted for the losing side in all those contests.
Why do I mention this? Because for you it doesn’t mean a thing if there was a killer virus on the prowl or if two slavic peoples are butchering each other. One side heavily supported and galvanized by what we call ‚the west‘ and the other side too rich in natural resources to be completely isolated. I mean, it’s complicated. We can get back to this later. Maybe you will be interested in stuff like this. I can’t say much about it without becoming a wee bit cynical.
What’s a cynic?
A dissilusioned idealist.
What is an idealist?
Someone who wants the best for everyone.
Idealism. It’s a particularly exhausting condition.
When an idealist runs out of steam he/she turns into a cynic.
What’s the difference?
An idealist is still fighting to change things for the better.
A cynic turns away in disgust and makes acerbic comments on what he or she sees happening around him. A cynic hopes to find detachment. A cynic wishes to stop caring. Or if he can’t stop caring he at least tries to make fun of unacceptable situations.
There are quite a few.
You’re too young to hear about this, but here are the first ten fucked up situations that pop into my head:
– there is an outrageous wealth gap between people. The growing difference between those who have and the worker ants or have nots is unsustainable. This alone is creating a social, psychological, economic and political slaughterhouse
– we are overfishing the oceans
– there is plastic in our table salt. I know you are quite fond of plastic since the majority of your toys are made out of plastic, but trust me on this one: you do not want plastic in your table salt.
– young girls are getting more and more depressed because they can’t get the fake ‚perfectly sculpted‘ bodies Instagram and other media bombard them with
– Generally there is a lot fakeness. You could say our entire system drives on fakeness. Fake smiles, fake news, fake information, fake health benefits, fake research results, fake job titles, fake pictures, fake boobs, fake muscles, fake political slogans, etc etc etc
– Not so far from our doorstep a war is raging. Russia has conquered an area of land bigger than Belgium and the Netherlands combined, but has paid a dreadful cost. Lots of young guys a mere 15 years older than you and not much more experienced have lost their lives over something that only makes sense to a few individuals.
– It so happens that those individuals to whom it actually matters are not doing the actual fighting. You’ll soon discover that humanity’s actions tend to be paradoxical and tricky to explain
– Millions of kids are starving
– Meanwhile THE biggest concern millions – if not billions – of people have is: HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT.
– I can’t open YouTube without seeing videos titled ‚the next crash is going to be way worse than the crash of 2008‘ Every decade or so our economy experiences a meltdown.
That’s the just the tip of the iceberg. Just the ten things that spontaneously creep up on me here. This world has shitty issues up the wazoo. Oh, and at some point AI may get so clever that it decides to just wipe out all of humanity. If we don’t beat the robots to it.
I hear you ask: ‚How is it that things are still functioning? At least on the surface.‘
Yeah, if you order pizza it will get delivered to your house.
If you order a book, a toy, a computer, weights, any kind of kitchen appliance, whatever, it will get delivered to your house. There is tap water, there is still electricity, and even gas, the supermarkets still have food, trains are still running, the tax department still knows how much you made last summer…
That’s on the surface… But our inner worlds? Oh dear God.
Loneliness is on the rise. Suicide rates make you wonder why public spaces can still be so crowded. People are having the most inane, the most petty, the most trivial, yet vehement discussions on Twitter, everyone is chasing happiness (often confused with pleasure), we’re all running around like selfish money making machines, people don’t know their neighbours anymore, young people are struggling to maintain relationships and raise families. Trust me, it’s a mess. We’re all toxic addicts looking at every situation going: ‚What it is in it, for ME, for ME, for ME!?!?‘
Ok, now you are staring at the page: ‚Fucking hell, my dad sure is a raging Debby Downer… When am I old enough to move out and get away from this Prince of Darkness??‘
Well, here is the good news: Even though I can’t look at the world thinking our human souls and all that is good in humans are all going down the pooper at a spectacular and unstoppable pace I am really cheerful around you. I hug you a lot, a lot, a lot. I play with you, I swing you in my arms, I make you laugh, I tickle you, I buy you gifts, I slip you snacks when your mum is not watching (or I talk myself into believing she is not watching cause your mother sees everything), I look at picture books with you, I ALWAYS smile at you the first thing in the morning. On some level I haven’t given up hope. I mean, why would I put you on this earth if I was 100 percent convinced this really were the end times?
Here’s what I hope: Humanity may indeed be doomed, BUT the real end times will happen maybe 150 years in the future. That’s my hope.Or perhaps so many people will spot how unhappy they really are, how the things they are pursuing are not fulfilling them in the end and will go on a journey of self-discovery and one by one they will pop up, individually, like budding flowers and some new wave will come. A summer of love lasting not just one season, but maybe hundreds of seasons. That is the dream. It doesn’t look that way now. But the same YouTube that offers me daily predictions of a looming total economic collapse offers me a ton of so called self-help content. Some of which is really quite valuable and insightful. And those videos have millions of views.
Perhaps people are in fact slowly discovering that if we don’t start taking caring of each others, if we don’t adjust our toxic behavior, if we don’t embrace Love as our most important value, we will perish as a society.
I am a cynic, but you don’t need to dig deep to uncover the idealist.
That’s why I still think you could have done a lot worse in the father department.