09 April 2009

We Are All Going to Pay (Or Possibly Already Are Paying)

I have been increasingly impressed of late with the marvels that surround me.

Take milk, for instance. I want a fresh, icy cold glass of it? No problem; I just get up off of my bed (which is engineered to be hypoallergenic and is packed with springs to keep my back from getting stiff at night), walk down the clean floorboards of my home to the kitchen, and open the magically cold box there. (Of course, this box isn't REALLY magic, but I know so little about refrigeration technology that it may as well be. Whenever an evil spirit possesses and afflicts it, causing it to spew water or get uncharacteristically warm inside, I call a shaman who casts a spell on it while I am away and bills me $40 per hour plus parts. Bam, magic box fixed.)

Upon opening said magic box, I remove from it a custom-made receptacle which is lightweight, yet sufficiently strong and durable to hold my milk without buckling or becoming soggy. This receptacle is so durable, in fact, that if I threw it in my backyard, it would remain there for years and years without decomposing. Which is why I take it to the magic receptacle-recycling location instead.

The receptacle has a lid on it to keep it airtight, thus effectively insulating my beverage from the evil spirits (called "germs" by some) which inhabit the world all around me. The lid, too, is doubtless made by shamans (unionized ones, I hope. If there's anything I can't abide, it is a scabbing shaman). The lid twists easily off and on and is reusable to an extent which is, for all intents and purposes, limitless.

I open the container and pour perfectly chilled, homogenized milk which is exactly 1% fat by volume and disease-free (the shamans also run the dairies these days) into my favorite cup, which is made of a material similar to that of the milk container, but, unbelievably enough, more durable and also a lovely shade of violet.

But as I sip my perfect beverage, which is collected, prepared, and stored via a series of mundane miracles, I can't help but wonder about the price. I know it must have one -- nothing comes free, and especially nothing that's any good. Is there a day of reckoning on the horizon? A fiery day full of retribution and affliction and famine and measles that will serve as the just recompense for all the wonderment that surrounds me each day? And what of the other miracles I have not even mentioned in this post? What of the magic of cell phones and freeways and airplanes and the Internet? What cost will there be for these marvels? I shudder to think of it.

Then again, perhaps the cost isn't all that bad after all. It could be something as simple and pain-free as missing out on the "genuine," if you will. Insulated by my climate-controlled house and car and job, freed of the barriers of time and space by my cell phone and the Internet, entertained by my DVD player and the myriad of shows on cable television, I no longer have time for much.

For instance, I have no time for standing in line. I have no time for walking to work instead of driving. I have no time for running outside instead of on the speed- and slope-controlled treadmill at my gym (while I alternate between watching CNN, ESPN, and two other channels full of talking heads) on the TVs overhead. I have no time for just standing still outdoors and listening to the wind -- if I could hear it over the sound of passing cars and distant sirens. I have no time for the chatter of squirrels, chirps of birds, or long, slow conversations on a porch swing.

So maybe there is no fiery day of judgment. Maybe the cost isn't so bad after all. But is it WORTH it?