Optimistic Pessimisim

I can’t wait until this election is over. Watching your friends and family discuss politics is like eating a hot dog, then seeing how it was made.

I love these people–at least as much as I love suspicious sausage–but my digestion would be better if I didn’t know how they’re put together.

Especially the old people.

The first lesson any attentive person in their thirties learns is this: You’re only two generations removed from something hideous. For instance, one of my grandmothers was married at the age of 14, and started having kids within a year. Totally acceptable in her day!

Let that sink in for a moment, then ask yourself what kind of freak show your own grandparents grew up in.

And then ask yourself how that might have affected how they raised your parents.

And then…oh god, does that mean you’re messed up, too!?!

Yes. Yes it does.

Thirty, maybe forty years from now, you’ll be hanging out with your own grand children, they’ll ask the wrong question, and next thing you know you’ll be all: “You know, back in my day, we didn’t let our robots just roam the neighborhood however they pleased!”

And then they’ll be trying to drag you out of the room, apologizing to the other guests, making excuses for your insensitivity to the robotic plight.

Not to belittle the plight of anyone right now, this is just how it works. Each generation reels in horror at what its ancestors did, while putting together plenty of its own horrible things for future generations to reel at.

And you know, I kinda take comfort in that. ‘Cause yeah, we mess things up, we get a lot of stuff wrong, but we also manage to get one or two things right before passing this sputtering torch of a world on to the next batch of fools.

So yeah, maybe things get uncomfortable when your Uncle Joe gets a couple of beers in him and starts talking about the “good old days,” or when your seemingly-otherwise-sane friend reads some socio-economic treatise from the 1950s and starts spouting his theories, whatever.

Just relax, do the best you can, and hope that in a few decades, when you start freaking people out, there’ll be someone there to drag you away from the party and tuck you into bed.

Have a great day, you weirdos.