This Email Will Never Find You
Everything is politics, they say — especially those things about which we can’t vote. Who asked your opinion on the correct facial covering to wear when boarding an airplane? Who forgot to collect your two cents when your local bar started demanding both your ID and your vaccination card?
What a monstrous lot our scientists are. And how rude to boot, these so-called grownups, with their degrees and their hybrid vehicles and their skeptical haircuts. Let’s just admit it: Nothing very special has ever come out of a laboratory except all the terrible twisted concoctions we have to endure on a daily basis for the rest of our natural lives. You know what I’m talking about.
That’s not the worst of it, though, is it? The core of this rancid onion comes straight out of one of those overproduced Hollywood blockbusters: Social control. Our elected officials — some of them, anyway — claim it’s in the best interests of our communities to shut the hell up and lock the hell down. It’s yellow stars and brownshirts all over again.
Enough, you cry! The body knows how to care for itself. Good hygiene and lots of salads will do the trick. Kale, of course. None of that romaine business. Prop the immune system up like a drunk at a holiday office party (if anyone remembers those); stick its left hand in the punch bowl and see if it wets itself.
Besides, we can’t save everyone. In times of conflict it’s called collateral damage.
This email will never find you because no one reads email anymore. They might skim a text or a tweet. Mostly they’ll gaze at graphs and memes and ten-second dance routines on their phones. But you — you value research. It’s well-understood. You have a death grip on true facts when it comes to the things that matter most in this world.
If only you could clue everyone else in. It’s just that you’re so busy, I suppose, trying to make money and stay healthy and evade the bureaucratic panopticon all at the same time. I wish I could help. Truly I do.
What I can offer is a bit of faux-naïf doggerel which, in the best case, will be linked to by your friends as the perfect illustration of a liberal self-own. We have a long tradition in the U.S. of defending our territory no matter the cost, and an even older one of stealing that territory from those who were here to begin with. It’s in this spirit of mutual annihilation that I write you now.
For you’ve succeeded, really, by default. You’ve done everything by doing nothing at all. An ingenious triumph, though it won’t feel like one because there were no flags planted, no cities conquered, no secret plans unraveled. You simply had to sit back, scroll through some bespoke data points, and wait.
There’s a popular episode of the original Twilight Zone that features Burgess Meredith as an unlucky bookworm. All he wants to do is read, which makes him a lousy bank teller and, we infer, an inattentive husband. Then the Cold War comes calling and drops its bombs all over the story. Meredith emerges from the bank’s vault surrounded by piles of strangely unharmed library books and not much else. “Time enough at last,” he muses, before — spoiler! — his Coke bottle glasses shatter to bits.
Maybe you’ll see it online someplace (though I know how picky you are about your web content). In any case, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s grab a drink when things open up again, yes? We should have no trouble getting seats.
This email will never find you because I will never send it. But no worries; things go missing all the time around here.