| On occasion I have watched a television show about what would happen to all the things we humans built and created if we were suddenly to disappear from the planet. I find it interesting to see what wonders of engineering and architecture would last longer than others and how long it would take before everything just kind of disappeared. Evidently, not all that long it would seem.
According to the show, the Great Pyramid and the Roman aqueducts will still be standing when pretty much everything else is ground into dust, which brings a whole new meaning to, “they don't make them like they used to”. In fact, it is amazing how quickly the monoliths of modern construction will deteriorate without constant maintenance and repair. According to the show, someone is working on maintaining the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco every single day of the year and if they didn't, it would not take long for it to rust like a tin can and crumble like a cookie. The Eiffel Tower would turn into a great big piece of twisted, rusty metal faster than you cold say, “Bonjour!”. Eeek. The way I figure it, since we kind of live in the forest primeval up here anyway, our little part of the world wouldn't last long. Vegetation and animals would overrun the artifacts of human civilization pretty much at the speed of light and Main Street anywhere would be moose central in the blink of an eye.
My son, Chuck, hates that I find these shows so fascinating. He has a problem with anything that smacks of an apocalyptic scenario. He hates apocalyptic documentaries, novels, movies, TV shows, and video games. He refuses to have anything to do with entertainment that builds it's premise on anything having to do with an End of Days story line. He has always been this way and in his earlier years, when I asked him why he felt that way, he couldn't really articulate his feelings about it other than to say, “I just don't like it.”
There are a couple of new shows on television this fall that have an apocalyptic premise to one degree or another. We don't watch TV, but we are aware of them and have the ability to watch them online if we so desire. For Chuck, this is a definite thanks, but no thanks, viewing option. If its apocalyptic, he wants nothing to do with it. Since he is older now I decided to ask him again why he so dislikes this kind of subject matter, figuring he would be able to express himself now in a way he couldn't when he was little. So I did. First, I pointed out that he seems to have no problem with movies or games that involve masses of super powerful aliens bent on taking over the earth and enslaving or destroying human life as we know it. In my world, that would surely qualify as an apocalyptic event no matter how you slice it, particularly if they have the kind of technology these stories always give them, which is basically weapons on steroids that far outstrips any puny stuff we've got going. He responded that in the games he likes to play with that kind of story line, humanity has the ability to come together as one despite their many differences to defend the earth against overwhelming odds, something he finds hopeful. I wanted to point out that it might also be somewhat ingenuous given that human beings can't seem to agree on the best way to cook a soufflé, much less anything more complex, and that given human history, it is highly likely that there would be a bunch of people quite willing to sell out the rest of humanity and help the aliens if they thought they could get something out of it. On the other hand, who am I to pour cold water on a young man's dreams? I said nothing.
Chuck went on to say that to his way of thinking humanity is dangling one foot in the self-destruct pool all the time with very little understanding how close they are to drowning. What with climate change, environmental destruction, too many hysterical people with the ability to release a nuclear holocaust on the world, and the unsustainable realities of over-population looming within his lifetime people ought to be waking up and spending the time and money devoted to creating these apocalyptic themed entertainments on thinking up ways to avoid it. Can't argue with that. If the boy sees no value in treating very real problems as fun entertainment I'm not going to tell him he's wrong. I did, however, mention that he also hates anything involving some kind of zombie apocalypse, which doesn't seem likely to ever occur except in someone's fetid nightmares.
“Zombies are different,” he said. “I don't think they are real, I just hate them.”
Don't we all.