Time is super stupid. It’s a made up concept, for starters. Not that time isn’t real, per se, but it’s just one way to measure things. And the older I get, the more I realize how silly time truly works.
My family moved to Big Bear — a small mountain town in Southern California — about 35 years ago. I was four years old at the time. What’s crazy to me isn’t just that 35 years have passed since we made that momentous trek up the hill, and that’s pretty damn crazy as it is. What’s also completely nuts to me is what 35 years means in relation to a lot of things.
For instance, 35 years before 1984, the year I moved to Big Bear, it was 1949. Then I stop to think about what all happened in those 35 years. We put a man on the moon. We passed the voting rights act. Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, and Malcom X all lost their lives. The Cold War started. The Vietnam War started and was ended. Watergate happened. As a kid, the events of 1949 seemed so far in the past, it might as well have been ancient times. I suppose that’s how time itself works, though, the longer we’re here, the shorter the distances between two points in time feel to us.
Some Recent Satire of Mine: Spoiled Little Rich Bitch Takes Daddy’s Silver Spoon Out Of His Mouth To Accuse Others Of Nepotism
It’s crazy to me to think about time in this way, but I often do it. I like to compare my lifetime to my sons’ lifetimes in this way. For instance, one of my sons just turned 13 years old. When I turned 13, it was 1993. Kurt Cobain was still alive. The Nirvana icon died about 12 years or so before my son was born, but he certainly knows all about his music…thanks in no small part to his mother and I blaring at him every chance we got, even…In Utero (sorry, not sorry.) When I was 13, there hadn’t been a new Star Wars flick in 10 years. But there were already three new prequels for me to try to keep away from my son by the time he was born.
Again, time is stupid. Super, super stupid.
Like, for instance, at 8 years old, my son was born about 30 years after me. In thirty years from now, he’ll be 38. I’ll be…Jesus Christ. Hopefully still here. As the Cake song goes, “As soon as you’re born you start dying.” Now, they tell you that you might as well have a good time, before they start singing about the afterlife of sheep. I happen to think Cake is right. Thinking about how by the time my kid is my age I’ll be lucky to still be alive puts things in perspective. Exactly what perspective depends on my mood and mind altering chemicals, but the long and short of it is that it makes me realize none of us can afford to take a single, solitary breath, one moment even, for granted.
The purpose of this series of articles is to simply document each day before I turn 40. So I might as well do this same exercise in 40 year chunks of time.
For instance, 40 years before I was born:
-Germany started bombing England at the start of World War II
-Disney released Pinocchio in theaters, a full 77 years before the RNC unleashed him on the Executive Branch
-Robin teamed up with Batman for the first time
-Charlie Chaplin releases The Great Dictator, a full 77 years before the RNC unleashed one on the Executive Branch
-The Cincinnati Reds beat the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series
All of those things have always felt really distant from my own lifetime…until, that is, I started getting older. Now, as I march on to 40 myself, I realize how much a cosmic eye blink 40 years really is. And these are just some big, milestone events from that year. If you think about all the people who were born in 1940, they had 40 years between then and when I was born to live their own lives. That’s a lot of day to day moments. Perhaps moments that felt inconsequential or unimportant, but I’m starting to really understand what people mean when they say that every moment is important. When you don’t know how many moments you’re going to get — and none of us do — it sure does make every single one seem all the more precious.
Have you ever heard someone say that racism isn’t as bad in America today as it was before? That’s definitely true. But have you ever also heard them argue things like “What does slavery have to do with ME?” Or “Why are they all still complaining about slavery?” Well, Clem, I’ll tell you why we’re still talking about slavery.
- My maternal grandmother just turned 85 years old.
- 85 years before I was born was 1895.
- Jim Crow laws were upheld by the Supreme Court just one year later, in 1896
- Slavery was outlawed by the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865, 30 years prior
We can argue all day every day about just how far we’ve come from those days. But considering that Martin Luther King was assassinated only 12 years prior to my birth, it’ll never be me that tells you we’re in a post-racial society. It never occurred to me, until really recently, how close those two events — his death, and my birth — were in time. Because, again, time is stupid, and it doesn’t let you see these insights at first.
Electing one black man doesn’t make the stain of all that bullshit go away. The African Slave trade routes to North America ran for four centuries, and slavery has only been illegal in this country for less than half that time. Time may be silly. Time may be stupid. It’s most definitely cruel a lot of the time. However, when used the right way, even the dumbest of things can be pretty smart. At least that’s what I tell myself about my satire, so…
Until tomorrow, thanks for reading.
Some Recent Satire of Mine:Doctors Confirm Nancy’s Are Bigger Than Trump’s
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.