Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #102: That OTHER End of the World

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. — City planner and architect Daniel Burnham, 1891.

I’m going to try to do something different this week. I’m going to see if I can make it through this episode of Weird Scenes without once mentioning President Tang. Place your bets, folks.

For the past six months, we have been focusing on what seems like the greater evil — the COVID plague. It is the greater evil, but let’s assume — for the moment — we beat it. We survive. Make no little plans, Daniel Burnham said about 130 years ago, and I have tried to live my life by that slice of wisdom.

But… what happens the day after that? We won’t be out of the woods… except, maybe, literally. How do we keep our planet safe? Where else are we going to live?

Perhaps you’ve heard of a place called Death Valley. For those who only remember a rather crappy Ronald Reagan television series by that title, it’s actually a real place in eastern California. It’s part of the Mojave Desert, and it’s not quite the best part. The name of the town tells us most of what we need to know: it ain’t a walk in the park, it’s a vast, hotter than hell wasteland. The Timbisha Tribe still lives around there, just in case you think our First Americans are being well taken care of.

This week, a local weather station in Death Valley California saw their equipment declare the outside temperature to be 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, of course, that could be wrong. Such sensitive equipment can malfunction in such unconscionable heat. In other words, yeah, it could have been higher. Maybe lower. A couple degrees either way. Do you feel better? If you happen to be there — it’s a great place for social distancing — you will not sweat. Actually, you will sweat but it will evaporate it before it confounds your Odorono.

Right now, you might be saying to yourself “Well, Mike, yeah that sucks but I don’t live there so

To this I respond: Have you been following this COVID thing? Some people didn’t realize we all breathe the same air, we all live on the same planet (like it or not), and what goes around most certainly comes around… and it does that over and over, often getting worse as it progresses.

Wouldn’t it be a bitch to survive the COVID plague only to fry to death while bringing in the mail?

We’re running out of time, my friends. A couple more years, ten at the outside, and everybody’s home turns into the last reel of a bad science-fiction movie.

We’ve got to see the forest as well as the trees. And we must save both, or find something to breathe other than oxygen and something to drink other than water. It’s gone way, way past the point where we are simply losing thousands of animal and vegetable species, many of which we’d never seen and have never eaten. We won’t have much oil left in 2030, so we won’t be able to slather ourselves in 30 weight to protect us from old Sol. We have to get back to the effort of keeping our planet from the second Big Bang.

But this time, we’ve got to actually do the job.

So outside of some of the unconscionably wealthy who do not care if their children and their grandchildren live off of the massive fortunes that they ripped out of the mouths of the rest of us? Who could be so self-centered, so self-righteous and so self-obsessed?

Nope. I, not going to say it. Some questions just answer themselves.

Ha! I win! Now let’s get together and make this a win for the future generations.