Apocalypse? Not now
If the doomsayers are to be believed, we haven’t got much time left. So make the most of it, writes Phil Scott.
The internet is no respecter of mood. You can be feeling great – the sun is out, birds are singing, you finally got that loser out of your life – and suddenly you’ll read something disturbing that wrecks your mood. The opposite is true too, though not as often. You’ll be having a crap day – the sun is frying your skin and making you look old, the birds won’t shut the fuck up, your boyfriend dumped you – then something online will cause your mood to lift. Especially if you like cats.
This week I had both those experiences, except the part about the boyfriend. (My partner and I have been together 18 years. We act like we’ve split up anyway. You should try it. Every time you meet, pretend you’re old friends who haven’t seen each other since high school. To make it work you have to avoid each other for long stretches at a time, but it’s worth it.)
My first internet mood swing happened while I was feeling good about work. I’m in Melbourne rehearsing my new cabaret show for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival (June 14 & 15) and then at the Hayes Theatre Company in Sydney (July 9-12). It’s called Mario, about the 1950s movie star Mario Lanza, starring myself and stunning young singer/actor Blake Bowden. OK, plug complete.
Melbourne was being attractively grey and wet, which is always conducive to creating art. It must be, because everyone in Melbourne is an artist of some kind – at least where I’m staying. So I was feeling quite happyish – until I read an apocalyptic article someone posted on Facebook. And this is what it said...
Basically, the human race cannot continue to operate on an economic plan of constant growth: it’s unsustainable. We are wrecking our food-producing areas in order to dig up the last of our finite resources like oil and gas. Without these, the 19th Century model of economic growth falters. As you know, our current short-term, tunnel-vision government embraces this model. They only recognise the inherent problem by washing their hands of it. Instead of having a strategy to deal with an uncertain future, they believe in “small government”, that is, doing nothing. And for this, we pay them handsomely!
Our politicians are not only discriminatory and vindictive, they are super lazy, overpaid and incompetent – but Australia is not alone in this. Depletion of resources is the international elephant in the room – more like a herd of woolly mammoths – and climate change (which our government has decided to ignore as well) is the icing on the cake. The human race will eventually handle this crisis in the only way we know how: we’ll go to war, and that will cut down the size of the population. Might buy us another century if the war is devastating enough.
Just as my mood reached rock bottom, and I was unlocking the cupboard where I keep my razor blades, I noticed one of those ‘50 Things You Should Do To Feel Good About Yourself’ posts. Oh yeah, we’ve all seen those lists. Why do they never include ‘masturbate’? That must be number 51. Anyway, I read it and of course came to the obligatory one that says “Live every day as if it was your last”.
And I thought: well, it is! If you plot the timeline of human existence, we are so near the end it’s not even visible on the graph. We must cherish the amazing fact that we’ve lasted this long – as a race, but also as individuals. Don’t waste one precious second on regret, misery, self-doubt or a vegan diet. Life is sweet precisely because it is so short. The future will be hell, but the present is paradise.
In Poe’s story The Masque of the Red Death, Death comes uninvited to a party and kills all the guests. But it was one hell of a party before that!
Phil Scott is a writer, actor and comedian. His next show is Mario, July 9-12, at the Hayes Theatre Co. in Potts Point.