How not to die!

Life is, of course, all about managing death.

Or rather, it’s all about managing pain and pollution and disease and gravity and germs and bacteria and poison and Dick Cheney and those little shards of glass in your burrito; it’s all about, in short, how you sort through the sundry and ever-increasing laundry list of things in your immediate world that want to torment and toxify and destroy you because oh my God they are legion and they are ready and they are right f-ing there.

There are drugs in the water. Did you know? It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, really, given how many millions of drug-blasted Americans inhale prescription meds by the fistful and then hit the bathroom and the water flows and the treatment plant churns and pumps it all back into municipal water pipes, still brimming with trace amounts of Xanax and Zoloft and Medrol and Norvasc, asthma drugs and cholesterol drugs and birth control pills, cancer drugs and painkillers and diuretics and who the hell knows what else. Hell, who needs Vitamin Water when there’s Lipitor in your ice cubes?

This is the wacky fun reminder: Living in the city is deadly and toxic a million ways from Sunday. Car exhaust in every breath, electromagnetic waves in every gizmo, plastic off-gassing and high-VOC paints and chemicals in the carpet and toxins in your very clothing and every modern home so packed with thriving bacteria and synthetic substances and venomous Glade air fresheners it’s a wonder we manage to stay upright at all.

Hell, they just discovered that even Americans National Parks, the fish and trees and lakes and the snow itself, are hugely polluted, coated with over 70 contaminants. Go ahead, hug that tree. But be sure to wear a body condom.

This is what we have to accept: You do not avoid poison. You do not escape toxin or chemical or gravity or modern synthetic residue even if you move to the woods and build a humble off-grid shack made only of fresh pine needles and bird dung and make your own jam out of river moss and beetle larvae because, hey look, up there in the sky, it’s the very air itself, full of chemicals and pollutants drifting over from China and India and, um, Marin County, and you’re breathing it in and it’s coating the very trees and raining down upon your organic tomatoes right now. Sorry. Please enjoy your salad.

Is this not delightful, in a deeply pathetic and insulting sort of way? Is it not amusing that, after 2,000 years, they’re finally saying, hey gosh, trashing the planet and abusing creation itself is sort of wrong? Or that they — the Catholic Church! — dared to add pedophilia to the list, which is a bit like McDonald’s announcing that beef is bad for you? Yo, preacher: Heal thyself, OK?

Believe in sin? Believe that we’re all, at our core, corrupt and evil and mortally flawed and that life is basically a grueling slog against disease and pain and pollution and 10,000 household poisons until you eventually whimper and sigh and lay yourself in a chemical-soaked pine box and sink it six feet under? Baby, that’s the biggest sin of all. And you are hereby absolved.

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~ by Indira Singgih on January 13, 2011.

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