It used to be that I avoided the comment section of every link sent to me on social media like the plague because reading the comments made me terribly depressed about the lowest common denominator being so much lower than I generally imagine it to be.
Lately, though, I’ve taken to reading the comments.
Now, I don’t read the comments of anything political. That still bugs the crap out of me.
I read the comments on frivolous links and then marvel at the unique ability of the commenters to turn anything – I mean, ANYTHING - into a battle.
For example, I recently clicked on a link to a short video wherein a parent held an infant suspended by the back of its onesie, shuffled over to a container of candy, lowered the baby over the container to grab a piece of candy, and shuffled away. It was set to the Mission Impossible theme. (And, no, the baby was not harmed in any way…settle down.)
Some individuals in the comment section began arguing as to whether the parent was male or female since he/she could not be seen above the thigh and was clad in baggy jeans. It devolved quickly into name-calling.
And I thought, as I often do, “These people have never experienced an actual problem.”
Did you know that in Africa, the stagnant drinking water is infested with Guinea Worm larvae which, when ingested, mate in the abdomen and then mature – growing to lengths of up to 3 feet? Yeah. It’s true. Upon maturity, they exit their host – but not through the traditional exit one might imagine they’d exit from (which would be bad enough, by the way.) No – they just make their own excruciatingly slow exit wherever they happen to be. Often this is through the feet or ankles (leaving their host either temporarily or permanently crippled) but, really, they’re happy to leave you from wherever.
That’s a real problem.
So, when I put all of this information together, I can only conclude that we, as human beings, were constructed with the innate need to be faced with devastating, infuriating problems and, when they don’t exist in our day-to-day, we invent them.
Thus, I feel fairly certain that the answer to pretty much all our stresses can be boiled down to our need for a good, widespread Guinea worm epidemic.
For example, imagine this exchange on the playground:
“Well, Marianne, if I had known when you volunteered to take the 2nd grade yearbook photos that you would be using last year’s smartphone, I would’ve just done it my---OH. MY. GOD! MARIANNE! Is that a Guinea worm exiting from your armpit?! You know what? Your photos of the Fun Run are perfect. Spot on. Gotta Go!”
Problem solved for Marianne…except the gaping, festering wound under her arm from which 12 inches of worm is hanging. But no worries – a witch doctor can wrap a stick around that bad boy and coax it out in exchange for a live chicken.
I have now resolved to look at my problems (which, in comparison to whether or not the Mission Impossible baby was suspended by a male or a female, are actual real-ish problems) and determine which ones are manmade before choosing how to react.
At this moment, I think it’s pretty much all of them.
We created marriage and divorce…and divorce lawyers with constant invoices. We created money and credit cards and debt. We created cars and the tickets people put under the wipers of those cars. We created homes and the means by which we take ownership of those homes. We did all of this.
You know…to improve our lives.
And when faced with any one of these things, from now on, I am just going to get a glass of water from the faucet that is located inside my home (I also have me a toilet that flushes) and I am going to drink it and know that there will not be a worm orgy in my belly at any point in the next couple days due to that action and I am going to feel really freakin’ lucky. I'll also be more hydrated and that can't be a bad thing, either.
Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center are working to eradicate Guinea worm infections. In 1986, 3.5 million people in 21 countries in Africa and Asia were infected with Guinea worms. In 2012, there were 542 cases in 4 African countries. It is 99% eradicated.
That seems like a good thing.
But what are those people worrying about now? Are they going to have to start spending their time snarking about who is breastfeeding and who is bottle feeding? Are they going to get tied up in knots about whether or not it’s going to rain on the day of their 25K outdoor nuptials? Who the hell is in charge of the Teacher Appreciation Breakfast and why in the name of all that is holy weren’t there enough coffee stirrers for everyone who enjoys cream in their coffee?!!?
Are they gonna have to stress about whether or not people think their blog is funny?
Damn you and your meddling, Jimmy Carter! If you wanna do people a real favor, bring some of those Guinea worms over here.
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