Why do we gravitate towards things that are bad for us?

I sometimes have a hard time sitting back and being entertained by a book, movie or TV show. All I can think about the entire time is writing and creating.

Even when I’m halfway paying attention, I’m still pausing to do random nonsense like this:

However, I recognize the necessity of refueling one’s creative tank, and in that spirit I’ve been re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia, which I loved as a child.

As I was finishing up The Magician’s Nephew last night, one line, spoken by Aslan, stood out to me as particularly profound:

Boy, C.S. Lewis really had our number, didn’t he? We all do things that we know are bad for us. Maybe you eat fast food, drink soda, smoke cigarettes, engage in unsafe, promiscuous sex–whatever it is, you’ve got some kind of vice that you engage in even while knowing how terrible or risky it is for you. I could list all of mine, but I don’t feel like it. Rest assured, though, I’ve done and continue to do dumb stuff that I know is dumb.

The reason people are behaving so carelessly in the face of a global pandemic is that they’ve made an agreement with themselves to engage in some degree of risk in order to obtain something they want. We all do that, every time we go shopping, or report to an essential job. Some of us are simply better than others at choosing risks wisely. I don’t include myself in that, either, because I’m kind of an idiot.

We’ve now fully integrated our previously established online shaming/cancel culture into this new reality we’ve found ourselves in. Lots of calling others out for this or that while touting our own greatness and expecting a pat on the back for it. We all do it, to some extent. It’s in our nature.

My dog, if given the chance, will eat bars of soap. Every once in awhile, she gets that chance if we leave a bag of groceries unattended on the kitchen floor.

It upsets her stomach for a few hours, and she mopes and burps and drinks water and then she’s fine. She mopes because she can’t find any more soap. She’s searching frantically for it, even as she suffers the repercussions of having eaten it. She wants more and would gladly devour an entire three pack if given the chance. Then she’d probably throw it up and go “Mmm! Soap!” and eat that.

Dogs also eat cat poop. They love things that are bad for them, just like we do. Y’know, as the dog returns to his vomit, so the fool returns to his folly. It’s in the Bible, actually. Proverbs 26:11. It’s almost as high on the list of universal truths as “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

We’re just really fuckin’ dumb, and that’s why we’re running around risking our lives for bullshit little creature comforts. It takes us awhile to learn things. Unfortunately, we don’t have time for that, and a bunch of people are going to have to die.

I wrote the viral post about my dad with the intention of both paying tribute to him and warning people of the seriousness of this illness. Now it’s been printed in multiple newspapers with more following suit, and the AP has picked up on it as well. I guess I was on a bunch of ABC affiliate stations across America, because people hundreds of miles away told me they saw me on their local stations.

I didn’t think I’d end up as some kind of posterboy for “the new normal,” or some kind of champion of telling people to dust off and use their fucking brains for a change, but here we are.

I didn’t want to keep talking about this, but I’m kind of drowning in hype at the moment, so it’s hard to think of anything else. I think I’m supposed to, though. Thousands of people have told me something to the effect of “Yes! Keep telling people! They need to hear this!” And people have also told me it’s prompted them to be more conscientious.

Yeah, I get annoyed when people say COVID is media hype, because I know it is, but in this case the hype is warranted. Not that I can actually watch more than five mins of news without feeling like I’m about to have some kind of anxiety attack, but people do watch it. And they’re hearing only 100% truth out of my mouth. I simply explained what happened. You can make your own mind up on whether or not you think this is a big deal. If you don’t, then keep your stupid ass away from others who do.

Truth is, though, I don’t want even the stupid people to die. Because to quote the title track of Ronnie James Dio’s sophomore effort with Black Sabbath, “We’re all fools… the mob rules.” We all do dumb stuff that hurts us, and it’s our job to help each other out when we can. I want to use this thing that’s fallen in my lap to steer the mob in the right direction, and as long as this momentum keeps going, I guess I’ll keep talking. Fuck it, I’ll go on Good Morning America or Ellen or something, if they ask. 😂

Since all that went down the other day, though, I’ve noticed that people are finally learning, and it was nice to see–even though it’s because people have started dying. I went to view my dad’s body this evening, and the streets were clear. Edmond, Oklahoma was a ghost town. “Closed indefinitely for COVID-19,” read the marquee of Kickingbird Cinema, where I once waited in line for six hours to watch The Phantom Menace, drinking beer provided by some other guy in line. Fun times. Drinking and chatting with people and celebrating. I was actually wearing a Black Sabbath: Heaven and Hell T-shirt that night, and a guy chatted me up about that.

The parking lot of the usually busy shopping center that particular theater is located in was almost completely deserted, other than the restaurants doing curbside takeout. We stopped and got some burgers from Interurban, and they were delicious. They were worth the risk. Sweet potato fries and okra are essential.


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