The Wrong Snuff

We are being snuffed out, it would seem.

At the very least, there seems a deliberate effort. It occurred to me the other day while waiting for someone to pick up their phone as I was calling.

Who actually answers their phone anymore, unless they're absolutely sure who's calling ... and are entirely in the mood?

Caller ID only goes so far, and screening calls is probably the best defense against robocalls. Robocalls, as in we are being invaded by bots from near and far -- so that we duck and cover, screen and hide, turn away from virtually every snippet of snailmail and relegate to the SPAM bucket or quarantine queue any oddball electronic bit or byte we get. Sort of like shunning one another's glances on the street (lest an oddball catches our eyeball, or vice versa), this automation over time makes us less human.

And seriously, who's got time in this day and age?

Some of us carry on regardless, ratcheting up our defenses as each new generation of intrusion aims to improve the bot's success rate and adds to our own attrition (which is to say withers it...)

But I pity the unsuspecting masses who don't have a high-tech device to assist, so their left to their mere mortal defenses. Woe, too, to the unwitting soul who's failed to keep up the requisite depersonalization, or older folks for whom the pace of cyberattacks is simply too hard to beat back with the old kung fu.

Each encounter with a "please listen carefully because some of our options have changed" 'cyberator' on the other end of whatever number you dial is also an attempt to reduce to rubble our sanity and sense of self-worth. To snuff / diminish our being.

Beginning with our physical entry into megastores, with rolls of toilet paper, cartons of plungers, crates of scouring powder piled to the crest of their 150-foot-high ceilings, so that we're made to feel Lilliputian as we try to find a an "associate" to help us with how we can get down from the heavenly heights his warehouse of values the specially-priced item we're entitled to as a benefit of our buying-club membership, our lowliness has become second nature.

And nature itself has become downright alien.

And that's only the tech snuffing. Between efforts to roll back federal nutrition and health care programs, moves to deny women the right to control what happens to their own bodies and voter suppression attempts in too many states in anticipation of the November "election to end all elections" (perhaps literally, if current anti-democratic trends continue), we can discern a deliberate scheme to rub out the political power of large numbers of those of us in the 99 percent.

Whether it's snubbing or snuffing, the replacement of the American middle class by the robo class -- with gradual elimination of entire categories of employment -- has become a dominant, unspoken reality tantamount to frog (which is us) being boiled in slowly heating water.

And speaking of water, there's also the specter of intensifying natural disasters like hurricanes and floods as part of the climate crisis being ignored or written off by ostrich-like public segments.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is moving toward its program of colonizing Mars -- presumably with those who can afford the trip -- as a great escape from the planet we're trashing. That's so the rest of us can make do with an Earth where food supplies are either burned over, eradicated or washed away, and where clean drinking water has been bottled for shipment to the thirsty red planet.

Want salvation? Get thee to an ash tray. Otherwise, get on your crash helmet. And resist.


Check out my books, Inner Landscapes and Good Will & Ice Cream

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