Reverie at Bennys Place


By Stefan Wernli (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

(A Cautionary Tale)

It’s not as if no one ever told us. In fact, there were plenty of warnings along the way. I laugh now as I recall those days. Oh, the naivety! I cringe deep within as I conjure images of political mongers using the issues that mattered most as fodder for their individual platforms. It was only ever about money and deep down I knew this – even then at eleven years old.

“Maybe you will find another way” is what my dad would tell me.

He referred to my generation as the one who would hopefully change things but before we could even come of age, it was much too late. I guess that is why I dismissed what he was telling me and now I realize I was perfectly justified in doing so. I saved myself a lot of wasted energy. Well, that’s not entirely true. I studied all the life around me and I dreamed of ways I would make a difference all the while making my dad proud. But, as I said, it was much too late — even then.

I sit here talking to myself and I am alone. I am grateful my parents are dead now. I would hate for them to see this – particularly my dad. Oh, the passion he had. Much of that died however after a particular presidential election. For him, it was the beginning of the end. I wish I could go back and tell him that a different result would not have mattered at all. In the end, it was just one event atop many more to follow that formed this catalyst.

Money, greed, misinformation, obliviousness, selfishness all led to the grotesque hyper consumerism.

From The Lorax by Seuss.

It is not sustainable and it will break” I can still hear my dad say – even on his deathbed. If only he could see just how accurate his statements were. I think I still have some of the online news print-outs. Pardon me while I dig through my backpack. Yes, here’s one: “Mass raw material shortage leads to production crisis”. I like this one as it shows a barren wasteland that was once a forest. Do you remember that book “The Lorax”? If you do, this image reminds me of an illustration used in the book after the last tree fell.

There are a few other pages here highlighting the subsequent economic meltdowns. This in turn led to the wars which continue to rage on even as I write. As yet no one has launched the nukes but if the rumors are to be believed, it won’t be much longer. That is what prompted me to write this short letter today.

I was determined to make it through despite it all but now I fail to see the point. There is not much left in this world and the little bits and pieces that remain will soon be destroyed as the powers that be fight over these precious remnants. There is no such thing as an Internet anymore or a printed newspaper so I really have no idea what is going on but I can describe what I see right now.

I managed to walk to the California coast. Yes, there actually still is a California believe it or not. There have of course been several earthquakes but that proverbial ‘big one’ still has not struck. The ocean is black, completely void of life and has been like this for several years. Well, saying it is COMPLETELY void of life is perhaps not entirely fair. The plastic has taken on a life of its own and the few putrid gulls that remain do build nests on them but considering their only real food source now is what is in the landfills, I can’t really see them surviving much longer.

In the distance in what I believe was greater San Diego I can hear explosions. I think this little skirmish is over a pond of some sort. I guess the idea is that whomever gains control of it can purify the water and make a bit of money. Despite it all, that is still what governs our actions. Sad, isn’t it?

The air is foul and reeks of ghastly aromas of sulfur and rot. The clouds are rolling in but no rain will be produced. It will turn gray, thunder and lightning and then, that’s it. No moisture will fall. The waves are getting high now and I am ready to join the black void and drift away into the nothingness.

Before I seal this letter in this can and bury it I wanted to mention something. Many people may also be creating similar notes and burying them. I know this because I got this idea from someone else doing the same thing. We are all around the same age and once, we did have some hope but year after year, decade after decade it was beaten out of us. We could never overcome the underlying problems though we did try. It is important to know however – and if any other notes are discovered, they will most likely elude to the same thing – It wasn’t “a” person that did this. It wasn’t a politician or an officer of a corporation. “We” did this – the collective. We fell for it hook, line and sinker as my dad would say. We consumed and consumed and consumed egged on by all the various media outlets. Yes, people got rich and yes, that may have been the name of the game but no one forced anyone to buy anything. Perhaps if we had not become so estranged from our planet that provided us the miracle of life, things may have been different. We will never know now. If humanity does manage to survive and you find this letter, please don’t be like us. Be better than us or you will suffer the same fate.

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