Go to sleep.
First tell me the story about how the world ended.
All right; get under the covers. One day, the Launch Control Officer at an intercontinental ballistic missile base had a dinner date and had just finished polishing his boots and was about to deactivate the launch test monitor when he noticed some bootwax under his fingernails and used his pocket knife to clean his nails. As he installed the test deactivater a speck of bootwax fell from under his thumbnail onto pin 17 of the test override Arming Sequencer. Do you understand what that means?
Of course I do I have an arming sequencer on my virtual reality destroyer game. Everyone knows what an arming sequencer is. Go on.
The next morning, with a new Launch Control Officer on duty, the speck of wax, heated by the power supply, melted and oozed over pin 18, and the launch sequencer automatically began counting down as the Automatic Emergency Code Unscrambler attempted to locate the problem; and when it couldn’t correctly identify bootwax, it notified the President of an immanent sneak attack; but he was playing golf at the time and left his launch button in the locker room, and all warheads were automatically energized and their computers automatically targeted for maximum penetration based on an imminent sneak attack. And when nobody said no, that is how the world ended. Now go to sleep.
That’s not a good story. If that’s how the world ended, where’s this story coming from?
From a holographic record received by an alien visitor — me. Now go to sleep.
But if you’re a hologram, who am I?
You are also a hologram projected into the present, complete with ego and corporeality, of a precocious preteen drowning in virtual reality who understands everything going on in the world today, listening to the story that I, the alien visitor, am receiving from an interactive hologram that includes you.
Don’t worry you’ll never understand first causes. Now go to sleep.
First finish the story.
Alright. So the warheads were set for the disintegration of all human life on the planet—when, at that very instant by the strangest coincidence, and in a totally unrelated incident, a tectonic shift resulted in a massive earthquake on the West Coast of the US that cracked open all the nuclear reactors in the western half of North America, plus cracked open all the casings filled with plutonium stored in all the nuclear warheads, plus all of the containers of nerve gas and biological agents, sending a cloud of toxicity billowing throughout the world.
You’re a lousy story teller. Where’s the happy ending?
Fortunately, because global warming had created desert conditions over California, the fire storm of radioactive destruction was hot enough to incinerate all the toxins, and eventually new life appeared filled with natural beauty and this gave rise to inspiration to live in genuine peace and harmony with nature, resulting in everyone living more or less happily ever after — go to sleep.
First make it real. It sounds too make believe.
And while everyone was busy living more or less happily ever after, an alien visitor appeared one day who was depressed and lacking any kind of living inspiration — and began telling a tale about the end of the world to a child who was really a hologram. When, without knowing why or how, the story teller suddenly realized that living inspiration manifests like a bubble rising in the ocean, with the capacity to expand, such that it is separated from the ocean by the thinnest, most fragile membrane, revealing the colors of the rainbow in dancing films, forming an infinity of patterns capable of bursting and dissolving in an instant. And he realized what a precious gift is life, that there was no need for the world to end prematurely. And his sorrow gave way to hope. And he became unafraid of death. And his commitment to life became resonant beauty. How’s that?
Fine, but what about my life? You’re a hero, but I’m still a hologram.
Hologram shmologram. Your life, my life, is like the Diamond Sutra:
Like a flickering lamp
A flash of lightning
A dew drop
A tale told by an alien visitor.
Now get some sleep
It’s almost dawn…
I sent this to my good friend and poet Robert Thompson, who added:
and the next day
to everyone’s surprise
the moon fell from the sky
into the great sea
where there was no splash
for thin as a shadow
the moon cracked into pieces
that shimmered in waves
carried silently to darkness
which made the world forget
and remember what once
shall not be now
and all the machines stopped
as if a god had died
as if myths were made to beg
as though all songs were put to shame
and the redoubtable voice
of all new comings
for a last moment
for a final focus of fate
while children are left to play
while small gives way to large
and no one says again