Today may very well be the last day on Earth. I laugh when I write that, but it could literally be true. There is an asteroid approaching the earth and it is supposed to pass within 11,000 miles of Earth. That is close enough for a minor math oops to fool us into not panicking about an extinction event. The Dallas Fort-Worth area is being soaked in thunderstorms and potential high winds as I write this in a house that has foundation cracks made worse by a high number of fracking-induced earthquakes the last couple of years. I woke up with chest pains this morning, and I have a family history of heart trouble. (Although the last time I panicked and had the chest pains checked it was apparently arthritis in my rib cage… and the weather does make my arthritis worse.) So, in very many ways, this really could be the last day. And as I reminded everybody yesterday, I am a pessimist in all things.
So, I am girding up in armor as a pessimist always does, preparing for the worst. If I am not going to be here tomorrow, then I need to prepare by counting my blessings today. Number one, I have completed a successful 31-year career as a teacher. I touched over 2,000 lives, made a difference in a lot of them, and screwed up only a handful of them. I taught some kids to read, and I taught a lot of kids to write. I was a good writing teacher. I know how to build a theme and I can teach others to do the same. I have lived a life of service, and though I have not been made money-rich by my efforts, I have wealth greater than Croesus (I know you don’t really know who that is, but I didn’t want that sentiment spoiled by using a name like Trump or the Walmart heirs.)
Number two, I am a survivor who has seen an amazing amount of history roll past without ever being crushed under its wheels. I was alive for John Kennedy’s Presidency and assassination. I watched Neil Armstrong step foot on the moon. I taught the day the Challenger exploded with the first teacher in space on board. I also taught the day the twin towers fell on 9-11. I have seen how the world was changed, and I, like most people, experienced the changes necessary to adapting to a new world. As a pessimist, I am already planning for life under President Ted Cruz. It will be the worst possible outcome for our nation of the election of 2016. We really should not elect a Reptilian as our leader. But I survived the Ronny Ray-Gun revolution, and eight long years under the Cowboy of Very Little Brain, so if I live to see it, I will adapt. And so will you. We have only rarely ever been truly free and prosperous, but in our minds, no one, no matter how tyrannical, can ever truly deprive us of our freedom.
So, if these are the last words I ever write, then know that I am at peace with the world. If the big space rock does us all in today, then at least we have to consolation that humankind has had its chance to live and love and laugh, and we didn’t do everything wrong.