Tuesday, April 14, 2009


It was a few years back, and I was walking back from some project to the boat along the IU trail in Bellingham, when I saw a little shitty dog break loose from its oddly misshapen owner's grasp and sprint across four lanes of traffic. Initially aghast, the misshapen fellow pursued in obvious terror for his pet's life, and did so in a state of agitation and heroic fearlessness that I would have never thought this pudgy wonker capable of. Stopping a freeway he rescued "Fluffy" from the jaws of death and tenderly carried his beloved animal to the side of the road, where he proceeded to give it the cruelest beating perhaps I've ever seen.

My dad was an undertaker, and I grew up in that biz as many of you know, and you get to see some stuff, alright. It does change how you look at things. While I never pursued the "playing dolls" with dead people part of the business, I did have a hand in estate and funeral planning for a couple of years--this is where I caught the bug to watch finance--but all in spending time with families there was a central lesson to be learned.

And this is it. In spite of all the talk, people don't much give a damn about their kids. They really don't. Not any more than they do their pets, IF it's that much.

You must realize that even if you're talking estate planning to a couple, you're in a very small subset of people. The majority of people don't plan at all. The reason for this is very simple. They don't want to talk about it. It's scary to them to expect that they might die, even though it's obvious that they will, and they'd much rather not talk about it and in so doing let their kids be stuck with the bill, the taxes, the mess, the anxiety, and all the rest that comes from not planning or being honest. Even of those who do plan this is a huge obstacle. A few do, and do plan, and do care, but it's probably less than 5 percent of the population that has the level of maturity to deal with issues like this in a responsible manner. For most, however, it's much easier to deny and evade and play silly and just let the issue take care of itself, as, after all--they won't be there to see it, ha ha!

So, don't be too surprised when climate change--something more complicated to understand than death, I guess--has so little steam with people. Or at least meaningful steam. There are very few ways to escape the reality that as a parent--one had, and enjoyed the benefits of, a completely complicit hand in destroying their children's future. It is possible in the past that one may have been innocently ignorant of the effects of one's actions. No longer. Today you must be willfully ignorant to be unaware. So what are people doing? Or at least most? Nothing at all. And the reason is exactly the same as above--it's simply too painful to bear the emotional cost of the responsibility of destroying one's childs future.. So, as long as is possible, people will ignore it. As I say, I've seen it before, and I expect nothing else.

Look, love is an action, not an emotion. No body experiences what you might feel, they only witness what you do. . .

Do we love our planet and our future generations or not?


Timothy said...

Very thoughtful and well written post, Jay. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Holy Shit... I knew we had something in common!

I'm from Bellingham! Well at least 20 some years of my life!

I used to ride my Motor bike all along the Interurban Trail long before it was even a real path! This was the early 70's!

Amy said...

I disagree on nearly all levels but can see the complete internal consistency of your perspective. We differ so much on fundamental assumptions; I don't know who I hope is right.

3brainer said...

Very interesting post. Although you make perfect sense in logical way it doesn't quite ring "true" because using logic to discuss love never seems to work. Though I do agree that love is verb not a noun.