By Blaney Pridgen

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser. 

I ordered a quaint product from a New England company which sells stuff suggesting the era of the Waltons.  As it turned out, the product was defective and was made in China. I talked to a sales rep in India about a replacement.  She could not understand me very well, but I sort of understood her.

“Dystopia” and Dystopian” are words that show up a lot these days. They have to do with an imagined state in the future, in which most everything is unpleasant, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.  In religious circles, these words coincide with “apocalypse” and “apocalyptic” suggesting how the world might grind to end pleasantly for the faithful (but not so for the heathen). Christians, Jews, Moslems, Mormons, and all the rest have various dystopian or apocalyptic visions.  For the time being, I find myself talking to a Hindu about something made by a modified Capitalist in Maoist territory and sold by fake general store in Vermont. As I talk on, I imagine Rod Sterling is over in the corner of my study describing my condition as in “The Twilight Zone.”

Those of us of an age might mark time as Pre-Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) and Post.  Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984,and Nevil’s On the Beachare Pre. Lindsey’sLate Great Planet Earth, LaHaye’s Left Behind, and McCarthy’s The Roadare the Post. And for the sanguine among us, there is Pre-Beatles and Post Beatles. However we mark time, today could very well be pre-dystopian or as the faithful are prone to opine: “We may be in the end times.”

What would happen if terrorists messed with the grid?  How would life as we know it change, if Al Gore was right all along? What if the infamous One Percent or foreign powers or both thoroughly undermine our democracy once and for all?  This is a lot worse than musing about the quaint product ordered from the fake general store. This is getting serious.  The grandchildren are in serious trouble. But, haven’t they always been . . . I mean any grandchild in any time in history in the mind of any befuddled grandparent is on the verge of yet another doomsday?

We cannot help some worry about arriving at dystopia.  And, as we get older we do think about our own personal “endtimes” and we might look back and regret the personal dystopia we made for ourselves without a bit of mess from the foreign powers.  That’s when it is good to realize that all we each have is the present.  It takes a lot of effort just to live well in that. It’s good to stay fit in the day and perhaps get in touch with someone whom we need or who needs us.  And, in the present, at least endeavor to do one good thing and to at least have one good time however fleeting.  And finally go to sleep in the present, as if for the last time, realizing that in some ways, however little, we prevailed over shame and fear most of the time.