The Butt of the Bread

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.

When my sister comes to visit, we enjoy long conversations about many things.  As one would guess, most of our conversations are about shared memories.  Whether we are reflecting on politics, religion, history or personal hopes as well as memories, one topic always shows up before we wear each other out.  The topic is the apocalypse.  This is not the apocalypse of the religious kind, the “end times” which shows up in the holy writ of most religions.  Rather, this is two other kinds of apocalyptic reflections.

The first kind of apocalypse that comes to mind is our own as individuals.  We may not know much about apocalyptic visions of the ancients or care not to interpret them in current events in order to know that we each have our own personal end time.  Insurance agents and oncologists have charts about that.  I don’t need to own a crystal ball or have the visions of Nostradamus or John of Patmos to know that I am living in my own last days.  The Psalmist asks the Lord to teach him to number his days.  That can be knowledge enough about any apocalypse.

But then there is that second kind of apocalyptic reflection, which is probably unavoidable to the psyche.  Perhaps we all are living in the end of time of life as we know it.  It is a common fear.  Think of the Stone Age human experiencing an eclipse after a failed hunt.  Think about market collapses, grid failures, and nuclear disasters.  What if some adolescent nation governed by autocratic delusionals hurls a couple of nuclear missiles and then other nations get in it?  What if that caldera called Yellowstone finally decides to erupt again right in the middle of an exciting episode of Wheel of Fortune?  And then there are global warming, pandemics, and asteroids.  Perhaps old Mother Earth is ready to shake off the virus known as humanity.  The way we humans act and don’t act can seem like we are at war with the planet, trying to kill it and us with it.  You don’t have to embrace the Revelation to believe in the Sign of the Beast.  We are the beast.

Alright.  Alright.  Alright.  Enough already.  One might think my sister and I have a shared genetic or environmental problem, which makes us dwell on gloom and doom toward the end of otherwise pleasant, sensible, and worthwhile conversations.  But then again, she is 69 and I am 74, our parents are deceased along with some of our children and being retired we have a lot of time on our hands.  Or maybe because we have time on our hands, but not so much on our individual calendars, we tend to number our days and everyone else’s too.

As the old saying goes, “Half a loaf is better than no loaf.”  Even a quarter loaf staves off hunger awhile.  For that matter, you can roll over the butt end of a loaf and make a final peanut butter morsel.  So, there is little to be gained in sitting on your front steps waiting for the apocalypse, yours and everyone else’s too.  It might come soon, and it might not.  In the meantime, there’s lots to do to postpone it and have some fun.  In the meantime, talk about the future with a morsel of hope or don’t talk about it at all.