Thought Catalog
March 20, 2015

Wake Me

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Flickr / Matthew Ragan
Flickr / Matthew Ragan

Are you awake? Or are you asleep on your feet, quietly grazing? Are you going to just stand there and wait for the moon to go into remission? Better to snap out of it. Be on your way. Break free of the trance-inducing mediocrity, the bovine consumerist malaise.

I should know. I woke up with a death prescription. One I decided not to fill. Yet.

Listen!

Back then I was such a health zealot. Marathon runner, vegetarian, meditator, vitamin freak, nutrition student. My college education, however, had been secretly sponsored by the processed food/agribusiness cartels. I believed what I was taught. Lulled into the good student’s complacency, I dozed off for a few decades.

Meanwhile, I was digging my own grave with the spade of my body.

When I woke up, I was a middle-aged casualty. Suddenly, I had a medical diagnosis.

Right now, my diagnosis is getting its house in order. Aware I am retrenching, I feel grateful during this vacation between voids. I am attempting to enjoy the reckless voyage, the steamrolling progression toward some internally programmed, grand finale. Daily, I collect and toss out, collect and toss out. What does all the stuff mean? Sunlight bathes my colonizing cells and my shopping bags from the mall in an eerie, otherworldly glare.

I grew up on black and white television, canned laughter and frozen dinners. It was an era of accumulation and convenience. No one thought long-term. Nobody thought such things mattered. Now this is all that matters.

Or is it? What if it’s the prognosis that doesn’t matter? After all, death is what it is. And it ignites itself from within, overcoming life cell by cell. A peacetime abomination, a slick takeover by allies invited for dinner who stay on until after the food, the kitchen, the house and all its inhabitants have been devoured. Death is always so impulsive, so greedy. A pathological consumer in a hysterical frenzy of desire, wildly and sensually chaotic. Death licks the plates clean while everyone at the table watches in silent horror.

No matter what they tell us, modern medicine cannot save us from our deaths. Prayers, New Age gurus and their herbal ferments, weird sexual incantations and lyrical poetic litanies? Nothing redeems, not ultimately. We must tolerate the uninvited guest, waiting lustily while we languish in our various arrays of festering splendor, squalid and ripe with internal decay. There is something incurable in our eyes. Our proximity to death is the original geography. An elaborate lifelong hoax, a precondition of our survival. Only, we will not survive. And we know it.

Hey, I tried to prevent the inevitable decay. I really did! University degrees, medical studies, a job in research. At our most prestigious university’s school of public health! I surrounded myself with science-based answers to the question of survival. I would be one of the fittest.

But it was all so fragile. My office, a glass-walled cubicle, was sandwiched between similar cubicles. My coworkers smoked incessantly, despite the fact our employer was a school of public health. Or perhaps because of this fact. Everyone drank excessively, passionately. You could see through the walls.

My boss, an elderly gent who sported thin maroon ties emblazoned with the university crest, invited me to lunch at the sniffy University Club. He insisted I order a tuna sandwich on white bread, then ate half of it. I hate tuna. I hate white bread. By this point, I hated my boss. When he wasn’t at work, he grew blueberries, raised goats, and drank martinis with his fourth wife. I lived a half-life, working all the time, putting in seventy-hour weeks. But I remained energized because I bought into the health dogma we were selling. Totally!

Then I discovered the truth: my boss lied to me, he lied to the world. A distinguished spokesman within the medical university system of science fraud, he was paid as a mouthpiece for the industry. An integral part of the university-industrial-military complex, the mega-cartels of medicine and death, he claimed we were all safe. That none of it mattered.

Not true. By unmasking my boss, I was forced to face the depth of the university’s corporate-funded betrayals. They’d sold out for the funding to build more labs, to doctor more research, to spread the lies they were paid to spawn. Once I stared this veritas in the face, I finally knew enough to leave that ivory-tower. It was the pinnacle of anti-truth.

Yes, it was a long way down. But I enjoyed every stumble. It took years for the stain of my career to erase itself. I had to unlearn to find my own answers. Everything was new, it all seemed so surprising, delightful, shocking, amazing. Things had heft.

One sultry spring night, I attended a fund-raiser in downtown Boston. Weeks later, I watched the sun drown itself in a black sea at the southernmost landspit in the U.S. Not long after that, I homebirthed a ten-pound boy in a plastic pool from Toys-R-Us. You see, I found (to my surprise) I had become a radical.

Suddenly, everything mattered!

My son was raised on breastmilk and health foods. We homeschooled, ate organic, protested the war machine. We watched as economic hitmen swept the globe into a few fat wallets. We watched as the materialistic culture spawned more and more scrap to be tossed in the plastic soup of the sea or onto mountainous piles of garbage.

Time passed too quickly, though. I found nothing to hold onto. Nothing with roots, anyway.

At this point, my cells have become adept at division, at multiplication, addition. My cells are subtracting from me. Like the doctors who would attend to them, my cells do not speak to me. They communicate with one another in a chemical code, members of a secret club for members only. A wild faction in the midst of a silent regime change.

But I have decided I will not allow the takeover. Nor will I turn my body over to medical science. Instead, I will work with my cells myself.

There is a kind of refuge in anger and defiance, I find, and the dark heat of South Florida allows for this. The night air is extreme, particles charged, and I’ve become a slave to its currents. This is the cure, the conversion a kind of molecular draining and refueling. Fierce waves are breaking on the beach behind the white sand mask of my face. There is a sea change.

I take two steps back, floating away from my diagnosis. It is not me and I am free.

Remitting, I have sentenced silence to death. I want to speak in the forbidden tongue, point fingers where fingers have been ordered not to point. Desperate now, I want to strip naked and expose the lie, unmask the truth behind the university/medical industrial complex.

Ultimately, no one will be saved, of course. I will die, and everyone else will die, too. We are all stalking the periphery of disaster. We have no weight, we are the illusion of space in a complex web of military buildup, toxic pollution, and land greed. Our air is a thick stew of invisible carcinogens and sickening emissions, a sky blue coffin lid slammed shut in our upturned faces. The sun is punctured, bleeding into a neon orange ocean boiling over with rancid and mercury-poisoned marine life. Our drinking water stinks of sewage, sulfur and phosphorous. It has become a soapy, lead-laden sludge.

Look: we’re soaking in it.

The carcinogens we’re ingesting in our packaged food products, the fat globules dripping from our fast foods, the secondhand smoke in our mottled lungs. The war chemicals, the ozone and petrocarbon haze, the murk of electromagnetic radiation. And all those pills, the over-the-counter and the overprescribed, an embarrassment of pharmaceuticals. The nuclear power plants, diesel engines, carbon monoxide gases, radioactive burial grounds. The list of dangers goose steps on and on, an unstoppable march of death.

Fortunately for death, we are intoxicated with our own ruin, hypnotized in the blue glare of our dictator screens: flatscreens and  laptops, tablets and smart phones, x-rays and CAT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs tell us what to think, convince us of our needs, force us to lay down and take it by mouth as directed on the package. We lie down and swallow, good little boys and girls. Numbed and beaten, full of false facts and pseudofoods, we arise from our soft beds each day to earn more and spend more, to do our part to keep the killer corporations and their bloodsucking allies in power. We consume opulently—food, health care, prescription drugs and technogadgets, rainforests and oil and other peoples’ countries—as if it is our duty, our god-given right to be insatiable.

On those nights when there is no darkness to comfort me, only a continual infusion of trivial light, I blame everyone else. Yet I know it is natural, this installment of death after a rerun of life. So I have my phases, moonlike: one side bright, the other perpetually hidden and black.

Do you see the cycle, the invasions and retreats? Am I overstating my remorse?

My boss at the prestigious university was paid off lavishly, exorbitantly, by the mega-industries that hired him to conduct research, to stamp approval and spread the enriched manure of the medical mafia. He passed on many widely held public health myths while he lived a long martini-rich bourgeois life. His clock finally wound down after decades spent poisoning the windswept minds of students and textbook victims, volunteers and color-by-number addicts without permission or reason to question. He sucked his green olives with gusto, guilt-free, his wet mouth a lethal weapon.

But my boss was only one of many. One virulent voice in a worldwide army, an elite force of well-trained well-paid experts. Specialists employed specifically to keep the rest of us in front of our screens, bovine and sick from pollution, propaganda and medical stigmata. To keep us hypnotized, the walking dead, slaves to the material product. To make sure we remain believers in commerce as our only means for communion with the gods of desire.

Now I am daydreaming about a night funeral, a blacklit orgy under the clarified heat of a white moon, a flurry of guardian stars. I want loud organ music, a secular download of my favorite tunes, the Stones and Pink Floyd, Dylan and Peter Gabriel, the languid mourn of the Dropkick Murphys’ bagpipes. I am looking forward to lurid bouquets of hothouse flora, coffin-size horseshoes of egg yolk-colored frangipani, weepy baskets of African violets, bruised pansies, limp orchids. The humid air will reek in exotic floral protest as dying flowers drape themselves dramatically across my corpse, disguising the putrefaction of my milky flesh, the crumble of yellowed bones, the congeal of metallic-blue blood. There will be dancing, strange couplings, distant train whistles like wolf cries, and a failed invasion by insect-seeking ibis, their lipstick-pink beaks ominous in the moonlight.

In a curious way, the past seems amateurishly scripted: I am avid, I am bought out, I wake up, I fall asleep, I am a casualty, I become avid again. Because of this predictable circle, my love for my current version of the truth is hard, a hating kind of love. The clouds, too, they smear and drape and weigh nothing.

My story, my boss and my brainwashed years, my disillusion and diagnosis, this is just one person’s version of the contemporary script. You have your own story. Even if you haven’t woken up to it yet, you have one too.

We are all being played, our roles minor in the ongoing global conquest. This is important! This is what our betrayal can teach us: the sharp angles, the proximity to death. See, the same entities who paid off my former employer are still making the poisons, slaughtering and serving up the diseased animals, plasticizing and chemicalizing the food, breeding the GMO monster crops. These same entities are erecting more hospitals and clinics, coming up with new “cures” for the multitude of illnesses they cause, the insurance policies they sell, the too-low limits on toxicities that allow for the proliferation of preventable sicknesses. For it is human-made poisons that are eliciting so many wild horrors. Those crazed cells that multiply and divide at will, snuffing out lives. Stomping out the future for little children. Good little children raised to do as they are told. To have another healthy serving of self-destruction. To eat up so they can grow big and strong for death.

Are you listening? Every choice you will be given will not be a good choice. I am telling you: do not wait for the moon any longer. Wake up now, before it’s too late. Before they screen you and label you, medicalize you and give you your death prescription.

Awake, you could take what’s left of your life into your own hands. We all could. And then, maybe, all of us together might take back the planet. TC mark

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