Stephen Fahey: The Future

Now that holidays are over and the crops have been harvested and the kids are back to school, we start all over again. Peppers are pickling by the barrel load, to get us through the winter. Lawns are trimmed down to fluffy fuzz. And the mornings are dark again. Winter isn’t here yet, but we all know it’s just around the corner. Any day now we’ll be pouring water on our windshields and cursing the cold. But we still have a few days left. Maybe even a couple of weeks. Then it’s into Autumn, which in Ireland is essentially Winter.

Winter itself is even colder, and wetter. But unless it’s the height of summer here, then it’s Winter. Poor old Spring barely gets a weekend where it can bounce a few lambs around in a field, or push up some tulips. Because, like Autumn, it isn’t the height of Summer, so Spring is basically also Winter. And people wonder why the Irish love to drink!

To be fair, the seasons are shifting to more regular, independent periods these last few years. But snow could come at moment: March, June, August, any fecking month of the year or day of the week could see the gods hit that switch and drop white sheets across the land. It’s almost as if the gods lost a bet with the aliens, or they’re playing a practical joke on the mortals. Shower of bastards, the lot of them!

At least we have no natural predators in Ireland, aside from politicians, bankers, priests and them bastard’n squirrels. We don’t sit near enough to the edge of a tectonic plate to have to worry about earthquakes or tsunamis. Nor have we to concern ourselves with tornadoes, typhoons, nuclear fallout, sectarianism, wait, we did used to have to worry about sectarianism, a lot, but nowadays that mess has largely calmed its tits. If it kicks off again in October, though, even the aliens won’t be able to help us, because back in the day there wasn’t even proper internet. Imagine the desperate calamity that agitators could stir up now with GPS and social media and pop-up ads. We’d may as well then just march down to the town with our pitch forks on our shoulders and bloody well do each in once and for all.

But let’s retain a shred of hope for humanity, shall we? There’s every reason to suspect that the aliens will get sick of us all and come down and enslave or eradicate the entire planet, except for Cavan (don’t ask) and reduce our geopolitical and archaic religious ideology to one big smouldering pile of ash. Otherwise, if the overlords decide to not vaporise us all, all we can do is keep on building what little momentum we managed to generate in the positive direction until the youth snatch the reigns of fate from our hands like the first humans snatched it from the hands of the Neanderthals. If we do, there’s also every reason to the think that the youth will take half decent care of us. And now that our early onset hysteria has clearly already set in there’s certainly nothing for it but to keep preaching the message positivity until they slap adult nappies on us and cart us all away.

Oh, and while you’re trying to get to work this week, sat in thick, back to school traffic, remember that those annoying kids, big and small, are the hope of humanity. So far they’re the only ones who haven’t poisoned the planet with mining and drilling and blasting and plastic. They’re the only generation that hasn’t gone to war. They’re the only fecking chance we have at climbing out of the primordial soup in which we are all born. Yes, they’re annoying and weird and I don’t understand them either. But I know that we have no choice but to trust them, and help them, so we had better pull our old-man socks up and stop whining about national borders and the price of bread and how things used to be, because Neanderthals are extinct.

Stephen Fahey

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