Satire — June 26, 2018, 11:02 am

Reasons to be Cheerful

Man’s inhumanity to man getting you down? Don’t be afraid to check the clock

I  placed a world population clock on my wall, and the results are encouraging. I had become accustomed to the constant flow of horrific news and felt that a change was in order. The clock helps keep things in perspective.

On a typical day, I wake up and check social media for whatever horrors have happened during my three to four hours of sleep. As I scroll through the news of illnesses and explosions, I find myself beginning to worry about the fate of humanity. But then I glance over at the population clock and notice it continue to spin upwards. The clock seems unaffected by the tendency toward societal collapse. This is comforting. The worse the gore on my screen, the more I accept that human life will continue.

Of course, there are ecological reasons to worry whether life really will continue, but I doubt much of that has to do with population. It seems to have something to do with carbon dioxide. Regarding this, I place my complete trust in the scientists. I am told they have a consensus, which is one of the best things you can have, and I am sure that they can figure out the whole climate change piece. If I had to guess, I would say that ecosocialism is involved, but I try not to be pushy. Instead, I just watch the number of people go up, which implies more scientists, and presumably less climate change.

The real worry is the war thing. That’s where you could see the population clock really take a hit. If China gets mad at Russia, and Russia gets mad at China, then soon enough they both might not exist. I am not sure if China is mad at Russia, but that’s not the point. On the other hand, the hard truth is there would probably still be a few billion people on the clock. That’s still a big number. A little breath of fresh air.

A friend of mine recently stopped in to tell me that her mother had died. I listened patiently and then pointed to the population clock. She did not react well. Perhaps the world population clock is not for everyone. It is hard to accept that one day we will all cause a dip, even momentary, in the clock.

I like to imagine that thousands of years ago my ancestors were sitting in their tiny apartments and reading the morning news. Far before the digital age, they opened their newspapers and noticed the wars of conquest, pillaging, and divine plagues. On the wall, maybe they had their own little world population clock, with only five thousand people on it—and no inkling of how high it would go. If humanity survives the next twenty years, perhaps I will seem as quaint to my descendants as my ancestors seem to me. I look over at the clock and feel a rush of hope.

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