Blog: The Wayback Machine

Over the years, Hannibal Tabu has written a lot of blogs. More than 1,100 of them went down on the Good Ship Myspace alone.

This space will seek to preserve and resurrect selected surviving members of those legions of rants and ravings from websites long gone. enjoy.

"Don't Worry, Baby ..."

picture of the beach boys from the single cover to their song 'don't worry baby'

Written September 24, 2009

I am free of worry.

Not for any reason that makes any sense. As noted in Mark Morford's latest column, all of us can fall victim to slings and arrows of outrageous fortune so far outside of our conceptions that it'd be like a failure of gravity. You can save for a whole lifetime and either have your bank go out of business (FDIC insurance? Maybe ...) or your retirement fund get eaten by rapacious corporate fatcats or maybe the employer you gave thirty years to suddenly cuts your health benefits decades after your retirement. Maybe it's a gun-wielding teenager high on weed and PCP, in Columbine or Compton. Maybe some workday stiff pounded back too many shots at the bar after a long day and accidentally careens into your family of five, heading back from church. Hell, rocks from space can make their way through the atmosphere and smash you into nothingness. Whatever. We live, as the Chinese curse demanded, in interesting times. From a statistical standpoint, there is no absolute safety for anybody, anywhere, and there probably never has been.

I don't worry about these things.

Part of that, I'm sad to say, has to do with a certain degree of faith. For many years, I said, "faith is for suckers," and attested to my mantras of personal responsibility and energy manipulation. In the final analysis, I have to admit that "faith" is the final answer, however, because I believe I'm going to be (overall) okay based on my belief that following what I believe to be a path of spirit (with some unfortunate and admitted digressions) sets me apart. True, my belief is so certain as to be virtually indistinguishable from knowing, but there have been things I've known before, immutable facts to my father's father and his father before him -- a Black US president is impossible, the Red Sox cannot win the World Series, and so on -- that have fallen due to the simple factors of time. Sooner or later, anything can happen, and with proper motivation, it probably will. I have a faith in my "knowledge" which is just as easily, and in the last decade just as often proven fallible.

The bigger part of me not worrying is because I recognize the complexity of the system. To me, with my dangerously limited horizons and freakishly small perception, there seems to be chaos. On a larger scale, that chaos is a song with a melody I can't even comprehend. Babies are born and old people die. Electrons circle nuclei. Gases combust in the form of stars, spreading light and heat for millions of miles around. Water pushes ever so patiently against the cliff wall, knowing that one day it will join its old friend gravity in victory. Everything works, even if I don't see it or don't understand it because on a long enough time scale, I don't matter and neither does my piddling perception.

This used to manifest in my life through something I said a lot. My old, dear friend and sister Brandi gave me a book when I was in college, Love is Hell by Matt Groening, a collection of his bitter, pre-Simpsons cartoons. On one page there was a line that had on the left end something like "the unknowable mists of the past" and on the other end was something like "eighty kajillion years in the future." In the middle, very small, was a dot, and an arrow pointing to it, that was labeled, "your life." The accompanying text said something like, "next time you're worried about a decision, ponder this question: 'how long will I be dead?' With that in mind, you can justify pretty much anything your devious little mind can come up with. Go on. You're welcome. See you in hell."

This applies not only to my decisions -- should I have that donut? wait for this parking space or pick one farther away -- and my concerns. The world my daughters will inherit is terrifying and horrible. But they chose to be born into it, outside of delicate dances between egg and spermatozoa. Or, to go back to Butterfly from Digable Planet, "we're just babies, we're just babies, man ..."

Maybe I'm too stupid, or too jaded, or too broken, or too tired to know the difference, to not worry where I should. I don't know, and honestly I don't care.

So mostly I don't worry. It never seemed to make much difference. I'm pretty sure things will be, for the most part, okay. Whatever comes up, I deal with it. Really, what choice is there?

Everything is gonna be all right, whether you know it or not. Whether you can understand it or not. It's okay. Shhh ...