(It doesn’t enlarge. Fuck technology. Here’s the guys in the tree:)
Forgive me if the above image is hard to see. I hope it will enlarge for you, but let me tell you… my server and the WordPress media uploader are assholes and losers. I made a bump out in the original photo to the bit that was funny in a “not wicked funny but still, what the fuck are you gonna do” sort of way. It is an old photograph of an underground gas explosion at Tremont and Boylston Street way back in the olden days. The plate glass got shattered on the photo (not by the explosion, which should be obvious enough but some days it is hard, I get it). But above the cracks that some chucklehead put tape over (it probably is the right sort of tape, I found the image at the Boston City Archives, so I am going to assume they did what they could when they got their hot little gloved hands on it), there are two guys in a tree staring down into the hole at presumably gruesome carnage or whatever.
I was looking through the city archives because I am giant nerd and also I wanted to see pictures of old timey just removed enough to not sting too much carnage, because I am not any better than those two assholes in the tree. (I actually was looking all over that photo for Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler, to be honest).
Anyway, I spent the last week thinking about those two guys in the tree. It was easier than trying to make sense of what a water tower’s worth of molasses must be like to drown in (it’s bullshit, I say, it’s bullshit to drown in). It must be like being trapped in amber, no? Only it seems way less peaceful. What a complete shit way to go. And to hell with the children…
What was I saying?
Oh yeah, to hell with the children and the older adult types that perished in that flood of actually really kind of nasty gooey sicky sweet stuff (it isn’t really though. Molasses is some weird ass shit, when you consider it)… the horses and dogs and… rats. Oh god. The rats here now are pretty fucking bold and the size of Pomeranians, you know? I imagine the North End rats back then were probably not much worse off. Steve Puleo wrote a great book on the subject (the Molasses Flood, not rats in amber). It’s a hard thing to picture, and it still feels like I’m gawking at disaster porn… I mean, sure, I guess I am, but it’s a hard thing to make sense of. It sounds comical. It has this weird Willy Wonkaesque quality and it was decidedly not funny.
Also not funny, I have to feel empathy for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and she is a person I have literally made jokes about how her kids cry and dig trenches and cover them with tarps so she’ll fall in them and can’t come back home. I mean, she’s fucking monstrous in her own right, but I can’t say that I didn’t feel a giant lump forming in the back of my throat when she said that General Kelly and the Orange Pile of Shit laughed about her taking one for the team and going to live in North Korea with Kim Jong Un since he seemed to take a shine to her. And maybe the lump was vomit, but it was on her behalf, not because of her this time. Because the women who haven’t somehow… been where she was in that moment before… have just blocked those moments from their memories. Sorry, not sorry. Also, this is about a dictator who has kidnapped people for shit like this… glean some information about the outside world, use them up, toss them.
Otto Warmbier, the kid who was put in a North Korean prison camp for something he probably didn’t do (or was possibly a misunderstanding, but from the sounds of it, it seems most people who have been there in an official sense don’t imagine that it would even be possible for him to get where he was to do what they’d accused him of…) what must his parents feel hearing that? I mean, he comes home dead, basically, and there’s a general condemning and then all of a sudden we’re making jokes about giving away the Press Secretary to a guy who is responsible for murdering your son? Fuck that.
So I am a goddamn ray of sunshine today. I’m just saying. There have always been explosions, and people looking in the holes from the trees above, and I don’t… think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think it can build empathy and experience. I think you can come out of bad shit broken beyond repair and better… but also, you don’t have to. Right? Things going to shit is inevitable, emerging covered in shit and feeling like shit til the bitter end may be inevitable, but you don’t necessarily always emerge better for it. You may emerge different, and better. Or just different. Just try not to be a whole new variety of asshole, society.