Big

by Jeff Costello, June 14, 2017

Getting my first computer was inspired by a visit to AVA regular Jim Gibbons, in the hills outside of Willits. He was on solar power and had a Mac Plus hooked up to an inverter supplying AC current. I wrote my first letter to the AVA on that machine, which Gibbons called a "magical typewriter." And indeed it was. You could correct and edit text without the cumbersome use of carbon paper. Wow. And now look. The computer and related devices control our lives more or less. I admit to being addicted to facebook, which has replaced my previous addiction, email.

On facebook I see photos of friends, and their children, and now grandchildren. Time goes by. And many other photographs of many other things. If my facebook feed was any indication one might believe that having cats (or dogs) is the answer to everything. Photography has changed but human nature remains - fortunately and unfortunately - the same.

Here in the flyover zone, one symptom of male existential nausea is big pickup trucks. They keep getting bigger. There are jokes about the bigger the truck, the dumber the owner. But I don't think it's necessarily about intelligence, it's about being noticed in the land of the self-absorbed. It seems to me the need to take up more space in an increasingly overpopulated world is poor timing.

All my life I've seen uncountable pictures of men with big things they'be built, destroyed and killed. Today's special was a rerun of Donald Jr. and Eric Trump with dead animals they killed "on safari" in Africa — a leopard, an elephant, and so on. Also today, a photo of men with trunks of giant redwoods they'd felled. In Kona, Hawaii, there is a thriving charter fishing industry. Men come from all over the US to pay lots of money to get on a boat and try to catch a big marlin. Many do. The fish are hung up and pictures are taken with the man standing next to his catch. The man goes back to the hotel feeling like a big shot and the fish goes to be processed as food. The boat captain gets paid twice. At least the fish gets eaten, and marlin is pretty good. But what happens to Trump Jr.'s leopard and elephant? Look at this big thing I killed. Men with something to prove. WTF.

These sorts of people call themselves "avid outdoorsmen." I'm reminded of "The Most Dangerous Game," which was written not by G.K. Chesterton, but Richard Connell. The story concerns a man hunting another man as game. If only… imagine the Trump brothers stuffed and mounted on someone's wall.

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