A Box Full of Angry Voices
I was standing outside the other day, waving my stick at traffic, directing tourists into the parking garage, and a couple of guys walked by dressed up in full urban attire, despite the fact that I live in a small beach town where flip flops are considered formal dress.
What caught my attention was the portable boom box (Yes, some people still actually carry those things around. I guess they like their music so much that they think you’ll like it too. I guess.) one of them was carrying, blasting away at max volume with some quite-a-bit-less-than-friendly rap music.
And then it struck me.
A box full of angry voices.
These two were walking down the sidewalk wearing quarrelsome looks, beneath a cerulean sky, being kissed by a balmy ocean breeze, and surrounded by a host of cheery, agreeable people, including no small number of knock-out-gorgeous girls, minimally clad to greatest effect.
Clearly, there was not enough unhappiness and anger in the surrounding ambience, and these two had apparently determined that it was their job to rectify that signal imbalance in the local force field.
With a box full of angry voices.
And I just had to stop and consider exactly what was going on, and the more I thought about it, the weirder things got.
At first, my mind took the easy route and the first thought it gave me was that these two unfortunates were clearly from some woefully blighted place like Detroit or somewhere similar, and had endured so much misfortune in their lives that to them, a bad mood was an actual improvement.
They thought they were fitting right in.
But I kept on thinking about it, and further insights into things began to rise to the surface.
If my initial thought was correct, then what’s up with all of those wretches you cross paths with on a regular basis, no matter where you go, who have incorporated their box full of angry voices into their automobiles, the better to broadcast the hate, the anger, the misogyny, and all the rest of it, across the widest possible area?
Are things that bad everywhere?
No, they are not.
We are living in a Golden Age. An Age of Miracles and Wonder.
We fly above the clouds, far faster than any eagle ever dreamt of.
We hurtle across the land, far faster than any cheetah ever imagined.
We are so unfathomably far away from famine that our greatest problem with food is that we have too much of it.
Disease has been pushed back so far that almost everyone can expect a full and fruitful life, well into their seventh and eighth decades.
No invaders clamor against the city gates.
Hell, the city doesn’t even have gates. What would they be there for in the first place?
An incomprehensible array of entertainments is either piped directly into our homes or is readily available in our nearby environs.
All of the knowledge of the world, enough to beggar the Great Library of Alexandria, is literally at our fingertips, a button-press away.
And yet people, lots of people, stop what they’re doing, take the time from their otherwise well-filled lives, spend money they may have worked very hard to acquire, and set themselves up with a fucking box full of angry voices.
And it’s not just the mopes on the street and the misanthropes driving in their cars.
A dear friend of mine cleans houses in the well-heeled parts of town, and I enter similar homes as part of my job as a computer repairman, and both of us can attest from personal experience that most of these places too, are infested with their own boxes full of angry voices.
This ever so peculiar malady pervades all reaches of society, from the lowest to the highest. From the guy who has nothing, all the way up to the guy who has everything.
Oftentimes, the box will deliver pictures in addition to the voices.
And it’s everlastingly the same thing, over and over.
Besuited gentlemen and well-dressed women sit in chairs and angrily denounce the world around them as falling apart at the seams, filled with dangerous predators who lurk behind every hedge and around every corner, waiting to snatch a purse, abduct a child, knife another victim, or shoot up another classroom. Terrorists and armies threaten from both near and far. Moles and fifth columns, with unspeakable malice in their hearts, have infiltrated the very fabric of our society. A government run amok seeks to press its boot heel with ever-growing weight upon our powerlessly supine necks.
Behind the presenters, a screen cycles through endless images of policemen, ambulances, terrorists, bombs going off, fires consuming homes, scary people doing scary things, diseases stalking the land, guns shooting innocents, rapists smirking at their victims, and mass-murderers murdering masses.
The steady diet of this kind of stuff inevitably acts as a corrosive upon the brains that subject themselves to it and the end product is an endless treadmill of fear worry and anger, anger worry and fear.
In the name of all holy fuck, WHY?
Why are people doing this to themselves?
What the actual fuck is going on here?
I wish I knew.
I really do.
Because I have to deal with these horrifyingly mislead idiots at every turn of my life.
I walk outside.
I am well fed.
The sun is shining.
Birds chirp hopefully in the trees.
The temperature of the breeze is exactly perfect.
My own health is excellent and everyone I see around me is also healthy and well taken care of.
No axe-wielding murderers.
No bullets flying.
No guns to be seen anywhere.
But god forbid I should offer to help someone’s small child with a difficult task.
God forbid I should speak to a stranger.
God forbid I should appear at someone’s door, unannounced.
Because all hell will surely break loose in an instant.
What the fuck is wrong with you people, anyway?
Whatever it is, it is serious business indeed, but I do not understand the least of it.
Nor do I ever expect to.
And so I must negotiate the shoals of fear, lurking just beneath the surface, at every step along my path through life.
I think sometimes that there has to be some bizarre compulsion for a minimum daily requirement of fear and anger that is hard-wired into most every human brain.
We live in a time where fear is wholly unjustified for the most part, and so people invent fears to feed themselves with.
Yes, I know that bad stuff really does happen sometimes. And there really are places where you’d best keep the doors locked.
But it occurs on nothing remotely resembling the scale at which people pivot their entire lives around it.
And since it’s not really happening outside on the streets, or inside in their houses, people furnish themselves with a box full of angry voices to ensure that the fires of their fear and anger remain sufficiently stoked at all times.
What a great idea.
A box full of angry voices.
What could possibly go wrong with that?