If information were edible I’d have put on about 1000 pounds in the past year. The newspapers, the TV, my family, friends, even people standing in line at the grocery store have so much that they need to tell me, AND ITS VERY IMPORTANT! IT’S SO IMPORTANT THAT IT’S ALL IN CAPS AND THE FONT SIZES ARE SO BIG I CAN ALMOST READ THEM WITHOUT MY GLASSES. There are articles and books (and of course cartoons) that I have to read, videos that I have to watch, speakers that I have to see in person. There are meetings, demonstrations, boycotts, rallies and hashtags that all demand my undivided attention.
I found out yesterday that 400 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every minute. Even if only five minutes of that video is important enough that my community insists I watch it, that is still five times more time than exists in the current universe, assuming I am able to watch videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And that’s just YouTube. What about every other website, podcast, and social media feed in the world? When would I have time to eat, sleep, and pee? Maybe I should be watching videos while I eat, sleep, and pee?
I suppose part of the problem I’m encountering is that so much of what the world thinks I need to know is bad news, and the bad news seems to be getting badder and badder. Sometimes I feel like I’ve entered a boxing ring a century ago, when fights were scheduled to go for 150 rounds. I just keep getting pummeled in three minute increments, and then they sit me down in a corner and throw a bucket of cold water in my face and send me back out to take another pounding.
Even if the news is good it’s more than I can process. I was never particularly adept at remembering people’s names, but now life has gotten to be like an endless cocktail party where I keep getting introduced to IMPORTANT PEOPLE and my life and career, and the very survival of the planet depend on me remembering not only their names, but also the ways in which they are trying to save or screw me, and all I seem to be able to recall is the name of the waiter who is passing around those delicious cheese puff pastries.
My mind has gotten filled to overflowing and what’s backing up out of my mouth and onto the carpet isn’t very pretty to look at. When I think too much about what’s happening I either get really angry, or start laughing hysterically. I have spasms of activity where I kind of flop around like a fish who just got dumped out onto the deck of a fishing boat. I’m sure there’s been a mistake since I’m just a goldfish and the fishermen couldn’t possibly have meant to catch and eat me. I’m sure they’ll want to throw me back in, but what if they don’t notice that they don’t want me until it’s too late? So I’ll hyperactively write congressmen, march to the courthouse, and donate money to someone who’s trying to stop the maniacs from blowing up half of Asia or strip mining Yosemite and feel like I’m making some kind of difference, and then, thank God, the fishermen will throw me back in the water again, and I’ll swim around looking for plankton, or algae, or veggie burgers and fries and listening to my favorite band, the Grateful Phish, and forget all about the apocalyptic activity on the other side of the water’s surface.
The bottom line here is that I know too much for my own good. I can never really be happy being a dumb fish, and yet, when it comes down to it I’m still just a goddamn fish, what am I supposed to do with all this information that I’m being inundated with? I can see the water getting deeper and deeper, dirtier and dirtier, and I can see lots of other fish disappearing but I can’t seem to do much to stop it.
I guess this is just my fate in life. I’m going to continue to consume as much information as I possibly can, even if I can’t remember or process even a small percentage of it, because I have hope or faith or delusions that one little tidbit of this info, mixed with all the other tidbits, will somehow, in one or another of us fish, trigger an insight, an epiphany, and that one of us will hatch a brilliant plan that manages to save not only ourselves, but every other form of life on this planet before it’s too late. So if any of you comes across a tidbit that you think might be the key one, the goldfish’s golden ticket, please send it to me and I’ll do my best to try to digest it.