UNIVERSE: Hey America, I’m going to give you a test.
AMERICA: Looking up from cellphone screens: Ummm, okay….
UNIVERSE: Let me drop a toolbox full of wrenches into your daily life, and let’s see how you handle it.
For starters, I’ll take away most of your fun events and activities. Oh, I don’t know, let’s kick things off by cancelling your professional and collegiate sports. While we’re at it, let’s cancel your parades, your festivals, and your concerts. And what’s say we cancel it all for the foreseeable future.
Now I’ll remove some of your more common pleasures: your Starbucks and your Dunkin’ Donuts, perhaps all of your favorite fast food indulgences. And let’s include your nicer restaurants, bars, and movie theaters for good measure.
Next, we’ll arbitrarily eliminate some items that are a little more personal: how about toilet paper, bottled water, and batteries, for starters. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to randomize everything that is (or is not) on the store shelves.
Plan on traveling anytime soon? Yeah let’s cancel all of that as well, including air travel, cruises, and theme parks. We might as well cancel all of your kids’ activities too, the soccer, karate, girl scouts, etc.
How are you doing so far? Still surviving? Planning on just hunkering down and bingeing for a few weeks or months? Okay, that’s fine. Just plan on using your same old device for a while, because there will be no new iPhones or Androids coming out this year.
Okay, what else can I add to this test.
Let’s make sure the kids are home from school all day every day to test your patience. Oh, and you’ll have to home school them somehow in between TV bingeing. Hopefully your favorite snacks are still available. What do I mean by that? Well, I may decide to haphazardly sabotage various companies and industries, just for kicks. Maybe chips, maybe cookies, maybe beer and soda, or perhaps all meat and dairy. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it completely random.
Let’s make your home life even more interesting. How about I screw with those home services you rely so heavily on. Maybe your internet or cable TV goes down, and I ensure that a service call is at least a month out. Demand is extremely high, after all, because everyone else is at home doing the same thing you are.
Now let’s shift gears and pummel your future outlook by killing your stock portfolio for a good long while. And let’s randomly take out different businesses, so that a bunch of you are without income. Think that’s rough? Don’t worry, there’s more. I haven’t even revealed the hardest part of the test.
In my ultimate test of your collective will, I’ll take out a healthy portion of unhealthy (and unlucky) individual Americans. Don’t worry, I won’t discriminate by race, gender, age, or ethnic background. And I certainly won’t discriminate by political leanings. I’ll be completely impartial in how I spread the misery.
Speaking of politics, the cherry on top of this nightmarish and bloody sundae is that I will guarantee optimum chaos in that you won’t know which of your leaders to trust. You won’t even know which medical or emergency experts to trust. And you won’t be able to tell fake facts from true rumors.
So, America, this is the test. How will you perform? Can you do without? How’s your mental, emotional, and psychological fortitude? How are you going to deal with it all?
Who will you turn to?
What will you put your faith in?
Have you Americans become too soft, too comfortable in your cushy lives? It appears to me, the Universe, that you have pushed your consumerist lifestyle to such a degree that, well, one must wonder what would happen if it were all taken away.
As things stand today, you can have virtually anything at your fingertips, or your doorstep, instantaneously. But what if it was all suddenly taken away? All your stuff? All your retirement income and savings? Perhaps even your loved ones?
I offer the prospect of such a test in order to force a bit of reflection. I suggest a very long, deep look in the proverbial mirror, both as a nation and as individuals. Are you self-aware enough, self-sufficient enough, to withstand such a test?
One day, perhaps sooner than you think, it may be the end of the world as you know it. And how do you feel?