At 1:04 P.M., I drove by an empty gas station and decided to pull into it later as I left My post-lunch meeting.
At 2:21 P.M., that same gas station and nine more along My route were jam-packed with cars lining up, even extending the lines out onto traffic. In two cases, police were stationed (pun intended) around the newly-created traffic jams to help increase the overall level of stress.
What happened in those 77 minutes? A rumor. A freaking rumor in this fucking carnival of empty-headed blather hyperamped to the max by Fools without the brains to fill a gnat's ass, media maggots who wished they were as smart as Fools and a population too lazy to think their way into the faintest shimmer of rationality.
The trigger, according to media maggots? An e-mail rumor that truckers would go on strike and stop delivering gas and--BAM!--sudden panic. People screeching U-turns to get into line just to buy a half-tank of gas because IT'S GOING TO RUN OUT!! A stampede as the highest expression of Our god-forsaken herd mentality.
Happens too when a hurricane scare heads Our way: people buying 72 four-packs of toilet paper because IT'S GOING TO RUN OUT!! As I told a woman in a supermarket last year (nowhere near My finest moment, I agree), unless you're buying for an old folks' home or you have the worst case of diarrhea known to medical science, buying 72 packages of toilet paper is idiocy. She cleaned out the supermarket and what happened? I WATCHED as several other people rushed to a store nearby and bought several DOZEN packages themselves. Stupidity as contagious as a virus.
What does this sudden need--yes, need--for panic say about Us? Simple: that We have no confidence in each other. None. If you scratch past the surface of Our society, you'll uncover a snarling mass of insecurities aimed specifically at each other.
We simply don't trust each other. We don't think We're really a community that can come together in times of need. When it comes to helping others, We'd much rather help someone We don't know than Our own neighbors. We live in a zero-sum world called the Island of Enchantment and We almost-proudly ignore anything anybody says that can help Us change. Now let any barely verbal shit-for-brains say anything like "Wolf!", "Fire!" or "The sky is falling!" and We're all over THAT like flies on...you know.
Now sometimes, there is a wolf or a fire. But all it takes is a little thoughtful action to determine whether there actually is a wolf or fire behind every call. The fables are right: frequent "alarms" must eventually be ignored, for the majority are invariably false. And as for the sky falling, that's never happened, never will and in any case, isn't that just so easy to check out?
If the problem is consistent and persistent, the solution is to stop calling out alarms and start doing something about the problem. Imagine that! The Fools can't.
And it would seem impossible to most of Us. Better to panic first, then wonder if the money spent was worth it. Maybe that's it: We just love the idea of having another reason to go shopping.
I'm going for a walk now. Maybe I'll see a wolf. Or set a fire.
The Jenius Has Spoken.