Tag Archives: humor

A Matter Of Convenience

I grew up in a time and place when telephones were quite common.  TELEPHONES, not cell phones and certainly not smart phones.  The telephones I speak of were dependable and utilitarian.  In the 1960s of my youth, almost every house had a telephone, ONE telephone, that is, a single phone for the entire household.  This telephone had a rotary dialer (anyone under the age of 35 will likely need to Google the term) and a handset that was permanently attached to the base of the phone by a thick and curly cord, a base that was itself permanently tethered by wire to a wall or baseboard, lacking even the more “modern” feature of being wired with 4-prong phone jack which could allow a phone to be unplugged from a wall outlet in one room and moved to another room.  There were no answering machines, either.  If you missed a call, well, tough.  They’d just have to call back if it was that important.  And this was enough.

Now our new wireless handsets put us at the beck and call (pun intended) of, potentially, the entire world.  How many times have you been engaged in a face-to-face conversation with someone, only to have their cell phone ring and interrupt?  “I’m sorry but I really need to take this call.  It’ll only take a minute.”  Or the times that a serenade of cute/vile/witty/obnoxious/ad infinitum notifications announce the arrival of a text or an email or a social media status update?  How invasive.  How rude.  And how unnecessary.

I will admit with no hesitation that my own smart phone is customarily within easy reach (though almost never on my person) in a location where I can quickly retrieve it should I need it.  And, as often as not, the phone is on airplane mode, whether day or night.  Therein lies the point of this entire dispatch – my phone is for MY convenience, not for the immediate access to me by anyone else with the technology required to do so.  The instantaneous incursion of the rest of the world into my space is something I no longer tolerate or allow.  “But what happens if you miss something important?” people will ask.  My very comfortable response is a smile and a gentle reminder that, if it’s that important they’ll leave a voice mail or call back.  It is the artificial urgency technology permits that engenders so much stress in our bodies and our minds.  FOMO – fear of missing out – is a menace that is both insidious and destructive.  This is a stress that is completely within my power to reduce greatly if not eliminate entirely.  All that is required is the flip of a virtual switch.

Lest there be any confusion as to my intentions and ultimate goals, I am not a Luddite.  I don’t think technology is inherently dangerous or a threat to all that is good and right with the world.  It is my aim, however, to not be swayed by the priorities or narratives of a culture that does not have my best interests at heart.  To put it bluntly, my phone is for my convenience and no one else.

Those old telephones (with their features as well as their limitations) were a convenience that served me well for decades.  Using new tech in an old way serves me quite well now.  It is, for me, enough.

©Billy Red Horse

Hell On Earth

I am here today to convey a warning that, alas, only the wise shall heed: Hell is VERY real.  I know for I have been there.  I have experienced first hand the misery of the place, smelled the stench of the ovens and the countless bodies that have passed through the gates, and heard with my own ears the cacophony of the tortured souls contained therein.  How I found myself, an unwilling guest, there among the damned, I do not know; obfuscation and confusion are allies of the tormentors and the scourge of the tormented.  I recognize my good fortune in that I somehow managed to escape, by what means I cannot say.  I know only that my gratitude at being free of that wretched realm is without bounds.  I now feel it my duty to sound the alarm, to alert the unknowing, the unwitting, and the unbelieving, for the portals of damnation are often close and perilously easy to enter.

Through subtle plea or determined summons, the unsuspecting are enticed into the maw of the abyss, as if guided by the hand of an innocent little child.  The curious and the obliging make such easy prey.  Once through the gates the assault on body, mind, and senses begins.  The false promises of fun and games give way swiftly to a stunned awareness that condemnation is at hand.

Hell is a place of darkness, yet it is filled with lights of dazzling color and variety, oscillating madly and blinding in their intensity.  From every shadowy corner they shine on the assembled throngs, oppressive and unrelenting.  There is no solace to be found, for should one light begin to dim, another will take its place, more offensive and more odious than the one it superseded.

Detritus litters the ground, piled high and scattered all about, decomposing where it sits.  Cries and shouts like thunder assault the ears as demonic orchestras grind out their tortured melodies.  As for respite, there is none to be had, only discomfort and mayhem and distress.

The last thought there is of hunger, but the minions of blackness foist their potions and poisons on the gathered denizens, so-called “food” prepared and served that at once offends the nostrils and turns the stomach, a mockery of the real needs of the cursed.

In this land all is frenzied and kinetic; demons run to and fro, laughing as they torture the masses and even one another.  The den of suffering is populated by creatures difficult to describe, with no comparison to be found in nature.  Vile Myomorpha the size of full-grown men, taunting and teasing, beasts that sing high praise and dance with glee at the folly of the damned.  Lurking in mazes or trapped in cages, it is often difficult to discern the prisoners from the ungrudging sentinels of Beelzebub.

No more, no more, I can speak of my travail no more!  Should, by hapless circumstance, my shadow ever again darken the kingdom of torment, I fear I would not be so lucky as to elude for a second time the fiends abiding there which delight in the agonies of another.  I confess the very thought brings a sweat to my brow and the trembles to my knees.

Hades, Tartarus, Sheol, Gehenna, and Tophet, all ancient names for the Land of the Lost.  But be warned and be wary for there is yet another name for Perdition’s abode.  Be vigilant and permit no one to lure you there and dare not even to utter its infernal name:

Chuck E. Cheese’s.

©Billy Red Horse