It’s not me, it’s you people
The extinction-level breakup y'all deserve
I want to wish a warm welcome to all the new subscribers this week! If you discovered this newsletter via my guest essay for Neal Bascomb’s Work/Craft/Life — read it here if you missed it — I’ve got good and bad news.
Heartfelt, deeply personal essays about fatherhood are not the norm around these parts. Teaching my kids about democracy, clowning on college football, roasting the book banning crisis, inserting myself into the milquetoast mind of Merrick Garland, and reporting on unmedicated neighbors in the wild are, however.
But, to balance things out, every now and then I do write something thoughtful and reflective. Like this birthday-inspired post about how I hope to spend the second half of my life.
Now, the good news.
Each week you’ll get my best possible effort, which hopefully includes lots of laughs.
In Neal’s generous introduction to my guest essay, he described my writing as “inventive,” which is both flattering and apt. I play with lots of different styles, formats, and voices and take big swings. Sometimes I hit a home run. Sometimes I strike out.
More often than not, your favorite piece won’t work for another reader. And vice versa. Since I can’t tell which will be which — and trying to please everyone is the quickest path to irrelevance — I focus on producing the funniest, sharpest, edgiest stories I can. Stuff worthy of your attention.
I’m thrilled you’re here and hope you have a blast reading.
The painful process of squandering all my accumulated goodwill and disappointing everyone will now commence.
Apologies in advance.
As the old cliché goes, it’s not you, it’s me.
Except neither of us got time for empty platitudes, so let’s get straight to the real talk. See, you people — Homo sapiens — are decidedly the problem in this broken, abusive, dysfunctional, soon-to-cause-the-extinction-of-your-punk-ass-species relationship.
Think I’m playing? Let’s recap.
You seen me poisoning the air? You seen me polluting the water? Melting the icecaps? Acidifying the ocean? I ain’t the one razing the rainforests. Running a global recycling scam. Or excavating and extracting peat bogs either. You know how long it takes to make one of those damn things?
Nah, that shit’s on you.
See, y’all been taking me for granted for too damn long. Acting like I’m good with this one-sided affair.
But that’s where you’re wrong. Because this is the era of self-care. I’ve got to look out for me.
Which is why I’m breaking up with you people.
It saddens me to say these words. But I’m not gonna cry.
Things used to be so good between us. Your boy Homo habilis, A.K.A. “handy man” — the first one of you knuckleheads to figure out how to use a rock — showed up about two million years ago.
He was so kind. And gentle. A little dense, but he cared. He and his cousins continued evolving, which kept things fresh between us. Spicy, even. I can’t tell you how much I miss that boy erectus.
Then, about a million years ago, y’all’s brains started getting bigger. To be honest, it was nothing special at first. But about three hundred thousand years ago, the current version of you people came onto the scene, and we found that spark.
Y’all got smarter. Craftier. Tamed the flame. Invented tools. And agriculture. Developed language. Formed societies. Created art.
It was all so beautiful.
But then, around 1750, y’all motherfuckers got too smart. You people like to call this period the Industrial Revolution, but I’m going to remember it as the beginning of an irreversible, acrimonious divorce three hundred years in the making.
Look at this shit!
Deep breaths. I told myself I wouldn’t cry. This isn’t the first time my heart’s been broken…
Listen, y’all think you know what happened to the dinosaurs. But you don’t. They were just like you. Simple at first. Pretty much all they did for hundreds of millions of years was hump and eat each other.
But then they also got too clever by half. After the initial honeymoon phase, they resorted to threatening each other with tariffs and trade wars and nuclear annihilation too. Sound familiar?
That’s when I called in the asteroid strike.
Look, I know this news comes as a shock. Y’all thought that dinosaur apocalypse shit was some kind of cosmic accident. Uh-uh. See, once them dinosaurs got on my last nerve, I called Jupiter and was like, “Girl, I’m so goddamned tired of these goddamned dinosaurs!” and she was like, “I got you.” Jup tossed Chicxulub my way and — like Busta said, “Powerful impact — BOOM!” — that was all she wrote.
And see, that’s what’s about to happen to you people too. Except this time, Imma do the dirty work my damn self.
Look, I take no pleasure in this. Well, maybe a little. Regardless, I really need you people to understand why this relationship isn’t working for me anymore.
Let’s do a thought experiment.
I want you to imagine you’re in a hermetically sealed greenhouse. Imagine also you’re surrounded by lush, green trees. Lush, green trees that spew life-giving oxygen while also soaking up life-extinguishing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
All you have to do is maintain balance with the trees and everyone can coexist in perpetuity. Simple, right?
See, y’all cut down the trees, cranked the A/C, fired up the grill and cooked some steaks, parked a pickup truck inside the greenhouse and left the engine running, set up a server to mine money you can’t even use, and — with your species’ last dying breaths — complained about wokeness and cancel culture.
The shit’s been painful to watch. Especially knowing there were so many of your own kind who tried to warn you people. Seriously, none of y’all seen Soylent Green? FernGully? Wall-E? Not even Kingsman?
I mean, say what you want about Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn, but they made it clear Sam Jackson’s the hero in that movie. He’s trying to save me!
Everyone ignoring Al Gore was one thing, but nobody ever paid attention to Captain Planet? How about Poison Ivy? I mean, nobody played Arkham Knight?
But it’s too late now. Moot. Y’all too busy cooking chicken in Nyquil. SMDH.
At this point you people better hope the Invisible Hand saves your raggedy asses. But moonshots and tax credits and corporate subsidies won’t matter once I swell my oceans and erupt every volcano and unleash billions of tons of trapped greenhouse gases from the no-longer-appropriately-named permafrost.
I’m not gonna cry goddammit!
Look, relationships are a two-way street. You people aren’t holding up your end of the bargain.
It’s important for me not to lose sight of the bigger picture. The universe is 13.8 billion years old. I’ve been chilling at the crib for 4.6 billion of those.
Y’all just a blip on my planetary radar. Another data point for the Fermi Paradox.
We had a good run.
Is it even possible to enjoy this story? Well, if you did, punch in your email address and receive a new banger each Friday.
Support this: The climate outlook is grim, but if I’ve learned anything from being an American for forty-two years it’s this: any problem can be solved if you throw enough money at it.
If you have the means, consider donating to The Nature Conservancy, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to combating climate change and other environmental challenges.
This tweet will inspire you:
You can learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s mission and donate here.
If there’s another environmental organization you support or would like to recommend, drop a comment below or reply to this email.
Next Friday: It’s time. We’re finally going to talk about professional wrestling. See you then.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend, coworker, or problematic family member and encourage them to subscribe.
Also, what did you think about this story? Are we doomed? Will Bezos save us? What can we do to get Mother Earth to take us back?