It starts small, the half and half for my coffee somehow turned to cheese in my fridge. My neighbors, after fighting long and loud all night, decided that 4 am make up sex, with the athleticism of the Russian gymnastics team and the sound quality of hyenas ravaging a haunch of meat, was the best thing for their relationship. My knee gave out because it needs surgery and I keep avoiding that clear fact. Then, sipping my uncreamed coffee, scrolling through news on Huff Post, I am again in danger of being swallowed by the tsunami of seemingly insurmountable horrific news of the world. The civil unrest in North Carolina. The political unrest and confusion in our government. The imminent election of a psychopath. War, famine, intolerance of race, religion and then there’s reality TV but, don’t get me started. What starts to set in is a morning dose of hopelessness. Then, off to the left, not even a center column story, far down below stories about Amy Schumer, Netflix, tips on how we can cope with the Brangelina break up, I see the headline;
Chan Zuckerberg initiative sets goal to cure everything.
To cure everything. The giddy audacity of the headline makes me click on the story. There it is, Chan Zuckerberg and her husband have pledged a billion dollars to cure all diseases. Something is shifting in me. The cynical part of myself, which is large and poorly dressed, gives way to a very romantic notion of Chan coming home from work, devastated from having to tell the parents of a child in her care that there is nothing she can do, their child is going to die. She breaks down and weeps as Mark puts a bowl of spaghetti O’s down and he asks what he can do to help. She raises her head, wipes her eyes and says; “let’s cure everything.” Because he loves her, he says yes, why not, we have the money, let’s cure everything and then, it’s set in motion. Now, I know that’s probably not what happend, I am sure there were lawyers and accountants but, what I know about money and how it works could fill the gall bladder of an amoeba, if they even have one of those, But, I like the simple, romantic, I’m going to make it all better, idea. That, I like. That takes away some of the dark and replaces it with knick knacks of hope.
They are going to cure everything. As I read on, I start to laugh because they’re talking dollar amounts in the hundred billions, which I still believe is not a real number, like some kind of Dr, Seussian dream, like a page from Oh The Doctors You Will Know.
The pill we’ve developed, oh sweet, mighty pill, will cure all your aches, dispel all your ills. Will heal all your brokens and mend all your please, this pill we’ve created to cure all disease …
My large and poorly dressed cynicism leaves, heads off to a bar to meet up with misery, my mother-in-law and Scott Baio, because misery loves Chachi. I’m left alone with the creeping lightness of hope.
This claim, this goal, no it doesn’t cure the civil unrest in our country. It doesn’t stop war, intolerance of religion, race, sexual preference. It doesn’t close the huge chasm between folks this rich and the rest of us ham and eggers. It certainly doesn’t take away the pain over the ones we’ve lost. It doesn’t explain our current political situation or unlock the reason why someone created contronyms but, it gives the feeling of a sort of bubbling hope.
We used to dream huge, man on the moon, eradicate polio dreams. Not for money, not for fame but, for mankind. For all of us. For the universal spirit that unites us all. Those dreams were lofty and ludicrous and yet, they made us say, why not? We can. We will. And when we did, I don’t know, there was something in the eyes of strangers that said we, all of us, in some way, are a part of this incredibleness. We, as individuals, can only do some much, but we, united, determined, focused, there is nothing we can’t do, just look at that flag on the moon.
If you’re like me, well then, I’m deeply sorry and I hate to say this but it never gets better, but, if you are like me, then maybe you’ve been looking for a reason to have hope. This isn’t the average, every day, I hope this day goes by quickly, I hope I can make it to my kid’s birthday party, I hope no one notices I am wearing two pairs of underwear, kind of thing. This is big hope, universal hope; I hope it isn’t all in vain, I hope someday it all makes sense … I hope we can do more. That kind of hope. That kind of lost to history, beaten and forgotten, what did it ever do for me, kind of hope. Not a political slogan, not a commercial tag line, not an after school special that will fail to revive the career of Kristy Mcnichol, kind of hope. This is more of a stop in your tracks, think about what is going on, look to the sky, believe in the possible, take no prisoners, acknowledge your fellow man, give it an extra try, stay late just because, hug the loved ones a minute longer, yes, yes, yes we can do that I have no doubts anymore, kind of hope.
Isn’t that just a kick in the pants?
Today is the Autumnal equinox. The perpendicularity of the earth to the sun. Equal day and night. I’m sure there is some technical glitch and I will be told it’s not exactly equal because … and it will involve math and my self imposed narcolepsy will set it in but, for all intents and purposes, today is balance. Balance is a starting point, Balance is the place where we have it all under control and what happens next is up for grabs. I’m writing to people who don’t even know me. I’m writing because I was given a dose of hope this morning. I am writing because I want to advance that hope, point out that balance and encourage you all to embrace it, enjoy it, know it is there and it is for all of us. Busy day, busy lives, things to do, deadlines to keep, people to please, yup, I know. Just, for one second today, think about the fact that there are people on this planet who have thrown down the gauntlet, stood up tall and said, excuse me, I have to go now because I am going to cure everything. Dream large, dream insanely large because you never know when it may give hope to someone who truly needs it.