Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

2nd thoughts

Prologue

Honestly Kid,

The whole thing gets me down. The world shows almost no sign of get­ting bet­ter and most of the time we don’t do much in our dai­ly lives to help things in a pos­i­tive direc­tion.

But that’s not real­ly what bugs me day in day out. It’s that so few of us pay any atten­tion at all to this stuff. Why is it so damn hard to give a damn about any­one else on this world? It’s too easy and prob­a­bly pret­ty disin­gen­u­ous to start claim­ing that it’s “us ver­sus them” all the time.

I want to give you words of wis­dom, to uplift you, to help you through the mad­ness, to help you see that it’s all worth it. That hav­ing a good job, a home, and a life of peace and a lit­tle com­fort is not only a rea­son­able expec­ta­tion, but also a respon­si­ble one giv­en the state of the world. But I’m not always con­fi­dent that that’s true.

There’s no secu­ri­ty in it. You can still die young and alone. Old and alone. Or just live a pre­dom­i­nant­ly unhap­py life. So much of that depends on luck and your per­son­al per­cep­tion of the nat­ur­al hard­ships we all must face in the course of liv­ing.

So many peo­ple will offer you solu­tions. As sim­ple or as com­plex as you desire and on any giv­en day you will find one or the oth­er con­vinc­ing and attrac­tive. Without know­ing it or by clear pur­pose­ful deci­sion, you may choose one of these solu­tions — though when it comes to phi­los­o­phy, expe­ri­ence and his­to­ry show that most of us are quite inca­pable of mak­ing a real deci­sion about the way we see the world. It’s cul­tur­al and bio­log­i­cal con­di­tion­ing that wins the day. That’s right, most of us can’t even agree on the fun­da­men­tal nature of the world we live in.

Do our prob­lems begin there or end there? I don’t know. Both.

I wish this were a beau­ti­ful poem or sweet song. Even some smooth prose would work. Sorry, I don’t have it and I’m not sure that any tru­ly pro­fi­cient and pure form of high art wouldn’t obscure the point of one voice cry­ing out from the wilder­ness of liv­ing an adult life to you with a warn­ing and a sin­cere hope we don’t run blind­ly into the extinc­tion of humankind.

Meanwhile, I have oth­er prob­lems. And this web­site, my reflec­tions, and the sto­ries I tell are a qui­et way of let­ting you and a few oth­ers (who­ev­er hap­pens upon these pages) in on what I’m see­ing and hear­ing these days in the world around me. Some of these facts aren’t facts at all, some of the fic­tion not so made up, but every­thing I write I will endeav­or to write truth­ful­ly. Maybe when, and if, I reach some con­clu­sion, all of this will help explain why no one is doing any of those big things to repair the big prob­lems of the world and why the so-called lit­tle ones seem so damned over­whelm­ing that it’s all we can do to keep brew­ing the cof­fee each morn­ing.