World War III Radio: Hash Jar Tempo – Well Oiled (1997)

So someone just bashed this up on Youtube yesterday and mine was the 64th view. This sort of hard-rock drone isn’t my usual but it’s the soundtrack for today. I’ve said this before. Sometimes the music sets the tone for the day, and sometimes the day chooses its own sound. This latter scenario is the situation as it stands today. There’s nothing particularly ominous or threatening about the morning, but it’s unseasonably cool and that’s weird. I don’t known… it’s just an odd vibe. Not scary. Just odd.

Just odd.

I get the vibe. I get the mood. You get Hash Jar Tempo.

Yesterday was an odd one too, overall a wonderful peaceful day but it had its own auspicious start, watching a man needlessly bash a fish to death on the pier in Hoboken. He caught it. He could have released it, as I’m pretty sure he is supposed to do. Instead, he swung it hard down onto the cement several times and then kicked its corpse into the water.

Right in front of us, as casual as could be.

Right in front of a dozen pre-school children, out on a jaunt with the caretakers. Most of them seemed unmoved. A couple of them seemed very confused. My partner was duly horrified. I was just plainly disgusted. Not surprised. She didn’t expect it and it came as a terrible shock. I had no reason to suspect it would go that way, but when it did there was no surprise. Her response was natural. Mine was… telling. Something broke in me long ago and for the most part I’ve stopped expecting decency from people. It takes a lot more these days to surprise me.

She couldn’t comprehend the senseless violence: Why would he do that?

My inner dialogue: Oh Mister Fishkiller. One day Karma will find you smashed on the pavement the same way.

But I don’t really believe in Karma. I believe in Random Good and Bad. Both are always right at hand. A second in either direction, or even a split second, and you walk headlong into either. Just know Good when you happen upon it.

I felt that familiar ice though as I watched him wheel the fish on the line up over his head and bring it down hard on the ground. I dreamed of violence. And there may come a day where his body greets the hard ground with the same force, but chances are it will be a random encounter of his own. He will come upon something with force greater than his own. It won’t be my force, despite my fantasy. It will be some random thing and he will not recall anything that he may have done to deserve such a fate. He will believe the world to be unfair. He will feel victimized.

He will feel pain.

And if I’m there to see it, which probably won’t be the case, but if I am I will feel nothing at all.

I may be as broken as he is, but I don’t really know. I just know that my capacity to feel shock or horror has been diminished. I didn’t plan it this way. It happened. My partner said the event only validated her distaste for leaving the house, but that’s because she hasn’t lost her capacity for surprise. She still expects more. But expect nothing and you will rarely be disappointed.

I left that incident yesterday and the rest of the afternoon was wonderful, quite by surprise. I am grateful that I haven’t lost the ability to feel that sort of surprise and gratitude.

I am grateful.

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