[What’s Happening?, 1,126 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
From the day we are born, we are filled with such confusion. As human beings, we open our eyes and look at our hands, we are confused and full of questions. We ask ourselves this one question over and throughout our lives, “What’s happening?”
The infant birthing room was full of babies, still in their pods. They were just awakening to the mysteries of life. They were instructed and equipped with a standard education. All of which allowed them to express themselves and ask the questions as was intended. Many of the infants grew and they were told about the books and the information that had been pre-recorded. Just like their ancestors before them, these beings wanted to know one thing, ‘What’s happening?’ Some of them read books, others conversed and tried to reason out logically what was, in fact, happening.
There was disorder and there was chaos in the birthing room as all the infants grew, they moved out from the birthing room and into the education system where they were told to select a pathway to find out what was happening. Different streams of thought offered different pathways of reasoning to answer the question of ‘what was happening?’ The experience of life was confusing enough for many of these individuals as they struggled to come to grips with the idea of life. What was confusing to them furthermore was the fact that previous generations had been born, lived and died without coming into any solid or concrete answers over to what was happening.
One of the individuals; Cam, was especially confused by the experience of life. He looked at his hands and had questions run through his head like, ‘What am I?’, and, of course, ‘what’s happening?’
Cam roamed and inquired within all the different schools of thought. Then he came across one where a group of men and women in white coats were busying themselves with microscopes, test tubes performing a number of experiments. Perhaps, Cam thought, they knew what was happening. So he inquired, “Excuse me. Yes, you!”
One of them turned around and spoke abruptly, “I am not ‘you’. I am a scientist!”
The way the scientist spoke, with such authority, made Cam want to apologise, “I’m sorry Mr. Scientist. But I have a question.”
“Yes, what is your question?”
The scientist took Cam aside and explained, “Well, son, we don’t know that yet. But we’re busy working that out. We have the best and brightest attempting to figure out what is, in fact, happening. But until then, you will just have to wait for the answer. Rest assured though, the best and brightest are onto this question. If anyone tells you they know what’s happening, you just tell them that they don’t know what’s happening yet and that the best and brightest are still trying to figure that one out.”
“Oh, I see.” Cam was satisfied with this answer and eagerly awaited for the best and brightest to figure out what was happening, so that he, in turn, could know what was happening.
Cam wandered for some time. Until he saw a group of people running towards a larger group of people. He caught some of the words that the people racing past were saying amongst each other. According to them, someone had figured out what was happening. Intrigued, Cam followed them to see if they knew what was happening.
At the centre of a large group of people was a man, dressed in an odd fashion, giving a speech, “Hello all you lovely people,” the man said, “I bet you’ve all been asking yourself that question. What’s hap-pen-ing?” The way the man accentuated his words was in a funky style. “Well, I have the answer. That’s right folks, I know what’s hap-pen-ing.” The man lifted up a pair of pants from a box full of pants, “Bell bottom pants are what’s hap-pen-ing.” The crowd cheered, because they had found out what was happening. And everyone wanted a pair of bell bottom pants, because that was what’s happening.
Cam crossed his arms and muttered to himself, “Nonsense. Bell bottom pants are not what’s happening. They still don’t know what’s happening. The best and brightest are still trying to figure that out.” And Cam walked away, not bothering to buy himself a pair of bell bottomed pants.
A man, who had heard Cam’s mutterings, knew what was happening. And so he chased after Cam to tell him what was, in fact, happening. “Hey, you! I know what’s happening.”
Cam laughed at the man, “You know what’s happening. I don’t believe you. Very well, tell me what’s happening.”
“Well,” the man started, “everyone is confused and doesn’t know what is happening. So everyone is asking themselves, ‘what’s happening?’ People offer trends and crazes to tell people what is happening and this temporarily relieves the confusion. The people who offer these explanations of what is happening are doing so in order to make money for themselves. In order to do this they have to ignore telling people this so that they can continue selling different reasons for what’s happening.”
Cam, again, laughed at the man, “Nonsense. That’s not what’s happening. They don’t know what’s happening yet. The best and brightest are still trying to figure that out.”
“No, it’s true. They’re all doing it to make money. Even the scientists.”
“Nonsense.” And then they argued for a while. The argument raised in heat and anger as Cam became more and more angry with the man. Cam ended up in a fight with the man who was attempting to explain to him what was happening. They parted ways in disagreement.
Afterwards, Cam decided to go back to the scientists, assured that by this time they would have figured out what was happening. When he arrived, he asked politely. “Mr. Scientist, do you know what’s happening yet?”
The scientist took Cam aside and explained, “Well, son, we don’t know that yet. But we’re busy working that out. We have the best and brightest attempting to figure out what is, in fact, happening. But until then, you will just have to wait for the answer. Rest assured though, the best and brightest are onto this question. If anyone tells you they know what’s happening, you just tell them that they don’t know what’s happening yet and that the best and brightest are still trying to figure that one out.” The speech was obviously rehearsed and practiced a million times.
“Oh.” Cam simply stated.
“But if you want to help, you can make a small donation to our experiments. It would really help us find out what’s happening.”
“No, it’s okay.” Cam walked away and then thought about it. Maybe that other man was right.