A letter written in the sky in December 2016, concerning truths, lies, seafaring, and the apocalypse.
Greetings from row 44 of Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 from Phoenix to Honolulu. Would you be surprised to learn that I can see the Space Needle from here? You should be, because that is an unbelievable and untrue lie. The Space Needle is too far away to see. We saw the islands off the coast by Santa Barbara, but they’re behind us now. We’re out over the ocean.
Mandy keeps looking over to read this letter, so I guess I should talk about how beautiful and kind she is. Truly she looks radiant today and the goodness of her heart is unmatched by anyone in the world. Furthermore, her hair smells terrific.
I know that you and I have both thought a lot about what to do in the event of an apocalypse, and I know that we have both looked toward the cover art on sci-fi novels for wisdom and guidance. It’s helpful to see how other visionaries have imagined the future. “Lookin’ real good today, Wasteland,” we would say to no one in particular, surveying our domain from the roof of a quasi-functional Isuzu Trooper.
But what if there was another option? A viable alternative? I’m speaking, of course, of the post-apocalyptic future envisioned by the makers of Waterworld, starring Kevin Costner. What if you just lived in the ocean on a goddamn boat? “No land again today,” you could write in your journal. “But the weather is nice and I made friends with a fish.”
Think about it. Instead of standing on the roof of your truck, you could stand on your boat. “Master of all I see. Master of the ocean.” Suddenly, an old tire floats by. “I can use this to breed mosquitoes for food! My, how the tables have turned — it seems the hunter has become the hunted.” Technically the mosquitoes will not have become the hunted; they will have become a domesticated food animal, but such distinctions matter little when you’re living on wits and bugs in the middle of the ocean. “Why did I make friends with a fish? I should have eaten it instead.”
On the North Rim of Grand Canyon there’s a little outcrop of rock with a fence around it like the bow of a ship. I once told someone that James Cameron visited that very spot and shouted, “I’m the king of the world!” and that was the inspiration for the famous line in the movie Titanic. It wasn’t and I can’t bear the thought of sending visitors away with false information. So I quickly explained that I had lied.
Anyway: Come on out to Grand Canyon. I told Mandy you were considering a trip out here, and she was very excited to hear that — she really wants to meet you. Please feel free to lie to her about how courteous, polite, and mature I was in my mid-twenties. Good talking with you the other day. Wishing you continued success and lots of babies soon.