I let them do some simple arithmetic. In a group of one hundred people, how many assholes are there? How many fathers who humiliate their children? How many morons whose breath stinks like rotten meat but who refuse to do anything about it? How many hopeless cases who go on complaining all their lives about the non-existent injustices they’ve had to suffer? Look around you, I said. How many of your classmates would you be pleased not to see return to their desks tomorrow morning? Think about that one family member of your own family, that irritating uncle with his pointless, horseshit stories at birthday parties, that ugly cousin who mistreats his cat. Think about how relieved you would be - and not only you, but virtually the entire family - if that uncle or cousin would step on a landmine or be hit by a five-hundred-pounder dropped from a high altitude. If that member of the family were to be wiped off the face of the earth. And now think about all those millions of victims of all the wars there have been in the past - I never specifically mentioned the Second World War, I used it as an example because it’s the one that most appeals to their imaginations - and think about the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of victims who we need to have around like we need a hole in the head. Even from a purely statistical standpoint, it’s impossible that all those victims were good people, whatever kind of people that may be. The injustice is found more in the fact that the assholes are also put on the list of innocent victims. That their names are also chiselled into the war memorials.
Herman Koch
The next morning I told Mom I couldn't go to school again. She asked what was wrong. I told her, The same thing that’s always wrong. You’re sick? I am sad. About Dad? About everything. She sat down on the bed next to me, even though I knew she was in a hurry. What's everything? I started counting on my fingers: The meat and dairy products in our refrigerator, fistfights, car accidents, Larry– Who's Larry? The homeless guy in front of the Museum of Natural History who always says ‘I promise it’s for food’ after he asks for money. She turned around and I zipped her dress while I kept counting. How you don’t know who Larry is, even though you probably see him all the time, how Buckminster just sleeps and eats and goes to the bathroom and has no ‘raison d’etre’, the short ugly guy with no neck who takes tickets at the IMAX theater, how the sun is going to explode one day, how every birthday I always get at least one thing I already have, poor people who get fat because they eat junk food because it’s cheaper… That was when I ran out of fingers, but my list was just getting started and I wanted it to be long, because I knew she wouldn't leave while I was still going. …domesticated animals, how I have a domesticated animal, nightmares, Microsoft Windows, old people who sit around all day because no one remembers to spend time with them and they’re embarrassed to ask people to spend time with them, secrets, dial phones, how Chinese waitresses smile even when there’s nothing funny or happy and also how Chinese people own Mexican restaurants but Mexican people never own Chinese restaurants, mirrors, tape decks, my unpopularity in school, Grandma’s coupons, storage facilities, people who don’t know what the Internet is, bad handwriting, beautiful songs, how there won’t be humans in fifty years– Who said there won't be humans in fifty years? I asked her, Are you an optimist or a pessimist? She looked at her watch and said, I am optimistic. Then I have some bed news for you, because humans are going to destroy each other as soon as it becomes easy enough to, which will be very soon. Why do beautiful songs make you sad? Because they aren't true. Never? Nothing is beautiful and true.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Once there was and once there was not a devout, God-fearing man who lived his entire life according to stoic principles. He died on his fortieth birthday and woke up floating in nothing. Now, mind you, floating in nothing was comforting, light-less, airless, like a mother’s womb. This man was grateful.But then he decided he would love to have sturdy ground beneath his feet, so he would feel more solid himself. Lo and behold, he was standing on earth. He knew it to be earth, for he knew the feel of it.Yet he wanted to see. I desire light, he thought and light appeared. I want sunlight, not any light and at night it shall be moonlight. His desires were granted. Let there be grass. I love the feel of grass beneath my feet. And so it was. I no longer wish to be naked. Only robes of the finest silk must touch my skin. And shelter, I need a grand palace whose entrance has double-sided stairs and the floors must be marble and the carpets Persian. And food, the finest of food. His breakfast was English; his midmorning snack French. His lunch was Chinese. His afternoon tea was Indian. His supper was Italian and his late-night snack was Lebanese. Libation? He had the best of wines, of course and champagne. And company, the finest of company. He demanded poets and writers, thinkers and philosophers, hakawatis and musicians, fools and clowns.And then he desired sex.He asked for light-skinned women and dark-skinned, blondes and brunettes, Chinese, South Asian, African, Scandinavian. He asked for them singly and two at a time and in the evenings he had orgies. He asked for younger girls, after which he asked for older women, just to try. The he tried men, muscular men, skinny men. Then boys. Then boys and girls together.Then he got bored. He tried sex with food. Boys with Chinese, girls with Indian. Redheads with ice cream. Then he tried sex with company. He fucked the poet. Everybody fucked the poet.But again he got bored. The days were endless. Coming up with new ideas became tiring and tiresome. Every desire he could ever think of was satisfied.He had had enough. He walked out of his house, looked up at the glorious sky and said, Dear God. I thank You for Your abundance, but I cannot stand it here anymore. I would rather be anywhere else. I would rather be in hell.And the booming voice from above replied, And where do you think you are?
Rabih Alameddine