It ain’t pretty out here.
Recently the 7 billionth sibling joined the teeming ranks of our global tribe. And have we got news for you, kid. It ain’t pretty out here and will only grow uglier during your lifetime.
Listen, Seven Billion, can I just call ya Seven? Thanks, kid, I already feel like we have so much in common. Lemme offer you and the other snot-nosed newcomers a guide for your overcrowded journey through the 21st Century.
First of all, Seven, kudos on your spermatozoon moxie. You beat the odds. Some might call you blessed. Mind if I call you “Lucky”? Single handedly, you transversed the ovum membrane, beating out 180 to 400 million family members who watched life pass ’em by. Let that be a lesson. Don’t chillax in the shallows when you can swim the channel and make something of yourself.
Now take a good look around, Lucky. If you spot a midwife, then you may score a chance at surviving childhood. An OB-GYN, followed by a pediatrician would be aces, but we don’t always get to pick our teams.
We know you can’t see much right now but keep your eyes peeled all the same. Look for signs in your personal setting that may foretell how your story unfolds. That old adage, “It’s a small world after all,” still resonates, truer than ever before. Your first wails could have filled a maternity ward somewhere in America, a land of dwindling resources and disappearing middle class.
Consequently we won’t look to India or Sub-Saharan Africa for sociopolitical instruction on the sins and inequities defining the two remaining classes. Start with the front yard, kid. Did your padres walk through grass and manicured landscape to reach the front door? Can you recall hearing a door open and close when passing through the threshold?
Property, potable running water and electricity will give you a massive edge over brothers and sisters who dream of such luxuries. Listen, if your creators swaddle you in a new crib, ensconced in the corner of a brightly colored room, reeking of latex and Desitin, then you’ve got a running start at a long journey. You could even make it to a State college, but only if the institution survives the next couple decades.
If you came home in a Hummer or other gas-swilling SUV, thank your lucky stars. Your new guardians have the means to blaze a massive carbon footprint whose imprint would impress even Bigfoot. The ability to combust countless gallons while commanding an urban tank on domestic missions, should signal your berth in an exclusive preschool.
Better yet, let’s suppose you spot a high-def flat screen, the size of an uncharted land mass, crowding the family room. Perhaps you’ll want to babble on about its immensity, but instead you nod off to sweet lullabies cooing in lavish 7.2 surround sound. Well then it’s all gravy, baby, from here on out. In any case, once your eyes develop deeper field of focus, you’d best get up the game for climbing. You’ll need to perform regular reconnaissance.
Ape up a tree house, scale a slide, or steal the sky while riding a swing. Once you’ve tamed the dizzy heights, you should scout about the horizon for an ocean. Look for a totally ginormous blue puddle made of salt water. You can splash around in it like a wading pool, but I promise, it’s bigger than a house! Dozen upon dozens of tiny white bubbles bunch up where the ocean crashes on the shore, like the junk on top of a root beer. Anyway, if you can see this body of water, plan on chatting with Mommy and Daddy about moving to higher ground. They can afford it.
Look, Seven, this whole “shrinking marble” thingy has seriously begun to harsh my mellow. We can revisit this subject when you’re big enough to understand stuff like global warming, overpopulation, and conservation. Worse case scenario, if your school chums start raving about a wicked cool snack or breakfast cereal that sounds like Frosted Soylent Green, you’ll know it’s time to chart your course for a better planet.
A wise philosopher from the 20th Century, Jack Lalanne once proclaimed, “If man makes it, don’t eat it.” This goes for you too, Lucky, especially as humanity desperately hunts for new ways to feed a very hungry planet.