In some sense, Broke As A Lizard attempts to explore whether the year 2000 was really as big a non-event as it seemed. Down on the personal level of course, people fell ill, turned away, or drifted off; kids took to playing new games and a few long-lost items turned up in unexpected places. Collectively, we waited. The diligent among us prepared for the apocalypse, buying generators and hoarding cash. But the lights didn’t fizzle out at midnight. Computers kept on humming the tune we dance to. On New Year’s morning, the ATM’s continued to spit out dollars.
Even so, Babe Ruth’s record had already been broken, (without the asterisk) and would soon be again. The tide was turning. By the close of 2001, the stock indexes that were tracking our ascendance into the virtual utopian future had fallen back to earth with a resounding thud and—in a more tangible and horrible realm—the two tallest buildings in the Rome of the 20th Century had collapsed into a pile of smoldering rubble.
Ample grounds for reflection there.
Here in 2002 of course, global polarization has reached the point where the accumulated static on either side of the gulf between worlds is enough to make your hair stand up—like it does right before lighting strikes. Conventional wisdom says in such circumstances you should huddle over your knees, make yourself as small a target as possible, and hope the bolt hits someone else. A reasonable person might argue that if no one can come up with a better plan than that to ease the enmity between Islam and Christendom, we had best fold this hand.
Individuals make that choice, or don’t. We the people really can’t.
The anti-terror experts tell us “intelligence” is what we need—and recommend we take two giant leaps toward a police state. The pitfalls of that scheme appear painfully obvious. Witness the forces of Homeland Security strip-searching little old ladies for fear they might smuggle a knitting needle onto an airplane.
In such times only a deeply unhealthy person fails to find reason to laugh at their own misadventures more often than they point an accusing finger at others. This confederacy of orphan prose attempts to do no more than that. Find reason. Because not long ago, a ten year-old kid pitched in his third outing of his rookie season and struck out seven batters—in the first inning. That has to be some kind of record, but not the sort anyone would necessarily want to break.
Unless we have all lost our minds.
Question is: Were that the case, how could we tell?