Amber

Ugh, seriously, we stink!

You stink! She stinks! They stink! Heck, even I stink! 

Our hearts have deteriorated to glistening heaps of sun-dried raccoon. Mankind is the absolute rankest form of life to inhabit the planet, and that list includes mosquitoes. So...yeah!

Those hideous blobfish have more depth than most human people I know, and they’re essentially breathing snot bubbles. 

I’m sure we have always been terrible, relative to whatever was happening in the world at the time, but we are just appalling these days. 

And before you tuck in for a political rant, know that this is not that thing. I’m talking about the mummified remains of our personalities, the putrid puddles that were once compassion, empathy, generosity, fairness, charity, and the simple ability to give a rip about the joys and even sorrows of those around you. I’m referring to the decaying state of our very souls. 

How many of you remember when a needed cup of sugar was just a knock away? Some of you will, and a few might even still be willing to trek to your neighbor’s door to request this often overlooked item, but you will be a very few. 

Who’s ever made a casserole for someone you heard wasn’t well? I can think of a couple, myself, but much like the sweetener seekers, these benevolent bakers will be in limited supply. 

When was the last time you practiced the old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Don’t misunderstand. I am the first person to talk trash because my soul is as dark and withered as yours but is there one of us left to balance the scales? I think not. 

I think we’ve tipped into the metaphorical refuse bin, and I believe we belong here. 

Not one of you knows the struggles of those nearest to you because not one of you cares. You’re all so enrapt in whatever contrived melodrama is unfolding in your despicable lives you’re incapable of recognizing real-life conflict going on in the world around you. 

You can’t look past your 65” TV machine to notice the real pain, physical and emotional, of others that you could literally reach out and touch if only you hadn’t grown into the fibers of that recliner. 

You are the center of the universe, and the rest of us have been sucked into the gravitational pull of your greatness and are just along for the ride. 

We’ve all got that one neighbor. The one who maybe doesn’t mow as often as you would like. That one that uses the carport as open storage for things that look like trash as you dart past with your top lip curled. That loser with the car that doesn’t seem to run, ever. You know, the one with the ever-present raised hood. Those trash people who you so disdain, you know them, don’t you? You have that person picked out in your mind. 

Your judgment meter is all lit up now, isn’t it? You are seething at the mental image! Filthy lowlives! Scum! Light the torches and dig out the pitchforks! Get these monsters out of here! 

Now pause in your contempt and ask yourself what could have caused those “scumbags,” those trash people, to end up this way? 

Those things that look like trash, are they? Most often, they aren’t, but you’d have to look past the rim of that can or the edge of that glass to notice. What looks like rubbish to one, especially one of the hoards of judgmental know-it-alls, sometimes translates into dollar signs for another, and sometimes those meager dollar signs can mean the difference between a month with electricity or without or a meal that contains an actual protein or a vegetable instead of a bowl of sauceless pasta. If you haven’t experienced the comfort to be found in filling a hungry belly with salted, buttered pasta, then you’ve never known poor. 

That raised hood; while you might be able to tap into an overflowing bank account to make sure your flashy new car or unnecessarily large SUV runs satisfactorily, can they? It’s easy to settle into your own space and ignore the needs of those in the world around you, but in this day and age, some people’s ends don’t meet. It’s more obvious now, and more of us are paying attention to that fact, but that’s only because more of the world is now poor and struggling due to the Rona.

Even with that, it’s still someone else’s problem. You don’t know the delight that comes from finding that dime in the parking lot or the absolute rapture when you realize you accidentally washed a dollar bill, and voila, here it is! 

How many of you will even bother to pick up a poor, lonely, forgotten penny? If you don’t, then you don’t know broke, and you’re probably the ones leading the mob to rid the world of degenerates.   

Has it ever occurred to you members of the judgemental masses that maybe those things are a wall of sorts? A wall built to keep your hatefulness at bay. A border at which your spite and lies and venom must pause. A literal boundary that you don’t want to cross in your judgmental disgust while at the same time a divide that you are not welcomed to span because the stink of your soul will surely infest those barely surviving on the other side. 

But it hasn’t occurred to you, nor will it even though it’s spelled out in so many words. Because you don’t care. Because your soul is rancid. 

Because you stink. 

Amber Lollar is the senior reporter for The Henderson News. Her e-mail address is <reporter@thehendersonnews.com>. © 2020, Henderson Newspapers Inc.

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