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(from the 2001 archives) ‘DEAR MOM…some angry words for a crowded planet.’ —Katie Lee

There was an Old Woman who lived in a shoe

She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.

So she fed them some broth without any bread,

And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

I hate to bring up nursery rhymes at a time like this, but it kinda looks like the spot you’re in at the present millennium.

I can see you’re in real trouble from way up here. Got them crawling all over you like little fire ants–eating and drinking you out of house and home–wasting, crepitating, arguing.

What are you going to do?

Too bad you can’t whip them all soundly and put them to bed for a hundred years with a sleeping pill to smarten them up while you get things back in shape. It’s just a suggestion, but while they’re “out of it”, you could slip them some broth to make them sterile except for a few hours every three or four years. Think how many problems that would solve, Mom! They could screw their brains out and wouldn’t be crowding the guest house to overflowing.

Looking down on the situation from up here, that’s what I’d do.

Of course you’ve always been more subtle, and you certainly take your time-just like I have to take mine, which is why I can’t help right now–but I’m glad to see you’ve at least started the ball rolling. A bunch of the males aren’t as cocky as they used to be-your solution to my sterile broth, perhaps-some are mighty sick and getting sicker in larger groups. The poorer more impoverished ones I note. Why them?

Have you got some secret plan up your sleeve that I don’t know about? Like letting them pack themselves so tightly together they’ll be like rats in cage, start killing each other off and be out of your way? I detect the beginning evidence of such a plan, so maybe you’ve got a point.

But I don’t like it. Too slow and painful a punishment. If you care, my plan’s a lot more humane. You’re inventive, can’t you think of something better? You could invite your spacey asteroid sisters in for a visit. A little ‘hello’ kiss would flip them off in one blinding flash! Just a thought.

We both know you can’t leave it to the kids with their mechanical battle toys. They’ve tried that forever and it sucks. Wars never solve the bottom line problem–only makes your children want to lie down after it’s all over and make more kids to fill the empty spaces.

That “human nature” stuff you gave them doesn’t seem to help. You could have raised them a bit differently, you know; given them a little more tolerance for each other’s sexual preferences, for one thing; for another, you might have excised their racial prejudice altogether, and demanded a charitableness between the cults for whatever illusions each may have about how they got there and why. Hung up as they are on the myths, superstitions and taboos they’ve invented-mainly to keep them from being responsible for their own actions, laying all their woes and wishes at the foot of some diaphanous deity–they’ll never get to the ninty-grinty, to the reality of their overcrowded situation.

Puts me in mind of the three monkeys: Don’t want to hear about it, don’t want to see it, and damn well won’t talk about it. And those who are aware, trying to help you with the mess you’re in–are held at bay by a tide of know-nothings who set themselves up to destroy any freedom of choice but their own.

Don’t you wish you’d constructed a gene containing certain rules of behavior that disallowed one group from shoving down the throat of another some myth or belief that’s unacceptable to them? Even from here I witness pressure groups victimizing the poor souls who don’t want to add to the house toll the ones they’ve gotten through rape, or an unforeseen accident. If the hecklers didn’t have tunnel vision and could grasp the long haul, surely even they’d figure it only leaves more room for them. I say give those Pinocchio’s an affliction, Mom–like Scabies or something-anything to make them focus their attention on their own problems. And I wonder if it ever occurred to the other tight-assed, sour-lipped bigots–that gays and lesbians also help keep the toll down. Probably not. There appears to be little enough affection and love in your house that the lover or lovee should be allowed to determine who loves whom, when and why.

What’s wrong with each to his own? Don’t you agree?

I wonder why your children keep trying to solve their problems by starting from the top down? Why not begin at the root of the matter? If there weren’t that many of them they wouldn’t be at each other’s throats all the time. They don’t remember their history; how much happier they were when they only numbered a couple million all over the house and yard. At this point in your time they sure as hell ought to be making love under the constant cover of condoms! Not as much fun, I’ll admit, but it’s time fun got serious about the repercussions.

And that’s another thing, Mom, another reason for you to start shaking them up, not giving them so much, or feeding them so well. They have no respect or consideration for each other any more, which means, of course, that they don’t have much for themselves. If you did something to scare the shit out of them, before long they’d start helping each other, instead of dog-eat-dogging it all through life. Used to be they cooperated because they needed each other. Each thing back then grew and thrived apace from its neighbor, not on top of it. Each chose a territory best suited to its nature-a bit of shade, a rocky outcrop, beneath a stone where roots are made–whatever landed in territory hostile to it, or in a spot unfit for its qualifications, either moved on or died. Now, everyone is in everyone else’s way, and when your kids finally do fly the coop, they leave a whole litter behind with even less brain power than the ones before, to create more sprawl, more who don’t know, or care, about how to live with their neighbors.

Even half century ago, when there were only half as many, things were starting to pitch and roll; the masses could feel a sea of useless weeds beginning to cluster about their feet, starting to bog them down. But did they recognize even one of the causes?–needless things, useless things, shabby, illmade, throw-away things, extravagant and exorbitant things-a plethora, a Glut of Unneeded Things.

There’s a lot you’re not telling me, but it’s obvious that the bullies are grabbing the biggest share, and the little kids are going hungry; that those with pocket change are bribing the others and buying up more than they want or will ever need-using up everything in your storeroom. Have you noticed how fat, fat, FAT they’re getting?

I know you’re only too aware of the poor critters out in the yard dying off faster than your brats inside. Too bad, really. Once the critters had a say; not any more. Your yard used to flourish full and fragrant before it began to die from the abuse of overuse, mechanical toy use, altered, extractive, and walkie-talkie use.

I trust you’ve checked out the “not everybody” contingent who would like to ease your over-crowded situation-the dreamers, the thinkers, the seers, the knowers, and lastly, the doers? All minorities, of course. Thwarted Visionaries is what I call them. They try. They compose poetry, they sing, they write, they dance, perform, act and talk. Their brains are crammed full of deep, intense reason, splayed out on an ever clicking wheel for hopeful solutions; turning, ever turning, for the positive in dry streams where the waterwheel should bring up bucketful’s of sparkling, nourishing answers, but doesn’t. Sprinkles of hope, yes, making it possible for some to thrive, believe and continue their actions, but no drenching relief for the parched desert the smart ones know they are face to face with now.


Yet there’s never enough of them to push solutions up into the consciousness of your masses–whoops! I forgot; masses don’t have a consciousness-past the stonewall of the media, the politicians and bureaucrats, the sects, environmental tug-of-warriors, and principally, past the economy. That old Scrooge, economy, will eventually bring the big cupboard raiders to their knees-knees that will give away before long and land them flat on their over-fat, greed-driven bellies!

Those who care will do whatever they can to make their lives and the lives of others better, for the present, the immediate future, or the long-term. Some will do nothing at all because it isn’t possible, or because the load is finally too heavy and they’ve given up. When someone bats his head constantly against a power pyramid of unhearing, intransigent homo sappy-sapiens, it is hard to continue making the changes necessary for anything but mere survival-certainly not to worry about their own species, or any other.

It hasn’t dawned on your masses that their fancy technology will not save their asses. As a matter of fact, their dependency on those computers is one thing that will most likely do them in altogether. They have them running everything from gasoline pumps to sperm banks-as if they needed those!! But just one saboteur to throw a wrench in the communication system they’re so proud of, or a serious flare up from me, and the whole ball of wax will suffer meltdown. Nothing will work.

They probably think they can compute a global cooling machine to ease your rising temperature. By now, you’d expect them to have it down pat–how to best use me and all your oceans (before they dry up again) for their energy needs–rather than digging through your dresser drawers to get something that takes forty other components to make it useable, or putting tourniquets on your veins so they can have bright lights all night. Maybe that’s why they need them. They, aren’t too bright themselves.

And the noise they make! The snarling-beeping-banging-clanging-screeching- what an infernal din! I can hear it clear up here–from the sky, from the ground, from the waters, throughout the forests, deserts, swamps and plains. It’s a wonder to me they aren’t all deaf. When do they have a moment of silence to figure things out?

You are making obvious signs to the anyone willing to observe. They aren’t paying attention.

In their arrogance they fail to note THEY are THE exotic species. They have no place of natural origin, but spread out like a scourge of cockroaches all over your globe. After doing away with your natural flora and fauna, they pack themselves with all their needs and wants into small spaces–creating larger, more toxic areas of distress? Those rapidly multiplying areas of distress are changing the winds around your house; changing the quality of the very air your brats are breathing and the water they live by, to say nothing of disturbing the unmolested areas around them.

Meanwhile, most governments, leaders of one group or another, who might be able to do something constructive about the problems you have practically articulated for them, are mired in a swamp of power-lust and greed; too locked into their taboos, cult dictators and myths to do the job. Between theology, technology and no-knowledg-y everyone’s goose is on the way to being cooked.

First thing to be done, to correct, turn around, or excise a worldwide problem, is to make your kids understand that it exists. But how many take it to heart and try to do something about it? Again, not enough.

So, I don’t think you have to worry much longer, Mom. The majority’s refusal to look in the face of what’s really going on has triggered their own demise, and that great leveler you gave them, Good Ol’ Common Sense, has atrophied for lack of use. Everything they have, invent and use has gone from simplicity to a tangle of complicated, wasteful excess. With nothing to keep it in check, momentum keeps pushing them farther and faster along that same trajectory. I’d say they’re pretty much past the point of no return. Most of them are sheep, another bunch asleep, the Thwarted Visionaries rendered helpless. Like all the kids before them, greed and sloth will finish them off.

Really, Mom, you’ve got to start thinking catastrophically.

Excluding a small minority of that fat little continent along your Americas ribcage -the techno bunch, the ones that take the most and make the most mess–can’t even take the time away from their bewitching machines to understand the power in your magnificent sunset, or witness your creations with the awe and respect they deserve. They’ve decided you’re there just to be used, to amuse them, to administer to their whims alone, every other thing be damned.

Heh-heh…when will they learn that you and I are related-are in kahoots and have a partnership that alters global climate change? That when they rend a few more holes in your scarf, I’ll burn the hell out of them!

Sorry to sound so negative, Mom, but if your progeny don’t get on it within the next couple of decades, their situation will be irreversible. It takes them ten year to even have a constructive idea and circulate it; the next ten to mull it over and plan it, and yet another ten to set it in motion, make it work. That’s three decades. I doubt they have that much time. If they haven’t got it together by then Mom, give it to ’em. Scratch that itch. Knock ’em off. They don’t deserve better.

I agree it’s sad that you can’t discriminate-the good ones will have to go with the bad-that’s your way of dealing. But you need to set your rivers free. Bring back the wooly mammoth and the saber tooth tiger–those guys had class. Quit dickering with these pipsqueaks. Show ’em who’s boss. I’m with you all the way, so is Sister Moon. She’s had enough of them already!

Much love, and good luck!

Your Sun

 Katie Lee–© August, 2001


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