Mr. Gold Fever

There was an invincible tank that traveled the world blowing up villages. It had transformative properties, and one day it transformed itself into a pimp named Mr. Gold Fever because of the chains he wore. As a pimp, Mr. Gold Fever destroyed people’s lives one by one rather than shooting them down en masse.

Transforming himself back into a tank, he kept the name. Mr. Gold Fever is considered the father of all war by his tank people and is worshipped by those on his side for the many wars he fought and won. The people from other cultures may not like him, but if the tank people write the history books, they’ll say he is great, just like Alexander the Great.

Alexander is considered one of the best generals of all time. He destroyed even more villages than Mr. Gold Fever, but he had a head start, coming from a family of village destroyers. As a young man, Alexander was educated by the famous Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle in a private school his dad, King Phillip, set up in Macedonia for his son. Aristotle took the relocation package to Macedonia from his hometown of Stageira in Greece to teach the 13-year old prince in exchange for the commitment by King Phillip, Alexander’s father, to rebuild Stageira and free its citizens from slavery. King Phillip was the right man for the job since he was the one who’d destroyed Stageira and enslaved its citizens to begin with.

Alexander was kinda like Mr. Gold Fever, although the latter didn’t name sixty-some-odd cities after himself like Alexander did. When Alexander’s horse died in northern India, he even named a city after the horse, Becephalus. Imagine living in a town named Becephalus when you’re surrounded by towns with nice names like Jassia, Jajal, and Julani, and then on top of that you find out your hometown was named for a horse. There are worse things that could happen, like a mass shooting at your workplace, but they don’t sell those kind of guns in India, so horse-naming has got to be cause for situational depression. Nice job, Mr. Alexander the Great.

Mr. Gold Fever didn’t have a horse and wasn’t really into naming places, just destroying them, kinda like Genghis Khan. They say ¼ of the Western world has Genghis Khan’s DNA, which explains why a lot of wars were made in the olden days, good ol’ rape and pillage, the spoils of war. I never really knew what pillage was, but rape is pretty clear, so being on the receiving end of pillage is probably not a walk in the park either.

Alexander apparently was a great military strategist, everybody says so, and they still call him Alexander the Great 1700 years later. After subduing his native Macedonia, he moved on to double dog defeating and dominating Greece and Turkey. Next he conquered Persia in 342 A.D. Adopting some of the Persian customs and dress in his court, Alexander took a couple of pretty Persian princesses as wives to show how perceptive and perspicacious the percipient Persian people were, especially princesses. If they didn’t call him a one-eyed, one-horned flying Persian purple people pleaser, it was only because he had two eyes, no horns, wasn’t purple and couldn’t fly, but people back in Macedonia weren’t so happy about his adopting Persian dress and taking Persian wives. There’s no record of the reaction of the Persian princess wives, but their life was probably about as precarious as that of Mr. Gold Fever’s prostitutes when he was a pimp. This paragraph is dedicated to the letter “P.”

Back to the present day, some of the people who like history on the team of Mr. Gold Fever, their tank hero, would like to have a battle between Mr. Gold Fever and Alexander the Great, but they would have to build a time machine, which is a pretty big obstacle. Building a well-functioning time machine is even harder than building a tank, but if it could be done I’m pretty sure that Mr. Gold Fever’s tank would blow the shit out of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s secret weapon against the Persians was the 20-foot long spike. Ha! Put that up against a tank and see what happens. As a matter of fact, with a good time machine, Mr. Gold Fever could go back and slaughter peaceful Neanderthals who didn’t even have metal weapons and put a couple more gold chains around his neck when he transformed back into the pimp.

Pimps are not highly regarded by this author, and pimps with golden chains are almost as bad as tanks using a time machine to gun down defenseless Neanderthals who maybe weren’t doing anything more than trying to have a romantic candlelight dinner in the cave after a hard day at work hunting and gathering. They certainly weren’t doing anything to threaten Mr. Gold Fever. What an asshole he is. As a golden tank and as a pimp, too, while we’re at it.

If I had a well-functioning time machine, I’d go forward, not backward. I’d find out if there had been a nuclear catastrophe from a hydrogen bomb, or maybe just how high the oceans had risen. Assuming there hadn’t been a nuclear catastrophe, I’d go scuba diving in the underwater ruins of the luxury condos of Miami Beach and Boca Raton. Sorry, Florida folks, that’s just a joke, I wouldn’t waste my time. There would be so many eye-popping things to do just observing what life is like on the future date I went to. Just like your GPS guides you to your place destination, the time machine would guide you to your time destination, but you’d be in the same place. So this time no kidding, I wouldn’t put my time machine in South Florida because it could end up under water if I input any date past the year 2100, and I’m thinking of something like the year 3100 to start with.

The chances that there is still intelligent life on Earth in the year 3100 is about 50/50 I figure. This probability is not scientifically derived, it’s just a guess based on the concept put forward by Paul Davies on page 91 of his book The Eerie Silence, where he explains why we haven’t been contacted by intelligent extraterrestrials yet when Carl Sagan says that statistically they’re all around us. Davies says it could be there’s what he calls a Great Filter which operates in one of two ways. Either (a) only on Earth have we been lucky enough to overcome all the obstacles to intelligent life within the finite nine-billion-year lifetime of a star, or (b) intelligent life and technological civilizations are inherently unstable and don’t survive long enough to make contact with each other.

I’d like to have a time machine to find out if ET is on our doorstep or maybe we’re gonna get out there ourselves and find him pretty soon. Without one, I’m just guessing if we’re gonna make it through the Great Filter, but I’ve got to say that things don’t look too good. The intelligent species on Earth, homo sapiens, is quite violent. There are a lot of homos sapienses around and there’s a lot of competition for resources. It used to be we directed our violence toward animals that we wanted to eat. Who can blame a man for chasing down a wooly mammoth with a handful of his bros and spearing, spiking, and staking it to death to put food on the table for the wife and kids? Or even blasting, bleeding, and butchering Bambi for breakfast? But when you decide to smash an airplane into a crowded building to make a point about how the people on that team are systematically screwing the people on your team, which they probably are, then I start getting a bit worried about homo sapiens. And it doesn’t help that this intelligent species has members who will spray armor-piercing bullets into a crowd at a country music concert or attack kids at their high school with high-powered weapons they can buy from other members of their intelligent species, who sell them routinely to put food on the table for the wife and kids, or maybe a ticket on a cruise ship to the Bahamas or a foot massage at the reflexology spa that just opened up down the street. Yup, that was a nice foot massage — hey, I didn’t know the kid was gonna take out 17 people, it’s not my business what he does with the AR-15 I just sold him.

Then there are your everyday Joes and Judies, Juans and Juanitas, Jeans and Jenines and you name it, people everywhere are pretty much concerned about themselves to the exclusion of others. I read something by a guy involved in one of the left-wing guerilla groups in Argentina in the 1970’s fighting to create a more humane and righteous world. He’d become disillusioned by the fact that he was risking life and liberty trying to overthrow an unjust society run by selfish, unjust people, when he came to realize that a lot of the leaders of his movement had begun to exhibit the same selfish, unjust characteristics he was fighting against. Ultimately, he concluded that you couldn’t create a new, more just society until you had a new, more just man (and woman). So he dropped out of the group trying to create a new society through armed struggle, and they in turn were hunting him down as part of the effort to create a more humane and righteous world. Go figure.

Homo sapiens has come a long way technologically since Alexander the Great was enslaving populations and naming cities after himself and his horse on his path to greatness, but the fact that Mr. Gold Fever is worshipped by his team for all the wars he won as a tank makes me think that the dropout Argentine guerilla was right. Maybe there is a Great Filter keeping us from meeting more advanced extraterrestrial species and it’s because intelligent life is inherently unstable, here and elsewhere in the Universe. It could be we’re getting close to the end of the run of homo sapiens on planet Earth.

But maybe not! Like I said, I figure it’s about 50/50 that we make it through this rough patch we’re going through, but I won’t know until I can get in a well-functioning time machine. I’m not getting in a prototype or one with Beta software. Because I want to be sure I can come back and see my friends and family. Truth be told, life is pretty darn nice for me on this planet right now. Until I can get in a well-functioning time machine and find out for sure if we make it through the Great Filter, I’m just gonna try to improve the odds by writing letters to my senators and congressman about gun control and funding for mental health services, and I’ll vote against any candidate that the NRA endorses. Plus I bought a Groupon certificate for a foot massage at the reflexology spa that just opened up down the street, and I want to use it.

There are a lot of nice homo sapiens around. Let’s just hope we can get control of Mr. Gold Fever and his kind. There’s still a good chance that there’s no Great Filter, and we’ll soon be in touch with some real nice extraterrestrials. In that case, the time machine trip to the year 3100 could be really cool.