In Which Larry Warns of Apocalypse and Exhorts Loving your Brother
I met Larry on a Thursday afternoon in the east end of Golden Gate Park. He struck me as a cross between Socrates and the guy who says “It’s Gonna Rain,” in the Steve Reich piece. He was sitting on a bench with a grey-bearded fellow who muttered occasional comments and encouragement like a Greek chorus.
Larry from New Jersey: Do you believe in the Bible? I mean, do you believe in the Bible?
Mesocosmic: [pause] That depends on what you mean by “believe.”
Larry: I mean do you believe it, have you read it. Look around here now — look at all these trees and all this grass, and everything that you see here. Do you know what can end all of this? What can destroy everything that you see and bring it down to nothing?
Larry: Locusts. Locusts! I mean millions of locusts, billions of them. Everywhere, eating everything. That’s what it says in the Bible — that’s what God can do. All the technology in the world won’t matter then.
And I mean, they’ll be eating all the plants and the animals too – they can eat down a corpse like nothing. In minutes! That’s what the Bible says. The Bible doesn’t say anything about horses eating everything, or about nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons! What can man do? What can technology do? Technology comes from man, and man makes mistakes. Man makes mistakes. We have limits.
I’m talking about the end of everything, and the dead being down in the Earth, and down in Hell, and we’ll all be dead. Look around you. Everyone you see, in eighty years, they’ll all probably be dead. You, me, him — all of us. Are you listening to me?
Mesocosmic: Yes, I’m listening. I’m listening and thinking about what you’re saying.
Larry: It don’t say nothing about nuclear weapons. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe I came from a monkey, that we all came from monkeys, or that we came from outer space. I don’t believe that.
Mesocosmic: So …
Mesocosmic: So, technology comes from man, and because man is flawed, technology is flawed — it is just an extension of our own nature.
Larry: That’s right.
Mesocosmic: So what should we do, then? What should we do about all this?
Greek Chorus: Uh-huh! Good question.
Larry: What should we do? I’ll tell you what we should do — we have to tell one another, he who lives of this world dies of it.
That’s what it says in the Bible, to love your neighbor as yourself. That means if your brother doesn’t have a shirt, you should give him the shirt off of your back, and give it to him. Look around. A thousand years ago — sooner even! — we didn’t have any of this stuff. Love your neighbor as yourself. We don’t need stuff. We have to keep this thing moving, and help one another. That’s what we have to do.