Back in August of 1996, I was driving cross country back from Seattle to Chicago. I stopped in Osseo, Wisconsin for lunch at the Norske Nook. I had meat loaf, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, and then a big piece of blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream.
Needless to say, what with this gut bomb in me, basically a thorium reactor in my belly, I started to get sleepy on I-90. Round about near the Tomah rest stop, a driver in a car next to me honked his horn and woke me up out of a probably several second slumber. That realization sent a surge of adrenaline through my system that allowed me to pull into a rest stop to get a nap.
But I've often wondered if I didn't die that day.
In which case, all this, the near twenty years duration since then, is perhaps a delusional afterlife experience, and hopefully some Helpers will be by soon to tell me I'm dead, and it is time to move on into the larger universe.
Or perhaps this is all some compressed relativistic death experience, and only a few seconds have passed since I crashed my car in '96, and this is the experience my brain goes through: the neurons suffer screaming oxygen deprivation as the blood pirouettes out of my severed head, which rolls on down I-90 next to other pieces of me.
It's not that I have any eldritch suspicions about this, it's just that that is a memory etched in my mind that is a signpost for a very different counterfactual outcome. One in which I do not exist, and you, dear reader, are not reading this.
And, if such strange thing can happen to individuals, can it happen to nations, or worlds?
Could it be that, in the same way I'm a little bit stuck in 1996, that the US of A is stuck in the 1970s?
Doesn't it feel that way? I'm told the zenith of western civilization was 1978. (I'm not entirely sure about that, as the physical convergence of the cheeseburger, french fries, and chocolate malted first occurred in a Chicago Walgreen's in 1926, so...)
But it could be that that was that, and everything has been just a mass hallucination since then?
Dude, the colors!