Make Like a Hockey Stick…

I’d just returned from a trip to town and was describing to Todd the latest assaults on the natural world (called “development” by the locals) I’d seen driving home. “Get me the puck outta here!” I cried.


“It’s a joke from elementary school… One person says “Hey… you… make like a hockey stick!” and the other says “Huh?” and the first person says “Get the puck outta here!”

I get it its like make like a tree and leave make like an atom and split make like a baby and head out make like a bakery truck and haul buns

“Yeah, Todd. Like that.”

so where you wanna go

“I don’t know. All I know is that, at least once a day, I look up to the heavens and call out to the mother-ship, to the gods, to whom it may concern: ‘Get me outta here!’”

but so far youre still here

“I’m still here. But I’m going crazy. There are hockey sticks all over the place now. You’ve seen ‘em.”

“Yeah, well… that’s not an option for me.”

I know dude but still

“They’re everywhere, Todd! Not just in articles and magazines. I see them all over the place. It’s like… every last aspect of life inside civilization is ramping up, following a hockey stick curve. It used to be that you might see one new strip mall every few years. Now you see a few new strip malls every year. It used to be a new housing development would come to your town and it would be big news. Now, it would be big news only if NO new housing developments were coming.”

it really upsets you to see the destruction right near your home doesnt it

“Yeah, Todd. It really does. It’s so very sad. And so absurd. We’re now under mandatory water restrictions – some local cities are just a couple of months away from completely depleting their normal water sources – the drought goes on and on and we’re building thousands upon thousands of new homes and businesses? It’s madness. I wake every morning to the sound of nearby bulldozers. And I live in a rural county! I’m going crazy!”

I bet if you put traffic on a graph it would look like a hockey stick and athletes salaries and movie production costs and consumer debt and the number of meals people eat out and how many credit cards people have and and

“And government corruption? What would that look like if you could graph it? Or corporate cynicism? How about graphs for political bullshit and religious extremism, for depression and suicide and drug use and anger and fear and hopelessness and anomie? Hockey stick after hockey stick after hockey stick. It’s everywhere, Todd. Everything is faster and faster more and more. Everything is speeding up.”

I stopped. My back has been hurting with these long hours at the computer, getting ready for the next screening tour. I stood and stretched my agitated body and sat back down.

it pretty much has to doesnt it

“Has to what?”

speed up

“Yeah, I guess it does.”

I mean you saw money as debt  right you read albert bartlett you know how it works

Yeah, I know how it works. It’s how exponential growth curves always look. And as Dr. Albert Bartlett , Professor of Physics at UC Boulder, now retired, says, “the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” Go read his essay, Arithmetic, Population and Energy ]. You’ll see what he means.

I sighed heavily, and looked up once again to the heavens. “You remember that website we looked at last week? Growth is Madness! That’s exactly right. And our culture is mad at its very core, because it’s founded on growth.”

dude I used to work at a bank you know

“When I was in college I went to hockey games regularly. It’s clear that there are two basic ways to use a hockey stick, though the latter is not exactly sanctioned: to pass and shoot the puck, and to beat the hell out of somebody. Both uses serve the end result of scoring a goal and winning the game.”

and all these hockey sticks graphs youre talking about are like theyre like people trying to pass and shoot so they can win the game of like making money and being happy and comfortable and stuff but they are also measures of how were beating the hell out of the planet and each other and how far over the cliff were going

“And they’re all of a piece, Todd. All tied together. The economy requires growth, faster and faster and more and more. This requires faster and faster and more and more debt, faster and faster and more and more resource use, faster and faster and more and more production, faster and faster and more and more fucked-over land and water and sky and life.”

it sounds like a law firm – faster faster more and more

“Since the system is inherently unsustainable (which means… ahem… that it can’t be sustained…) it requires faster and faster and more and more government and corporate shenanigans, faster and faster and more and more competition between people (and let’s remember, please, that corporations are people too!). Faster and faster and more and more explaining is required from politicians, advertisers, religious leaders and the like. We’ll need faster and faster and more and more use of drugs and medicines and television and all the other narcotics we use to dull the pain. We’ll see faster and faster and more and more screwed up relationships and messed up kids and racial and ethnic scapegoating. It’s a perfect shitstorm, Todd. Or, as Kunstler calls it, a clusterfuck. Hold onto your hats!”

so the hockey stick is only half of the graph

“That’s exactly right, Todd. What goes up must come down and all that. We live on a finite planet. So no physical growth can be maintained forever. Like, duh. Those hockey sticks are only the rising half of the curve. Every one of them will reach a peak and then start back down. The hockey sticks will turn into bell curves, some with very steep cliffs on the downward side. Lots of the oil extraction curves for individual countries [] already show this (scroll down a bit). We shot. We scored. And now those hockey sticks are going to beat the hell out of us.”

when you talk like this you make me glad that Im already dead

“There’s times that I envy you, buddy. How’s it going on the other side, anyways? Your Mom talk to you yet?”

yeah shes not so freaked out any more I found a way to talk to her through her ipod she wears it when shes walking it takes more energy than the stickies but its my mom dude

“Glad to hear it, my friend. Does she know you’re working with me these days? Has she seen the doc yet?

“Cool. I’d like to meet her.”

“I guess not, Todd. I mean… there are other hockey sticks appearing now too… growing edges in awareness, and love… compassion… caring for the life of the Earth…. relationship and surrender and community and vision and real power and maturity, all right in the heart of Empire. And these are all things that CAN keep growing forever. The seeds of the next paradigm are being planted today, here in the crumbling ruins of the current one. So I gotta stay, no matter how much I might want to leave. We’ve got work to do. It’s what I signed up for.”

I guess Im signed up for that too

“Yeah. Good to know. So, you ready to hit the road?”

first stop west virginia right


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