The other day I went out and bought this big ass terrarium. At first I wanted something else, like a ferret, or salt aquarium. But I ended up changing my mind. Something about that enormous, transparent habitat just appealed to me. Not sure why. Anyway, I took it home, set it down, walked away and spent the rest of the day doing various chores around the house. Later, as the day wound down and I finished getting ready to set sail to Slumbertown, I stood beside my bed and stared at this empty tank in front of me, and thought: “Now what?” Well, I stared for awhile longer, pondering all the things I could put inside. Like lizards, or turtles, or the disembodied limbs of my enemies, ya know? But then, for some reason, I figured I’d try to think bigger, like a sugar glide or boa snake or some awesome theme park hamster slide, but then I internally heard a voice say “Hey Matt! Can you kindly shut up, and actually decide?” (Sometimes I forget that my brain actually speaks and isn’t just along for the ride).
Okay maybe that last part, I confide, didn’t really happen. I lied. So what? This is MY story, dammit, and I’m the guide; you’re just here for me to preside as YOU sit there along for the ride. Like my bitch ass brain should be. And you know what el – okay I’m just playin. I apologize.
Lets get back to the empty tank, shall we?
There I was. A literal micro-world of possibilities sitting there before me when all of a sudden, it came to me. Oh my God! I can populate this thing with like, an entire cornucopia of different organisms and let them all co-exist. Just like Earth! It’ll be my own little universe to create; with myself, of course, ruling over the entire domain in control of its fate.
So I thought about that for a moment.
As I stood there, so many things started coursing through my head. Things like how the tank sits next to my bed, and what if I moved it to the corner instead? My brain considered that but eventually said “Just leave it there Matt. Heavy lifting? We know that’s a thing that you hate and you dread. Because to be candid, you’re kind of a pussy.” And before I could reply to my ever-annoying mind, something happened. I, at last, realized something of grave importance which would directly affect the internal debate currently transpiring in my skull.
I realized l had bolted the damn tank to the table earlier that day, and that I couldn’t move the stupid thing even if I wanted to. So that took care of that.
Then things started to get a bit more serious. The above realization had freed up my thought, and I started to jot what kinds of things could be bought to populate this little glass plot. I wondered how much time I’d allot to spend in this spot, as the truth that I fought is that there’s only so much time that I’ve got.
That’s when I decided.
I’ll put whatever the hell I want in this thing! Let’s Noah’s Ark the Hell out of it. After all, I own this dominion, no? Of course I do. This tiny world was mine to create. So again, that took care of that.
I would run the place my way. Or ways, I should say, because hey – why limit myself to one set of rules or pathway? Wouldn’t it be more fun to rule one way on weekends and another on workdays?
So that was my decision.
Ironically, I decided that deciding didn’t warrant my abiding by the expectations usually presiding over the world WE live in that, admittedly, could use much, much better guiding. Would I mimic this world of constant dividing forcing families into hiding with a fear that’s never subsiding as their dreams are ever sliding down a hopeless, empty chasm? Or would I opt to be providing? The latter, if I’m confiding, that I wish was more closely coinciding with the regimes currently overriding any form of free thought or challenge to their authority as they quell dissent with brutal chiding. Perhaps I could create both environments, depending on my mood. Sky is the limit I suppose.
Yes, this will be Matt’s world.
This would be a world for me, alone, to create. A world where Matt can dictate who they’ll love and who they’ll hate, and whether one lives in an estate or whether they instead await a much less privileged, unfair, sadly hopeless fate. A world I own; my own private city-state where I can close the real world’s gate, retreating as the night is late to the creatures I rule, as I mandate that they worship me as “Matt, The All-Knowing; The Loved, The Feared…but Mostly The Great.” I imagine that would very much elate, as my animal instinctual desire to dominate can be an appetite that finally, I can satiate.
That’d be cool, right?
Then my Brain did that thing again. That thing I keep telling it not to. It dug. Deeper and deeper.
And I had an epiphany.
All of these creatures that I dreamt to control might actually have their own aspiration or goal. Who was I to keep them tied to this pole that my mind had created; after all, they all have a soul, don’t they? And, if we’re being candid, for one to feel whole they shouldn’t have to hide in some hole that they dug to avoid paying a toll to some hovering, judgmental ruler who more closely resembles a troll than the benevolent creator that some poor schmuck described millennia ago on a crusty, crumbling scroll.
So I changed my mind yet again.
And I bought a fucking turtle. Because truthfully, my brain was annoying the hell out of me. I installed this little mini-swimming pool for it and everything. Hell, I even got the little shit a floating lily pad for those times it desired extra, extra laziness. Oh, turtles. How uneventful their lives are. This turtle’s existence, however, would be eventful as shit. ‘Cause this turtle, unlike any before in the history of Turtledom, lived in Matt’s World. It would be treated as a King. Actually wait; let’s say prince. It’d be treated like a prince. I’m the King. Duh.
Oh, and I call the thing an “it” because I have absolutely no idea how to identify the gender of a turtle without using means that are entirely too…intimate. So how do I name it, I wondered? Well, I decided on the path of least resistance, and just named it Pat. Sure, there are dozens of gender neutral names, but hey. Pat rhymes with Matt. Now we’re two peas on a lily pad, god dammit. And to anyone making fun…you’re obviously just jealous you don’t have a Pat of your own. Haters gon’ hate.
Anyway, a curious thing happened after I (and Pat) got settled to go to Sleepburg.
I thought back to that thing which, before, I would laud. All that power I wanted, which to me now just seems odd. I pictured an image of the creator I so recently imagined I’d be, and suddenly I was swept by an eerie sense of awe. Awe by that place where my mind’s steps had just trod. The thing I fear most; that power is a thing I desire and applaud. A thing, to be frank, that’s just a corrupted facade. The empty, false confidence of believing my own fraud. A dream that I now realize exposes a harsh truth; which is the fact that I’m enormously flawed.
Because why, so recently, had I thought to maraud an entire universe of creatures as if they were just inmates, helplessly at the mercy of my personal firing squad? This question, which sawed at my brain as my frozen thoughts were all thawed as I started to prod, questioning my own moral fibers with a psychological measuring rod – I was suddenly, overwhelmingly consumed by the most profound of considerations.
See, this world I had imagined just hours ago wouldn’t be far removed from the world that WE know. Had I thrown those poor creatures in that tank all alone, sitting back as I watch them all fight, die, or grow, knowing that I could intervene at any point down below – shouldn’t I? I mean if with all of that power I could use and bestow, what reason would I have to let my own creatures woe? As peace, I forego; what kind of monster would that make me, watching them suffer when at the snap of my finger, away it’d all go? What kind of creator could do that to the very things he put there to begin with? They didn’t ask to be put there! They owe me nothing, right? Why would I do that?
Then I recalled my old thoughts yet again. I recalled all that darkness which my own brain had thankfully outlawed just hours before, as I was confronted by a question that was narrowing my beliefs that were once far too broad.
I asked, though I silently feared the truth; were those the same thoughts that were considered…by God?