Thank Grog It’s Firday!!
So, today, in Oregon (the State of the REAL SPRINGFIELD) we began Phase One of the “Covid Re-Opening” plan. We were able to do so, because in Lane County (which is also the home county to the REAL SPRINGFIELD), our numbers have been so low, as to be almost negligible. But, this isn’t about that particular “Getting Back to Normal…Mostly.”
No. Believe it or not, this is actually about “Getting Back to Normal” in TSTO…mostly.
Because, the fact is, during all of this recent Covid Craziness (and the most recent “TSTO Event”), the game just kept being the game. Same routines. Same results. Same minor distractions. Same kinds of SNAFUs (which stands for Situation Normal All F’d Up), and is an old military term. If you don’t believe in military SNAFU’s…then just wait until the military is in charge of doing the vaccines. But, I digress…
The fact is…when you look at our Springfields, almost NOTHING has changed, except for a little more (a lot more?) clutter added to the landscape.
But for me…one of the most important characters in my game, is back to “normal.”
That’s right, Grandpa has taken off his “wrasslin tights,” and put on his normal street clothes (thankfully it’s not “no pants Tuesday”) and is doing his job, of feeding pigeons to the black hole, next to the Supercollider, so it doesn’t grow, and swallow up Springfield. He does so with the help of the ghost of Mona at his side, while Shary Bobbins remains aloft (as the effects of being too close to the Super-Conductor, keep her airborne in penance for her original appearance during Easter of 2014).
No. That is not a typo. Shary first appeared during the wHellish Easter update of 2014…when they first started doing Easter updates…before they stopped doing Easter updates. More than SIX YEARS AGO. And yes…while holding a grudge against Sherry (and EA) for that long may not be healthy for my PTSD therapy (brought about by the Easter 2014 update), I’ll live with the consequences.
But, look carefully at the picture…what else do you see?
There’s Baby Marge…not to be confused with Young Marge…or Marge…or Muscle Marge…or any of the other Marge-types that wander around Springfield AT THE SAME TIME. So maybe seeing her by the black hole makes the most sense, as Time/Space could be disrupted if Grandpa is gone for a while…which he was...during this event.
But, the picture also shows the duck, wheeling his nuclear waste by the Supercollider, and Lisa, getting FAR TOO CLOSE to Mr. Bergstrom, which in another time/place, may have created all sorts of tabloid gossip, but now just makes you ask, “where are your masks and gloves??”
And walking away, perhaps too casually, ignoring it all as if it didn’t exist, is “the Parson.” Who is likely just trying to get to the golf course, which also recently re-opened in most states…but has been open in Oregon, for the duration.
What a weirdly distorted reality.
But, really…what is reality?
Especially during this time that seems more, and more, unreal?
Because…if you look at the picture again…after just a minute of contemplation…it has all changed.
With the exception of Grandpa and Mona (who may or may not really be there), everyone is gone…except way up in the top right corner, Baby Marge is wandering off. Her original location replaced by the freakin’ turkey that haunts me as a reminder to the REAL TURKEYS who wander our neighborhood, unfettered by fear, due to local regulations. If the impending “meat shortage” turns out to be real, they may not be long for this earth, either! Because they wander around without fear…even though the rest of us are terrified.
And that is really what most of this is all about, right?
Fear. It is the the fear that “The Game May Be Over!” (both figuratively and in reality). It is the fear that “Nothing will ever be the SAME!” even though “the same” hasn’t been the same for years and years.
The old saying goes, “There is nothing to fear, except fear itself!” which sounds great…except if it is spoken by some wizened-up old guy coming out of a packed bar, and belching and burping without a mask, as he grabs your arm and tells you that he’s “proud to have his freedom back,” while he steals yours.
But, that can’t happen in Springfield. Because in Springfield, even when things are AWFUL (like Easter of 2014…damn you wHell and Shary!), they always get fixed, and get back to normal. Unless you are talking about the countless bugs that we have just learned to live with…because we really don’t think they’ll ever really get fixed. Living with bugs. Acclimating…to keep playing.
Isn’t that what the “New Normal” is in TSTO (and the rest of our reality)? Just learning to live with whatever the next incarnation of “normal” turns out to be. Because the fact is…we don’t have a freakin’ clue what “normal” is going to look like in a few weeks and months. We may WISH things were as bad as they were during Easter 2014.
Or…after a time to adjust…and appreciate some of the good things that have come out of this, we may continue to say, “Well…at least is isn’t as bad as Easter 2014,” so we can placate ourselves for the things and people we will certainly lose.
I’m not super optimistic about a lot of things right now. I stopped being optimistic about TSTO a long time ago. The game has been “on a ventilator” for well over a year now. But, every once in a while, the game wakes up…and shows a glimmer or two of “the old TSTO.” But, it is a glimmer.
In physics…everything is thought to be in a state of Entropy, which in simplistic terms, is defined as “the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity. Entropy is the general trend of the universe toward death, disorder and chaos.”
No system remains completely unchanged and inert. But, it is the fact that most change takes place over extended periods of time, that we just don’t notice it or acclimate to it in ways that help us accept it as “normal.” When it comes to the environment, and the slow but steady pollution of “our home,” we tend to simply accept it, because is happens slowly, and in ways that are easy to identify. Kind of like the old adage of the “frog in a slow to boil pot.” It’s not really that bad…until it is.
But, when things happen in a hurry…outside of the “normal,” we are forced to see it as it really is, and do our best to adapt (jump the hell out of the pot), or to completely ignore the reality, and pay the consequences (become a meal for Entropy). Weirdly…for millions of years…natural selection has been very efficient at deciding who the “winners and losers” are in any adverse condition. We’ll have to see where natural selection takes us on this new journey.
So yes, we are back to the ” old new normal” in TSTO…during a time when the “New, New Normal” is anything but. And nobody knows if/when Entropy wins, and chaos becomes the the best we can do.
Oh. Man. I really have to watch which mushrooms I eat on my mushroom burger. Some of them…well…make me more than a little “deep.”
Look, here’s the thing…
Life is transitory at best. There are no givens, no sure things, no guarantees, no matter how much we want them. Life is defined as a constant state of change…and most certainly a change for the worse. But, we keep trying, right?
And now, that I have NEW EYES, I see the world far more clearly than I did last year, or the year before. And in some cases…I guess, I wish I couldn’t see things as clearly (like when I look in the mirror). But, I’m still here. And TSTO is still here. And if you have read this far…YOU are still here.
Are we the same as we were a few months ago? Nope. But, we’re still here.
TAKE THAT, ENTROPY!!
I’ll leave you with a funny pic my daughter Katie (the one who works for CBS News in NYC, but commutes to her home in New Jersey every day) sent me. In Oregon, we have fewer Covid cases/deaths for the entire state, than just the COUNTY in which Katie lives. Our I-5 signs flash, “Stay at home! Save lives!” But, in New Jersey…on the Turnpike? I guess they know how to face up to things with a sense of humor. I like that. Same message…mostly. But, one that shows their toughness.
Stay Safe. Use Common Sense. Keep Yer Distance, Pal!