Monday, May 24, 2004

Six and a Half Billion O'Clock - Time For a New Slogan
Here's something to try not to think about next time you're having sex: According to the United Nations, it took all of human history until 1804 for the earth's population to reach one billion. Today it takes about twelve years to add a billion people. Are we a bunch of adorable, overachieving little fuckmonkeys or what?

After that first billion, it took only another 123 years -- until about 1927 -- to reach 2 billion. Just 47 years later, in 1974, world population had again doubled, to 4 billion. We hit 5 billion in 1987 and 6 billion in 1999. Today, there are roughly six and a half billion people on the planet and that's just the ones currently standing in the checkout lines at Wal-Mart.

Here's something else hard to believe: one tenth of all people ever born are alive today. Of course, that's just the pessimist's view. The optimist would say 9/10 of all people ever born are dead today. And dying IS one way the world seems to be dealing with the problem.

OK, here is one of the few completely serious remarks you'll ever hear me make: Today, approximately 19,000 people will die from starvation. Nineteen Thousand. Most of them children. That's how many people starve to death Every. Single. Day. Overpopulation is one of the reasons for this. Other consequences of overpopulation include depletion of drinking water, rising temperatures, collapsing fisheries, increased extinction of plant and animal species, increases in disease epidemics, famine, unemployment, black-market economies, and (OK, back to the wisecracks) people willing to eat reindeer testicles on Fear Factor.

But oops, guess what? Now comes news that half of the world's people are starving, while the other half are obese. Perhaps as a solution, one half could simply eat the other! But which half? Dammit! Why are there never easy solutions?

Another major bummer of overpopulation is the inverse relationship between quantity and quality. Back before we hit the Big One Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh, we had Buddha, Confucius, Plato, Jesus, Copernicus, Leonardo, Galileo, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Newton. Now, we've got George W. Bush, Ashton Kutcher, that Arby's oven mitt, and ten million people watching plastic surgery on television. Call me a worry wart, but it seems like we've got a wee problem on our hands.

Here's another mindbender: even though the birth *rate* has actually started to decline, the population explosion is still going on. That's because there are so many people out there from the last couple of centuries' MTV-spring-break-like, nonstop orgy that it will take until at least 2050 for the world's population to stabilize, even if we go forward with plans to wrap R. Kelly in cellophane.

And what if world population doesn't stabilize? One trillion people by 2300! If the quantity/quality rule holds, that oven mitt will be 2300's Stephen Hawking.

But here's the real kick in the 'nads: no matter what we do, we're hosed. If we keep growing, we'll run out of water, destroy the planet, and make it harder than ever to find a good parking space. If we shrink too fast, we'll end up with a population aging so rapidly that entire societies will collapse and four out of every five drivers will forget to turn off their turn signals.

Look, it doesn't take a Java programmer to tell that there are simply too many people in the world. In the time it will take you to read this page, 23 new babies will be born in America and 750 will be born worldwide. (If you move your lips while you read, the numbers could be as high as 46 and 1500.) So let's do the math: This means that by the end of this OFGS, there will be 23 new Americans and 727 new people who HATE America. This can lead to only one conclusion: America needs more guns.

No, just kidding. Ha ha ha. Clearly, we are at the moment in history when birth control is a moral imperative (and I don't just mean for NASCAR fans). Gone are the halcyon days of unchecked, wanton reproduction. The world's most dangerous marketing slogan -- "Be Fruitful and Multiply" (edging out "Just Do It") -- obviously no longer applies to our world. Currently, scientists estimate that by 2025 the Catholic Church's official policy will be "Be Not So Damn Fruitful and Enough With the Multiplying Already!" and by 2100 it will be "Please Just Try Not To Step On Anyone's Face." What will things be like with 25 billion people? Why not e-mail the pope? He's infallible; he'll know.

Of course, the church still officially forbids birth control, stem-cell research and voting for John Kerry. But Catholic voters won't rule out Kerry. In America, Catholics don't vote "Catholic." Maybe a voting booth looks similar to a confessional, but most Catholics can tell when they're not in church. (And after all, it wasn't until 1979 that the church officially admitted the earth revolves around the sun. "Oops," they said. "Our bad." I just hope they saved the apology template.)

Of course, some people believe technology will save us from overpopulation. To which I say, ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, hold on for a minute so I can wipe my eyes. Whew. That was a good one. When technology can figure out how to make an ink jet printer cartridge last longer than a week, talk to me about global overpopulation.

But actually, that's not fair to technology. The truth is, technology CAN save us from overpopulation: it's called a condom. Slap one on, Mister Right Wing Think Tank. See also: pill, patch, vasectomy.

And you "pro-life" zealots who oppose contraception: If you are concerned about abortion -- truly concerned, not just reciting the literature and thumping your chests -- it is 6 and a half BILLION o'clock. Time to wake up and support contraceptive efforts. How can you be against abortion while also being against birth control? If you are really pro-life, hop on the birth-control doinkwagon. It's a rockin' good fuckfest and it's heading out of town without you.

I say it's time to send our horny youngsters a new message before the planet flames out in an all-out spermageddon. The old one-two punch of abstinence/fruitfulness has been thoroughly dopeslapped by the glorious, God-given libidinous splashogasm. So, young horny people of the world, if abstinence works for you, great! Glad to hear it! By all means, please accept my sincere congratulations and gratitude for not making any new people. But when you can no longer purge your urge to merge, please don't listen to the mixed message of self-denying abstinence and self-indulgent fruitfulness. Come up with a birth control plan and a safe-sex plan that make sense for you and get out there and schtup your nash-tay little brains out!

OK, it's too long for a bumper sticker, but there's a slogan in there somewhere!

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