I would like to proactively begin this essay with Supplemental Materials to this essay:


Jackson Pollack was less an artist than a psychic predicting the Exxon Valdez disaster. Or the captain of that ship, Joseph Hazelwood, drinking all night, wanted to pay tribute to his favorite painter, getting loaded and crashing his vehicle bigger that same way.


The Industrial Revolution’s dark, bubbly sperm spews into the Gulf of Capitalism’s vast, vaginal ocean. The media film this pornography for the rest of humanity to get off on in horror. In terms of birth control it makes no sense to clog the cock’s urethra after it’s already blown its wad, after it’s already impregnated the ocean with inevitable extinction. There is no retroactive method of birth control. (At what point is abortion not enough?)


Philip Morris and General Motors will eventually join forces to fuel automobiles with gasoline-soaked tobacco and whatever else they sweep up off the cigarette factory floor. American cities will soon have the most refreshing menthol-flavored air on Earth. Factories themselves contribute as much as they can: Smoke stacks lodged like concrete fangs on the horizon are animated sculptures of our lungs. The Earth is a giant hookah. Every breath is a drag.


It’s nice to think that, as the human population grows and more golf courses and graveyards are built, the growing continents of garbage in the Earth’s oceans might become suitable—and, oddly—familiar habitats. When humans run out of land due to overpopulation, or climate change floods all coastlines, at least humans will have somewhere else to live. Born with an innate sense of contingent competence, turns out humans were being proactive the whole time.


‘Natural’ isn’t always good. Hurricanes are ‘natural’. AIDS is ‘natural’. Humans are ‘natural’. Tap water catching fire seems impressive enough, considering its combination of two ‘natural’ (however opposing) elements. A feasible spin: It makes water more sterile, a sort of pre-boiling. Humans will always get thirsty, need to bathe, and hospitals/pharmaceutical companies will always need customers. ‘Natural’ gas will at least keep those customers warm while the experimental cancer drugs they gulp down with tap water attack what’s left of their immune systems.


There must exist photographic evidence of a praying mantis hula-hooping a halo the size of a growing hole in the ozone. Satellite images reveal enhanced photographic evidence would most likely be actual size (the mantis in the photo would be the same size as the mantis being photographed). To a satellite, humans are no larger than microbes to humans. The Earth now has its own rings—composed of man-made space debris—, its own halo. Humans are their own [g]od, their satellites microscopes to study their own behavior on the Earth’s wet slide. The mantis is an atheist praying it’s wrong.


Humans are causing the Earth a lot of pain.

Why on Earth aren’t humans all dead yet.

They kill each other all the time.

What’s taking so long.

Such an amusing paradox humans are: They’re ignorant enough to believe they’re indestructible and necessary, yet insightful enough to invent sufficient surgical instruments to cut themselves off and better illustrate their irrelevance.

Humans are a useless appendage.

An appendix, a gallbladder.

They’ve become inflamed and, to heal the Earth, they need to be removed.


Nuclear bombs would make great saws to amputate them from the Earth like infected, gangrenous limbs, and then the Earth could heal itself, and it would be much better for humans, too, because they wouldn’t be around anymore to argue about how small or large a problem they are, how much damage they do or do not cause the Earth and their own lives as a result.

Then humans could go on, totally extinct and forgotten and that would be just great.

Thank you for reading.

This was an essay.

I should’ve written something like, “Nuclear bombs would make a great ActivOn,” or something.

That “nuclear bombs should be rubbed into the Earth’s flesh”—that “humans need to be rubbed out.”

That would’ve really gone along great with the title’s portmanteau: “Earthritis.”

Maybe I should be more optimistic.

Maybe I should’ve written something like, “Humans are good people.”

Maybe something like, “Humans are worth it.”

But I didn’t write anything like that.

No, I didn’t.

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ERIC BEENY is the author of The Dying Bloom (Pangur Ban Party, 2009), Snowing Fireflies (Folded Word Press, 2010), Of Creatures (Gold Wake Press, 2011), Pseudo-Masochism (Medulla Publishing, 2011), Milk Like a Melted Ghost (Thumbscrews Press, 2011), and some other things. His writing has appeared in many journals, both in print and online. He blogs at Dead End on Progressive Ave.

2 responses to “Earthritis: A Distant Close-Up of Human Civilization (w/ Supplemental Materials)”

  1. i hope the cosmos never takes a money shot on my face for a variety of reasons. at what point is abortion not enough made me giggle, though. very proactive, loved this.

    • Eric Beeny says:

      Nice! No way, PZA, you were born with one of those clear plastic tarps people wore sitting in the front rows of Gallagher shows for when he cracked all the watermelons. The universe couldn’t hit you if it tried. Big thanks…

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