MICHAEL HARPER

poet, teacher, et cetera

IN THE FUTURE RYAN GOSLING

 

In the future Ryan Gosling is the only man alive. All other men are dead. Just humans, though. And just the males. It’s not scary or anything – just all the dudes are gone. Many animals with Y-chromosomes are still alive, especially cats. It’s not like that one comic book or some zombie movie. The internet is still around, and so is Ryan Gosling.

All of the men of the world in the future are dead and gone because they died of emotional atrophy. Everyone was paying all of the attention to Ryan Gosling, and no one paid attention to all of the other many billion men. Like J.M. Barrie, the tiny author of Peter Pan who supposedly never fully developed because his mother didn’t hug him or teach him to fly, the men of the world eventually just stopped being around.

Women stopped paying attention to them because no man was as Ryan Gosling. No man had abs or a chin like his or was in The Notebook as much as Ryan Gosling. No man showed he cared as much about Darfur or animals or invisible African children as Ryan Gosling. Men’s music was not Dead Man’s Bones, and most husbands, brothers, and fathers did not have seven Teen Choice Awards. Men stopped paying attention to other men, whether in platonic, romantic, brotherly or fatherly love. They were all too busy trying to be similes of Ryan Gosling and in doing so died of sit-ups, or spending too much time being feminists on the internet. Men could not even give their hatred to other men because they were too busy hating Ryan for his sensible good looks and poignant films. And so, without love and without hate and without perfect six-packs, all of the men died.

Fathers died, brothers died, husbands died, the president of the United States of America died, the attorney general died, the king of Saudi Arabia died, the emperor of Japan died, the president of Mexico died, the king of Morocco died, the prime minister of The Bahamas died, the senior vice-president of Philip Morris USA in charge of Smokeable Manufacturing died, your uncle died, Woody Allen died, his holiness the Pope and his cardinals, bishops, and every man of the cloth died, more than 90% of the incarcerated population of the US of A died, some hippies died, your boyfriend died, hundreds of professional wrestlers died, men working in the office died, men working in the field died, men piloting planes full of mostly other men over desert countries in the Middle East died, leaving behind his hair as a prop the weatherman died, some nice elementary school teachers died, thousands of professional athletes died, black men died, yellow men died, red men died, white men died, I died, the guy who took your virginity died, Kanye West died,  Tupac Shakur died, the kid who gave you a Valentine’s day card in second grade grew up to be a man and died.

Men, who for thousands of years dominated the species with simple rape, and emotional abuse, and religions that catered directly to a male agenda and political control of the vagina, just up and died.

Second-hand stores, overwhelmed by the billions of ugly shirts and ill-fitting pants donated by half-grieving widows and mothers, began tossing male clothes into the ocean. Like the oceanic trash pile twice the size of Texas from the early twenty-first century, an island of secondhand menswear came to be a new Atlantis off the coast of Florida. The baseball caps served as excellent homes for crabs.

 

originally published in MORE SURFACE