When I walked into the house last night Maggie said ‘Mom! I have a video you have to watch.’
I asked her what it was.
She said it was called World of Tomorrow.
I immediately thought it was some social justice racial equality gender bending utopian dream type film. Either that, or a goofy 15 year old YouTuber with a huge tumblr following pulling juvenile pranks on their friends. That’s the sort of stuff she usually brings me.
But it wasn’t. It was way worse than that.
She said, ‘It’s a short film by the Beautiful Day Guy.’
Gasp! The Beautiful Day Guy! That’s Don Hertzfeldt. He is the writer/illustrator of the animated film It’s Such a Beautiful Day.
If you have never seen it, don’t! It was the most horrible awful disturbing film I have ever seen. It tells the story of a crudely drawn stick man through the voice of an unpolished narrator, and it was the most uncomfortable 70 minutes of my life.
I’m sure it didn’t help that the stick man’s name was Bill, which was my dad’s name. My dad, who coincidentally drew silly stick men for me throughout my childhood.
This silly little cartoon man dug his pointy little stick fingers into my heart and poked it full of tiny little holes. I cried for hours, perseverated for days, and swore I would never ever watch anything he did ever again. Ever. Not ever.
And now Maggie wanted me to watch his short film. Sigh.
I was feeling buzzed because I had just come from an amazing yoga class, so I thought I was in a decent enough frame of mind. I agreed to sit down with Maggie and the Netflix. I watched the screen while she sat and stared at me, anticipating my reactions.
From the start this one seemed sweeter. And a little bit lighter. A cute little child stick figure talking to her future clone. Time travel. Space robots. Museum exhibits.
I laughed a little, sighed a little, and yes, I almost cried, a little.
And then the clone said, ‘Now is the envy of all of the dead’.
That is the line that stuck in my head. I woke up with it there this morning, so I rewatched the film.
Her actual words are my new Desiderata.
‘Do not lose time on daily trivialities.
Do not dwell on petty detail.
For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time.
You are alive and living now.
Now is the envy of all the dead.’
It’s not really about the world of tomorrow at all. It’s always about now.