"Would--would you mind telling me--" he said to the guide, much deflated, "what was so stupid about that?"
"We know how the Universe ends--" said the guide, "and Earth has nothing to do with it, except that it gets wiped out, too."
"How--how does the Universe end?" said Billy.
"We blow it up, experimenting with new fuels for our flying saucers. A Tralfamadorian test pilot presses a starter button, and the whole Universe disappears." So it goes.
So, the Tralfamadorians know how it all ends, and they're doing nothing to stop it. Because it has already happened, is happening, and will happen again. They're not upset about it because time is a fluid thing. That's how Billy can be a zoo exhibit on Tralfamadore, an optometrist in Ilium, and a prisoner in Germany.
It's kind of a comforting thought, existing at all times. Death isn't an end. Pain isn't so painful. Sadness is just a rest stop between moments of happiness. That kind of outlook would save a whole lot of people a lot of trouble. I know I would sleep better at night if I took a few lessons from the Tralfamadorians.
Instead, I spend my life worrying. This morning, I woke up worried about grading some research papers this afternoon. This afternoon, I worried about getting all of my work done at the office. Tonight, I'm a little concerned about writing two blog posts and also reading The Handmaid's Tale for my book club meeting on Thursday. If I was just a little unstuck in time, I wouldn't be stressed at all right now.
But, I am not living in a science fiction novel. I can't time travel, and I have never ridden in a flying saucer. I am a human being, living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the continent of North America in the Western Hemisphere on the planet Earth in the galaxy of the Milky Way. I live in a specific moment. That's what human beings do.
And I am happy in this moment. I graded some papers. I'm almost done writing this blog post. Pretty soon, I'll have a few hours to read some Margaret Atwood. That's what I have tonight. And that's good enough.
Saint Marty is thankful for this moment.