Today is the day! Fear Inoculum, the first album by Tool in 13 years, is in the world. To commemorate the occasion, Phoenix New Times has been rerunning some of the best columns by Maynard James Keenan, the band's frontman and Arizona winemaker, all week. This was his final piece, which ran on January 2, 2013.
This is dangerous. I'm pre-writing this column so I can submit it pre-holiday for publication in January. This is assuming January will arrive. So far so good. There's nothing obviously hurtling towards us from space, such as a comet, meteor, or very large, impenetrable minimalist sculpture.
Not that we're aware of, anyway. No unusual spike in geological activity. No increased sunspot shenanigans. Snooki's spawn has no anti-Christ markings or disturbingly evil powers. Yet. Maybe we'll be okay. Maybe you'll actually read this and we'll all giggle with some modicum of humility over our collective paranoia. On some unconscious level, I'll be more than a little disappointed if nothing semi-tragic happens. All that buildup and no money shot. Bummer.
Think of all that wasted end-of-the-world disaster footage: Tommy Lee Jones ass-whooping some Beverly Hills lava (Volcano); John Cusack fleeing from the whatnots in a bunker submarine ship thing (2012); Charlton Heston battling plastic surgery disasters (Beneath the Planet of the Apes); Liv Tyler actually dating Ben Affleck. As if. (Armageddon). Bill Murray apologizing for breaking the seventh seal of the apocalypse by agreeing to do Garfield and then DYING (Zombieland); Jake Gyllenhaal surviving Brokeback Mountain (Day After Tomorrow). The list goes on.
I had a thought. What if our understanding of the airwaves borders on knuckle-dragger? I mean, what if our flippant transmission of invisible signals isn't bound by our understanding of time? What if satellite transmissions go up into space and slip through black holes and fissures of the space-time continuum? We've only been broadcasting these various forms of sounds and images for less than a century. We've had no real time under our belt to measure the damage or far-reaching effect of these actions. What if these images reach back in time?
Let's say that by some divine intervention or even random chance, a handful of individuals from way back when received some crude dental work. Bear with me. Let's say that this crude dental work chanced upon a perfect combo of precious metals that actually received signals such as those transmitted. And now add the ability of said individual to "see" these transmissions and write them down as if they have been divined unto them.
The concentration of Doomsday films in the latter half of the 20th century would surely scare the shit of these poor saps. So, of course, they wrote it all down and, of course, they would be persecuted for being a few shovels short of a load. Yes? Maybe Nostradamus, the Maya, Bill Miller and the Millerite Band, John of Patmos, etc., were accidentally turned into makeshift ham radios by a clumsy quack of a dentist and were all victims of the interdimensional hypothesis.
It reminds me of that Superman film, Somewhere in Time. (I wasn't crying at the end. I had something in my eye.) Familiarize yourself with the film before proceeding. Q: Where did the watch originate? It's like the chicken and the egg head-scratcher. A: It has no origin. It's cyclical. It's a self-contained paradox. "We" wrote these scripts and screenplays in response to the above-mentioned dental disasters. They wrote their ticket to the funny farm in response to our time-traveling blockbuster disaster images. Pop on over to Colorado and indulge in the locally legal tender and ponder that shizzle for a mo'. You may find yourself in temporary total agreement.
I realize all of this is a stretch, but I'm scrambling here. The world didn't end. I was wrong. How embarrassing. Not even a globally recognized elevation in irritable bowel syndrome or naked-first-day-of-school nightmares. Being wrong sucks. All of this hoarded food, ammo, and duct tape was for naught. (Had the end of the world occurred, you would be thanking me for the duct tape tip.)
Chicken Little Present but Over and Out.