Whatever You Do, Don’t Think

By Dan Denton

Do you ever find yourself sitting at your table, stoned and too tired to sleep at 2am, thinking about all the ways the world is fucked up? No? Just me? Good. Whatever you do, don’t think. 

I was reading this week about the trial of Galileo Galilei, the great astronomer and physicist, because I get fascinated by shit, and ole Galileo was a fascinating cat, and for far more than just as a lyric written by the late saint Freddie Mercury. 

Two things about Galileo Galilei; he had a brilliant fucking pop star name, and despite being one of the most influential and brilliant humans in our short history, he spent the last eight years of his life confined to house arrest, because he had the courage to tell the Catholics that they were wrong. The Catholics believed the Bible when it said the sun circled around the Earth, and our man Galileo went and figured out how to make a telescope better, and said, “hold up. My former colleague Nicolas Copernicus was right. The Earth revolves around the sun.” 

Galileo was an old man at this point, having spent his life chasing the stars and trying to figure shit out, and friends, this was during the time of the Inquisition, where the Roman Catholic Church said, “this is the way it is,” and if anyone said, “are you sure?” they killed them. And they killed all the disagreements in ever more creative and painful ways. They’d burn you alive at the stake, or for fun, they’d try to torture a confession and religious conversion out of you, and if you passed out from the torture, they’d call a medieval doctor over to revive you, and begin the torture again. I’m not trying to beat the shit out of the Catholics, and anyone still believing can answer to their own midnight bathroom mirrors.  But during the holy inquisition those fuckers made water boarding seem like a handshake. 

Those killers of disagreement put old man Galileo on trial for telling the truth in direct defiance of church doctrine, and he was surely guilty. So they banned his book and locked him away in his home under the watchful eye of the gleeful killers, those inquisition guards. 

Standing up for the truth with your life on the line is as hardcore punk as it gets, and I can’t help but induct Galileo Galilei into the hardcore hero hall of fame that I keep in a spare closet of my brain. 

Man, all that reading was sad enough on its own, but then other shit happened that night. And during the week. Wildfires burning in another country continued to block the sun’s rays. A 14 year old boy was murdered on the south side of town. A police chase ended after 25 cop cars chased the driver all over Toledo and hell. It was the third police chase in town this week. 

And I couldn’t sleep the other night, and as often happens, the television seemed like an empty waste of time, and my legs were too jumpy to hold any of my books still long enough to finish reading a sentence. It was one of those nights, like many of my nights, when it’s way past midnight and I’m awake and alone with nothing but some friendly music, a cup of coffee I shouldn’t be drinking at this ungodly hour, and a running dry pack of cigarettes that I don’t bother to close anymore. The smokes come continuously, and opening the box top slows me down. 

And sometimes on those nights, all of the insanity, and stupidity, and brainwashing of our world comes crashing down on me, and all I can think about is how for every famous artist that ever lived, 1,000 more died starving and unknown. For every pioneer with a statue in a park, there’s 10,000 more that were tormented, mocked, jailed and killed. Humanity has never been kind to the truth tellers and free thinkers. They jailed Timothy Leary. Hounded Tesla penniless. They made Nellie Bly’s life hell. Murdered Dr. King. And both Kennedy’s, and for every one of them there’s 10,000 more murdered that we’ll never know about. 

That’s a heavy fucking cup of coffee to sip on at 2am. Which reminds me once again of one of the most simple, honest poems I ever wrote. 

Whatever you do, don’t think. Here’s that old poem from 2015.

I figured wrong

I fucked it up

spent too much time

trying to make money 

trying to get things,

too much time reading,

trying to figure stuff out.

Tried too hard to be somebody. 

I missed all of the obvious signs.

I didn't see

the miserable rich people,

the tormented geniuses,

the suicidal rock stars,

the drug addicted actors.

I should have noticed sooner,

I've never met

an unhappy idiot.

Dan Denton is a former UAW Chief Steward turned full time writer. His books are all available at www.magicaljeep.com


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