Millions of "amateur zoologists" (not to be confused with giraffe enthusiasts) have been following April's every move on their computers and smart phones 24/7 via giraffe-cam.
They've been watching her burgeoning pregnancy: Not her first calf, not her second, not even her third...This is her fourth calf.
Despite everything that's happening in the world, millions of people continue to feel singular concern for the well being of April the giraffe and her progeny, despite the fact that she is inherently good at this. She knows what she's doing. She's calved three times before.
What is the deal with this giraffe? I don't know. But I'll tell you, it makes me glad. Seriously, selfishly, glad.
Why? Because I have the nagging sense that we have suddenly moved past the quaintly self-absorbed historical period of self regard.
I'm saying that self-improvement, meditation, and all things "working on yourself" are quickly becoming irrelevant.
This conclusion leaves me with very little to say on any subject dear to my heart.
For example, my problems with injured pets? Not on the radar, not at all.
My anxiety about getting published? Oh, please! Even I have stopped caring!
So, I've been pretty quiet. I got nuthin' to say that isn't painfully insular. And there's not a lot I can do about that, except to try to keep up with the break-neck pace of developments in the news.
I haven't got anything fresh to say about it, and even if I did, I wouldn't be able to hear myself above the din of the choir.
I will say one little tiny thing.
I'm a little up to here with men's suits. Why does Stephen Colbert have to wear such nice conservative suits while railing against the establishment? Trevor Noah wears suits. John Oliver wears suits. All of them wear suits--except for the Young Turks, who don't wear suits but they're always yelling at me as if I were the establishment. I'm sick of being lectured and yelled at by angry men with whom I probably agree on most of the issues. Why do I want to absorb their venting? It sounds like so much mansplaining. I've still got a feminist bone to pick with this whole election fiasco. Mansplaining and men's suits offend me.
Is it just me? I know you're going to say it's just me.
Men's suits: They've always been the uniform of power. What are women supposed to wear? Not pantsuits, obviously. Then what? Skirts? (Skirts = sexual access, in case this hadn't occurred to you, which it probably has on one or two occasions. That's the nice thing about skirts.) But sexual access is hardly a symbol of power.
A power suit is a man's suit. And a man's suit is a kind of softly layered armor, with shoulder pads and probably some kind of undergirding.
Women can't wear men's suits--I mean, we can, but it will still be a man's suit, if you know what I mean. Put a man's suit on a dolphin, and it's still a man's suit. People will point and say, "Look, it's a dolphin in a suit." A man's suit doesn't convey power to the dolphin. And it doesn't convey power to women, because it's a man's suit.
I'm just saying, I would have more respect for any man speaking out against the business-suit establishment if he were not also wearing a business suit. It looks like he's a member of the same club.
What were we talking about? Oh, yeah. The giraffe. April. Why are millions of people watching a giraffe and worrying about a giraffe when North Korea has intercontinental missiles and we're dropping MOAB on Afghanistan and busses full of civilian children in Syria are exploding and we're not even sure what else is going on, because there's so much fake news in the mix?
But I understand the appeal of worrying about a giraffe in her fourth pregnancy. As you probably know, I have an injured horse. It's a terrible thing. But on the other hand, it focuses my mind and gives me a tidy local cause to rally around (not like the Wisconsin vote recount, where I showed up and was humored for two weeks with mind-numbing chores that didn't need to be done).
If you choose to worry about a giraffe having her fourth calf, you probably will not be devastated by the result. She is most likely going to have that calf. It may be late. But it will happen.
The only thing holding up the sky these days are the many thousands of people who are willing and able to rush around to all the places in the world where the sky needs propping up.
Even the crises of individuals--opioid addiction, for example--require an orchestrated response.
I am humbled, because I do think the era of the individual and her little red horse is behind us. I find myself writing less frequently these days. I take my horse for walks twice a day. I contemplate my irrelevance. It gives me an odd sense of peace.
I know it's decadent, but as long as I can choose otherwise, I won't shoot my horse for taking up more time and money than she's worth. She is my giraffe. Dear, sweet, irrelevant April: jealously regarded with anxious concern by millions of distant observers, all desperately needing to see her fare well.