Sunday, March 3, 2013


The cadavers of the future rise from their beds, not yet dead, to face the day ahead. They wash their bodies and slide into their pants and skirts and blouses and shirts and slip on their shoes and eat something. They leave their homes and go out onto the streets of Ambivalence.

Ambivalence is an average sized town that resides on the borderline between the boroughs of Abominable and Abundant. There are a lot of things to like about Ambivalence but there is more than enough to hate. It is a town of contradictions and restrictions and no restrictions. In Ambivalence every good day is a bad day for someone and every bad day is a good day for someone else. It is a rare occasion when everyone is happy at once. So rare an occasion as to be non-existent and you don’t get much rarer than that. What Ambivalence has, it’s one constant, is a status quo. Ambivalence is as good and as bad at it gets and that is about the best the cadavers of the future can expect. 

Those that run Ambivalence are as crooked as crooked can be and those who complain about them are as crooked as they can manage to be without getting caught and going to prison. Not much makes sense and people rarely mean what they say. The cadavers of the future don’t worry too much about the future in which they’ll be cadavers. They leave a lot of messes for future generations to clean up, just as they have been left a lot of messes to clean up by their predecessors. Leaving messes and the required infrastructure to maintain these messes without turning the whole thing into a total mess is the Ambivalent way. That is the status quo. What more can you expect? It’s pretty good when you think about it, unless it seems really bad. It’s up to you really. An optimistic outlook is generally considered preferable but it isn’t compulsory. There is no rulebook here. Well, there is but those that adhere to it won’t be winning the game of Ambivalence. The rules of the game are to work around the rules whilst claiming to be sticking to them. To actually stick to the rules is naïve and naivety is the cardinal weakness in this town. The more naïve a cadaver of the future is the sooner in the future they are likely to become a cadaver.

When the cadavers of the future eventually become cadavers they are buried in a big cemetery on a hill overlooking Ambivalence. Tributes are paid to them and nice things are written on the stones that stand at the heads of their graves. The best of the worst is emphasised. A man who evaded paying his taxes his entire life is remembered as a good father and a man who was a bad father but paid his taxes all his life is remembered as someone who always paid his dues. This is the way it is in Ambivalence; most of the cadavers of the future prefer to look on the bright side and rarely acknowledge the dark. It is considered impolite to consider the dark so the dark goes unconsidered but everyone knows it is there. The cadavers of the future are both the bright and the dark and that is what makes Ambivalence tick. But you aren’t to go mentioning it. You aren’t to go saying as much. To point out that Ambivalence is a town that could only exist with good and bad in equal measure would be to point out that, although things will never get worse, things will never get better. Such an acknowledgement would lead the cadavers of the future to despair. Not many could handle the fact that they may as well change the name of Ambivalence to Limbo and that the only guaranteed progress is the progression toward a place up on the hill. Under a stone with a nice tribute to you written on it.

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