As the English used to say: he had a good war. But, although the war is still going on, dr. Stuart has given up the fight by now. He is old now. Old and tired. And the war is still going on and it doesn´t look as if it is going to end soon.
His fight is over, but everyday the war is still present in his life. In everybody´s life. Only most people don´t know it. Aren´t aware of it. People say these are just coincidences. Accidents. Incidents. Life is just an accident, as a certain revival country band once sang.
But he knows. He knows and he still witnesses it every day. The piece of toast that falls face down, the cupboard door that slams open in one´s face, the plastic bag of cornflakes that rips open on the wrong side, the lid of the milk bottle that rolls under the refrigerator, the shower curtain that leaks, the sock that gets lost…, and those are just the first 20 minutes of the day.
The rest of the day is filled with apparent incidents like these. Some bigger than others. The breaking shoestring just when one runs to catch a bus, one can possibly laugh away. The struggling telephone cord while making an important phonecall, however, is already bordering on the barely bearable. The slipping soap, the bouncing bottle, the sharp end of the bedpost moving ever so slightly to the left so that it will almost but not entirely fail to meet the most sensitive part of the little toe means war. The war against things.
The war against things. Or, rather, the war things have declared on us. The things that shift, glide, break, tear apart, roll under, fly over, slam open, slam close, drop, slip, slide, strike, stomp, curl, crawl, twist, flicker, hide, stand in the way, get stuck, get unstuck. The things that don´t work. The things that obstruct. The things that don´t obey.
With open eyes, one can see clearly. Things have declared war against the people. They have declared that war centuries ago. But only since men have collaborated, things have gone worse. For, while stones, puddles and dead tree trunks can be at least annoying and at worst lethal, yet the most dangerous, the most rebellious, the most destructive things are the things made by humans themselves: cupboards, bookshelves, staircases, zippers, scissors, hammers, nails, bicycles, skateboards, beach chairs, garden tables, …
Yes, he has had a good war. But he gave up in the eighties. When it came clear that the things had found the biggest human collaborator they had ever had. Because, while previously humans often had helped things in producing other hostile things, they had done so unconsciously and never on such a worldwide scale. Now, this has changed. It started in the seventies and grew to full-blown blitzkrieg scale during the eighties of the twentieth century.
This particular thing has been, right from the start, perfect for one cause only: to make human lives extremely miserable. Nevertheless, it has become more and more powerful, prestigious and – even – popular. It has gone worse by each update. Now, it is present in almost every household in the western world, and increasingly present in other parts of the world as well.
The war with the things is still going on. But the things have won. Only because of one man. Only because of this: