Rant of an Oilman’s Son
My father is an oilman. I grew up in Texas, going out to the derricks with him. When I saw a puddle of that dark stuff ooze up from a newly-vacant cavity in the earth, I wanted to jump into its tarry center, to breathe it in, sucking all that ancient, ancient fat into my lungs until I was as dead as those animals from which the stuff comes.
You want me to repeat that? Yes, animals. Oil is a tangent shadow of faraway death. Ages ago, when smarter, murderous monkeys like my father hadn't yet stood up to shake their fists at God, a troglodyte died and began to decompose. Much later, an abandoned infant brachiasaurus collapsed from starvation in the same place, decomposition adding to the soup. The thick stew accumulated over eons until men like my father dug a hole and found it, sucking it out of an enormous cave to fuel trucks that shipped cancerous vegetables to people in South Carolina and South Korea, giving them stunted energy enough to fill up their own vehicles with old animal soup to buy more food to eat, shit and die.
But the hatred of my father didn't spawn from the discovery that he got rich on the world's reliance on the spoils of history. We are all babies suckling at the corpulent breasts of that which came before us, suckling with blind, feverish pleasure and need.
At some point, even babies must be sated and open their eyes.
I hate my father for not understanding that he continues to empty the cavities of the Earth. The world loves both the life and death of its children. Life moves upon the surface of the Earth like a smile or grimace upon the face of a loving mother, and when that life has ended, it sinks down to her heart, into hidden pockets of rich memories guarded and held secure. These are the memories of the physical world; she cannot pursue the future without this petroleum past.
My father steals the memories of the world in order to accelerate the movements of men, movements ridiculous and shameful in such a canyon of time. Soon, the caves of the world's remembrances will be hollow, as dry and abandoned as ice sifting forgotten through the far corners of the incomprehensible universe.
This hollowness, this world with an interior of devoured memories, cannot support the weight of men and women and children upon the surface.
Soon, the ground will collapse beneath my boots. I cannot convince my father that he is wrong. I cannot replenish the deposits of history.