It’s time to hang up the hat on end time bureaucracy and the obsessive focus on fulfilling eschatological prophecy
Rider of the Black Horse
It is with deep sorrow that I send my resignation notice from the Apocalyptic Quartet, effective 16 September 2015 CE. After having worked this job for 1,934 years, it’s clear now that our institution’s struggle for relevance within the context of modern societal norms has become an uphill battle, where the risks to my well-being outweigh the perceived benefits of accomplishing our corporate mission.
While I consider the choice to step down a decision I wish I’ve made sooner, I have nothing but tremendous awe for this profession, as nothing satisfies me more than committing random acts of terror against Earth’s human occupants, which are often misattributed as Acts of God.
However, certain job responsibilities delegated to my office in the last few centuries has made me realize that, despite the growing volume of tasks, the level of satisfaction and external validation has been consistently flat over the last several hundred years. This is not a good thing.
Let’s pick one: keeping track of petrol reservoirs in the Persian Gulf and oil fields in the North Sea. I am Famine, Sweeper of crop fields and Conjurer of rumbling bellies. “Overseer, Crude Oil Impoundments” is not a title I hold. This was my predecessor’s duty, not mine.
Simply put, your office has burdened me with duties that were not part of my contract. For instance, is it necessary to wipe out fauna endemic to an isolated area just so some obscure species would suffer a shortage of grubs? Have you considered Pestilence for such a job?
Surely, his record of spreading diseases on both animals and plants makes him super qualified. In fact, it took me a century to surpass his record body count — a century of killing men, women, and innocent kids.
That’s right, while the world’s human population deserves scarce food provisions, you can’t deny feeling the slightest hint of pity for underweight African children slowly dying of starvation.
Whoever takes my mantle shall help usher a bold era of sustained cataclysmic bloodbath humanity has never seen since the time Homo sapiens wiped out the Neanderthals 3,100 generations ago.
Further, I never had any use for this silver weighing scale, which I need to carry when I travel across the farthest corners of the world on this abomination of a horse. The damn thing strains my arms and yet my repeated requests to have this released from my possession have fallen on deaf ears.
However, I won’t change a thing if I were to rewrite history — not with fond memories of working with amazing colleagues. I take pleasure in spreading malnutrition to civilizations and these unforgettable moments have played a major role in honing both my abilities as a specter of doom and my personal growth as an anthropomorphic entity.
As much as I would love to continue riding with this wonderful death squad, my battle against anorexia and osteoporosis may risk our integrity as a group. These personal concerns will surely impede the smooth flow of my work output.
And speaking of smooth flow and work output, I’ve sent you this three-month notice to give ample time for Talent Acquisition to find a suitable replacement. Per my contract, I’ll make schedule adjustments in the next 12 weeks to engage in onboarding for my successor, provided that these sessions revolve around unforeseen medical appointments and therapy sessions I would undertake in the coming weeks.
I sincerely believe that whoever takes my mantle shall help usher a bold era of sustained cataclysmic bloodbath humanity has never seen since the time Homo sapiens wiped out the Neanderthals 3,100 generations ago, with the help of War’s impressive command of mass slaughter; Death’s firm grip on life’s impermanence; and Pestilence’s constantly disruptive innovations on subjugating God’s creations.
I can’t fully express my appreciation for all the kindness of my colleagues and I’ll cherish the time I spent with them and with all the people I exterminated.
So long, and thanks for all the fish — decomposed or otherwise. ♦
Famine is the preternatural author of The New York Times bestseller Traveling the World on Horseback: A Memoir. His latest obsession is Italian soft ice cream.