Birthdays are a nice reminder that you are alive

healthcare, Star Trek, and running marathons. or for president.

Birthdays are a nice reminder that you are alive.

“Happy birthday! Hope you’re well. 😊”

I got more texts and DMs like this than I feel like I deserved at the time so if you did that thank you. It’s a simple decent thing to say to someone, and I like it. Even if it’s not your birthday, it’s just nice to hear from someone that they wish you well. I hope something good happens to you today. I wanna get better about wishing people well and tell them happy birthday more often because it’s a pretty much effortless renewable resource of positive energy. Good vibes. And with it being my first birthday in a few years I didn’t celebrate with a party, I honestly thought that aside from those closest to me or it coming up in passing, it would be just another day and I was gonna just get used to that. The Internet can make you feel very alone just as easily as it can make you feel very not alone, and I’m thankful it’s not all there is to life. At least not yet.

When we say we care about people, we’re caring about their health and wellbeing, right? We wish each other well, and sometimes worry when they’re not.

If you remember I wasn’t super excited about my birthday. The anxiety over losing my parents’ good health insurance in a year is still real and politically motivates me on the Internet, but it’s an anxiety everyone has. We often don’t think about it when we’re lucky and healthy. Even when we’re not lucky or healthy, healthcare is something you might care about but for whatever reason tend to procrastinate. You may be living with a pain or an ache or a cough or a rash and put off seeing a doctor indefinitely. Maybe you don’t have the time. Maybe you’re afraid of the undermentioned intimacy between doctor and patient. Or maybe, more likely, it cost too much money. So then that pain or ache or cough or rash becomes future you’s problem. Future you will deal with it.

I think everyone should have access to healthcare. Even healthcare they’ll subsequently procrastinate. I’ve been convinced by people who have spent their lives fighting and working for the same thing that it is possible, given we change some behaviors and remove power from some bad actors. I’ve heard climate change is like that too, but that’s a problem for future me and future you.

I watched Star Trek: Picard with my friend the other day and along with the Short Treks I’m pleased to report that none of the new Star Trek content I consumed pissed me off. The fact that it’s on CBS All-Access and requires a monthly subscription sucks though, and if that was the case in the 1960s we wouldn’t have Whoopi Goldberg. I’m also not sure Martin Luther King Jr. would’ve coughed up the seven dollars a month or whatever, but in 2020 I guess it works out for me cause I just get to hang out with a friend with a login. No matter how much I might like all this new Star Trek content, we realize it’s counterintuitive to the spirit of the show to have it behind a paywall, right?

Star Trek is supposed to be this kinda utopia that’s moved beyond war, money, medicine, class, racism, and xenophobia, but apparently that was too idealistic. So now our Star Trek is about the war, money, medicine, class, racism, and xenophobia we’re dealing with today. So it’s a little less interesting.

Idealism and optimism aren’t really in fashion right now. Even a retrofuturistic pop culture apologist like myself is experiencing my own dark, gritty reboot.

During this hellish Democratic primary in America, we’re supposed to decide not just what our nominee for president in 2020 is, but also what platform they’re going to run on. I’d like to remind myself and you reading that this is a time where you’re allowed to be as idealistic and optimistic as you want about what you’d like to see in the country and your world.

This clip from the CNN debate in July is still good but I would very much like to know where this Elizabeth Warren is today.

Now, I’d like you to think about America and think about the future and think about Star Trek and idealism and optimism and try to watch this recent video from a Bernie Sanders rally. I say try because I cannot get through it without weeping. I’m still getting used to this dark gritty reboot thing.

Speaking of ugly crying, my parents recommended I watch the Amazon original film Brittany Runs A Marathon. I kinda try to avoid Amazon original content the same way I kinda try to avoid using Amazon period but I had the time and mild interest so whatever, click, it’s already starting.

I don’t know if Brittany Runs A Marathon is a great film or anything, but it made me ugly cry three times. Once, where she rejects the help from her friends in an effort to do it alone. That reminded me of my past. Then when they show up to support her at the end even though she was kind of a jerk to them. That reminded me of my present. And, also just because it prominently featured a gay couple raising children and being dads and idk, that really really mattered to me. It really really mattered to me that my parents watched it and it didn’t keep them from loving it or recommending it so I’m just gonna go ahead and love it and recommend it too. It reminded me of the future. It also made me want to go back to the gym which I am doing after this.

But also this happened the other day,

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs bill allowing adoption agencies to deny gay couples

Birthdays are a nice reminder that you are alive and that the future is in front of you. We are still at least a hundred years out before we lapse Star Trek like we lapsed Back to the Future II and ideally I’d like for it to not continue to look like Biff’s alternate-timeline 1985.

There are so many days where the weight of the world makes it too difficult to carry my iPhone. Can we at least agree that it’s challenging to live in a country where its leaders would prefer that you didn’t exist? I want to be allowed to be picky and idealistic. I’d like to not worry about presidential elections or $7 streaming service subscriptions or ethical consumption or if I’ll be able to see a doctor in the future. We don’t think about those things when we’re lucky and healthy, but I hope you’re well. I hope something good happens to you today.


Tyler Scruggs is a writer and musician living in Atlanta. When he’s not churning out internet content, he’s paying too much for coffee and buying movie tickets weeks in advance. Feel free to validate him on Twitter (@TylerScruggs), Instagram (@Scruggernaut), and YouTube.