I’ve long suspected life was a joke.
It’s a looooong one, and not all of you will find it funny. You might even think the joke is backwards, that the setup is funnier than the punchline – here we are, a species descended from monkeys who came from fish who started out as slime.
Hey Earl, I really hate our boss, he’s a real piece of slime.
Shut up Frank, my ancestor was slime.
Sometimes the joke is more amusing than funny. We live in a world where manufactured idols are flying private jets to the top of the charts while someone charming, likable, and genuine has to dig through trash cans to scrape the bottom – or to use another analogy, to get a seat at the big kid table.
Other times the joke is just depressing. There are scores of men born brown of skin and eye toiling in the fields right now, while the fruits of their labor are sold for more cash than they’ll earn in a lifetime. The laughter becomes a coping mechanism, a way to deal with the fact that life is bleak and unfair and there’s nothing you can or will do to change it. You’re not going to stop eating chocolate, and I’m not going to stop, and we’ll propose to each other with our blood diamonds wearing our sweatshop clothes and texting the news with our electronics crafted by the corpses of suicide jumpers. And everyone will profit save the people who deserve it.
And yet even the cynics can’t take refuge in nihilism, because the joke is life is getting better for everyone, slowly and inexorably, through the power of information and technology. Just the fact that we can spread awareness of the ills of society is a step in the right direction. The fact that a reporter can hand a cocoa bean farmer a Kit-Kat and light up their day is the best thing ever.
It’s also the worst thing ever too, because he’ll likely never taste it again. Like the slime who became a man, evolution is measured by the Byr, and the joke is you can plan for the future all you want, there’s no guarantee it will be there when you arrive. Idealism is winning a war that may never end. And that gives everyone a reason to laugh, because the reality is too painful to cry.
Of all the characters in the mod, I’d say Rumarin is one of the most self-aware. He understands that life is a joke, and that the only thing he has to cope with the horrible, depressing, unfairness of it all is to not take it so seriously. In some ways this makes him a coward, afraid to take a stand. When all you want to do is enjoy yourself and have another laugh, it can come off as indifference.
In some respects though, laughter is what we need. It’s the antidote for having to pick from a pair of toxic choices. It’s a reminder that the results will never make sense, and the only way to live with them is to realize that it’s all a joke. Laugh until it hurts, laugh because it hurts. Laugh because it’s the one thing they can never take away from us.
And so he’ll let you pick a side in the Civil War, kill the dragons, or save this world to doom the next one, and he’ll do it all with a shrug and a smile. At no point does Rumarin concern himself with the results or the numbers. His role is to support you no matter what you choose. He’s there to remind you that regardless of whether your decisions are good, bad, or sad, we’re all just slime in the end.