Author: Tara Mukund
“Imagine a giant slice of cake. Multilayered galore. Now replace all the baked matter with Earthen substance – rock, soil, water, and most importantly, humans. There’s your Anthropocene. Now, what if the Anthropocene were anthropomorphic?”
The TV blares at me as I stand transfixed in front of it. A human-esque Anthropocene? Isn’t that essentially a really (and I mean really) scary faux-human who wants to kill me?
A circular blob, somewhat resembling the Earth, floats onto my TV. It features a rotten version of the globes I’ve seen all my life. There’s a ring of eyes circling the Earth’s axis of rotation.
I think I get it. Anthropocene. Anthropo-cene – scene – seen – vision – eyes.
The eyes start to shift furiously. Each individual one lasts for a second, then cuts to another eye. The new one is sometimes entirely different, other times similar. Many of the eyes remind me of cartoons. I’m pretty confident that I just saw a solitary Sesame Street Cookie Monster eye flash by – b-eye. I also think I saw an Ai-Da eye, but that could just be me projecting.
Why shift? It’s almost impossible to focus, it destroys the personability of the supposed anthropomorphic character before me.
Oh! Anthropomorphic. That’s it. Anthropo-morphic – morphing – metamorphosis – transformation – shift.
Huh, it’s an epoch, humanized.
The TV continues to screech.
“Our state-of-the-art Morcene™ model shifts through every single artificial eye ever placed in the public eye. A perfect blend of anthropomorphism and human creation!”
Public eye. I – eye – chuckle, wondering how the narrator stopped themselves from doing the same. Somehow I’ve wound up fixated, watching an advert for a twisted Library – L-eye-brary – of Babel.
Why so many eyes, though? They could’ve placed a pair of eyes solely on the front. But then again, how would we define ‘front’? As much as we make the Earth anthropomorphic, it’s not going to stop spinning, just as much as it isn’t going to start sprouting tufts of hair on its supposed ‘back’. Makes sense.
I squint at the TV as the eyes spin. They don’t come in pairs, almost out for lonely walks (shifts?). I try to count the number of eyes – multiple times, I must add – and arrive at a reasonable estimate of 20-22.
Oh, it’s our time, our epoch. If each epoch were a globe, the eerie – eye-rie – orb would be ours: the Anthropocene.
“A library of all the eyes comes with your Morcene™! Who wouldn’t want to collect every eye ever? In stores today!”
I wouldn’t want the fiery – f-eye-ry – gaze of the Eye of Sauron anywhere near me, that’s for sure.
The eye-Earth-orb fades away.
I stare at the TV waiting for a PSA to conclude this joke – explaining how we’re destroying our planet, so much so that there’s an entire epoch whose name boils down to ‘age of human impact’. I wait, and I wait, but it doesn’t come.
The Morcene™. It’s real. Up till that point, I probably could’ve been the creator of this sardonic yet serious advert – eye jokes and all. We had the name ‘Anthropocene’, and now we have the model, primped and ready-for-purchase. And yet, we have no large-scale, transnational measures to counteract the harm we’ve done to our planet.
I chuckle again at the memory of the Pillsbury Doughboy’s lone eye finding itself on my TV screen as I stand in line at my local Costco.
My Morcene™? My anthropomorphic Anthropocene? My humanized epoch? It’s now propped on my bedside table. Whether it’s supposed to be a reminder to act, or an object to chuckle at, even I couldn’t say.