Last week, Facebook was packed with more old faces than a pre-election coffee morning. As users posted selfies modified to show what they’d look like at 80, the real kicker was the fact that most were shocked at how ugly it all turned out to be… which is insulting to old people, because a lot of those posting didn’t have a great canvas to start with. But why did this trend take off so well in Malta? Probably because we’re all going to die before ever reaching that age.
It’s not pessimism; the island is sending us to an early grave. And with the way we’ve treated it, I ain’t blaming her (and you shouldn’t either).
Once we’re all gone and the rain has washed away the last of the pastizzi grease from literally every surface, Malta will slowly return to its natural and beautiful state. The same state our grandparents try to explain to us every time we visit. The one we use on ads to draw in more tourists (after cropping out the sofa someone left out in the countryside, the one right by the piles of garbage from another family picnic).
But till that reclamation starts, the Maltese get to go about their day, talking to each other in our dust-scratched voices like a national tribute to Christian Bale’s Batman.
Two seconds after getting over his fifth asthma attack while in Malta.
Unsurprisingly, an app that uses weird recognition technology to generate aged images was embroiled in controversy over security issues (shocker! It’s a Russian app that has a clause allowing it irrevocable rights to your photos). But while us millennials have evolved to be outraged over more than one issue at a time, it’s really important that we push past the fear that some Siberian marketing agency might be ogling our nudes, and focus on the fact that without trees on the island, we will all die.
A surprising leap from casual conversations about aging, but this column has never lacked on melodrama.
While writing this and lamenting the loss of one of Malta’s most scenic drives all along Saqqajja Hill (why couldn’t all the trees have been Jesus trees?) a new article surfaced showing mature trees chopped down in Marsamxett for its ’embellishment’ (no, it was not a Bis-Serjeta article).
By the time you read this, another 10 trees may be gone with the sole purpose of making the island a better place.
Reading the daily tree obituary may stir up a renewed source of outrage in you, but clearly you’re the one in the wrong for holding back Malta’s powerful progress to the number one spot on every list available (except oxygen percentage in the air).
Pretty selfish of you really, particularly when you remember that we live on an island that needs to cut down trees; it’s all being run by beavers (the British slang version, of course).
Can I help you!?
At this point, none of us are really sure if the people who make the decisions in this country are completely delusional or actual cartoon villains.
The plan for progress in Malta is literally a page straight out of Saruman’s handbook – cut down the trees, fuel the fires for ‘progress’ and make Uruk Hai while the sun shines. The real problem is that while we’re a Hobbit-sized people, and there’s no walking, talking trees we can convince to go and kick the shit out of those who want to burn everything to the ground.
But cartoon villains require equally banal solutions, so I propose we work hard to create legislation that gives trees a vote. Every single sapling over the age of 18 (whoops! 16 now, that one came back to bite real quick) should have the legal right to vote. That way, one quick axe in some Lija backyard won’t be felt, but we all know that once thousands are gone (and we’ve hit that number of trees lost in 2019 alone), those in power may finally start to listen.
Also, trees will probably vote faster than the people I’m usually stuck behind come election day.