Guest Blogger: Mike McLaren – ‘I Wish I Knew’

Of the bazillion things I don’t know, I do know ten things that I think about more than several times a day that I don’t know about people.

I wish I knew all the ways that cause people to feel afraid. Fear, I think, initiates all other harmful emotions in people. Harmful emotions become translated into hurtful actions. If I knew all the ways people feel fear, maybe I could set their fears to rest, which might help people to stop doing hurtful things.

I wish I knew why people place so much value on so many things that have no real value. Beyond earth, air, fire, water, food, shelter, and love, we don’t need anything else. We don’t need Cabbage Patch dolls, Ferraris, rare stones on our fingers, paper umbrellas in our drinks. We need only each other, and all the ways and means that the world provides to keep us alive and together.

I wish I knew why humans use only ten percent of their brain capacity. Perhaps, if we could use at least forty percent more, we wouldn’t be half as stupid as were are now.

I wish I knew why some people think they are better than others, when we’re all made of the same stuff, and will be reduced to just bones buried in the ground.

Our opposable thumbs allow us exclusive physical abilities, and it’s accepted common knowledge that our thumbs are what make us a dominant species. I wish I knew why we think it’s more important to use our thumbs for texting, rather than using our hands to build houses for those in Africa, Indonesia, and elsewhere who desperately need shelter.

I wish I knew why so few people play musical instruments, when we all know that music is a common bond between all of us.

I wish I knew why so many people tout the importance of education, but continue to decrease funding for our schools.

I wish I knew why we assume that we’re the smartest creatures on earth. Slugs have been here almost since when life began. Great white sharks have swum the oceans for more than three hundred fifty-million years. Humans have roamed the planet for only three million years, and it’s looking like we’re getting close to facilitating our own extinction. How smart is that?

I wish I knew where we came from, because I would go back in time and close that door through which we entered this life. Without us, everything else would stand a better chance of survival.

Mostly, though, I wish I knew an Nth about the things I don’t know about people, because if I did, I wouldn’t be so confused.


Mike McLaren is a writer and musician living in the heart of the Oregon Willamette Valley. He has published a book of Arthurian Legends, numerous essays, and more than fifty poems during the past twenty-five years. He currently maintains the blog, Annotated Margins, and is nearly finished with a 120,000-word steampunk novel, and a children’s book, which he illustrated. Mike continues to perform blues throughout Oregon. You can visit his blog at


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