The first sentence can define your entire story. And in this story I’ve been sentenced to Earth. You too? Yeah, I figured as much – why else would you be reading this? What are you in for? Were you caught reading too many rhetorical questions in a story about the unbearable hypocrisy of being? Don’t answer that. It’s a trap. Life is like that sometimes. It can be a weird version of one of those horror movies where, after chasing their tales for 30 minutes, the “authorities” finally discover the teenage babysitter is in great danger and give her a last second warning over the phone: “Ma’am. Get out of your body right now! Leave your body immediately. We’ve discovered all those stupid ideas you’ve been getting…they’re coming from inside your head!”
These sentences, whether parts of speech or parts of a punishment, give you some idea of what you’re up against both in reading this story and in living your life here on earth. You remember earth; our little juvenile detention center where we’re all serving a life sentence for a crime we never committed. No weekend passes to Nirvana, no atta-boy furloughs to Shangri-la, and no explanation about why the hell we’re all here in the first place. It’s as if the owner’s manual was tossed out with the placenta. And we serve this sentence in a jail cell that holds us in place through the diabolical simplicity of gravity. We are all literally pressed down into place against the crust of a planet that has only grown crustier over the years.
In the most peculiar of dichotomies, we’re held in solitary confinement on our lone planet and yet we’re free to roam all over our global exercise yard with the rest of the inmates. In fact we’re actually forced to fraternize with them. Especially if we want to get anything done. For example, I’d never know the many joys of bacon unless other people were willing to raise, butcher and shrink wrap our friend, the pig. Thank you Oscar-Mayer. I mean I’ll bring home the bacon alright, but only if Oscar-Mayer does the dirty work.
Our earthly penal colony doesn’t so much demand hard labor as it promotes existential dilemmas. For example, the people on earth aren’t even from earth. I’m told the men are from Mars and the women are from Venus. What an expense, not to mention the carbon footprint in shipping these genders across the solar system. Do you realize this makes us all undocumented aliens who usurped this land from its native inhabitants? Sorry Mr. Stegosaurus because we’re running this show now. You get to live on your little sanctuary in Jurassic Park while we watch our Netflix and enjoy our self-adhesive stamps. Thank you Mr. Post Office. Because of your thoughtfulness, we only have to lick what we choose to lick. Although some of my favorite sexual maneuvers are also some of my favorite carpentry techniques such as: the tongue and groove, and for a really tight fit there is the always popular dovetail joint. Those in the LGBT community may prefer other methods like their post and lentil system or the tang and clevis joint and be it far from me to tell anyone how they should nail their partners.
But I’ll spare you the rat-a-tat woe of a hard-boiled jailbird doing life far from his home planet with no chance of parole. Instead I’ll lighten up this unbearable hypocrisy of being by doing what I do best – writing. If you’re angry that gravity is bringing you down, get over it. It’s supposed to. Thank you Sir Isaac Newton.
I’ll stipulate we’re all thrown into this planetary correctional institution together: judges, juries, guards, inmates and lawyers – especially the lawyers, whom many see as the real crooks here with their so-called billable hours (over 2000 a year – really?). In other dimensions, where everything is self-evidently transparent, there is no need for lawyers because no one lies. No one has to. There’s nothing to protect. In the heavenly worlds there is no need for words like envy, anger, botulism and even premature ejaculation. Earth is doing the best it can with the tools it has been given, and like any worthy correctional institute it’s all about rehabilitation and not punishment. This is not some godless penal colony. It’s an “id gone wild” penal colony. I seem to be saying “penal colony” a lot. A penal colony is like a gulag, but with better food. And if you’ve ever eaten Hungarian Gulag you know what I’m talking about (that doesn’t even make sense but funny is funny). Oh, the unbearable hypocrisy of being. In any event we might as well make the best of it as we try to figure our way back into polite society (read: God’s embrace) because it doesn’t matter what your credit score is or how many Jeopardy questions you can answer; ya ain’t getting’ out till yer sentence is served.
OK, Let’s All Exhale Shall We
Now on the lighter side of analogizing the human predicament, Shakespeare offers this sunny quote from his play “As You Like It”: All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. This is much more upbeat, as I prefer my life take place in a lively theater rather than a dreary prison. This is a refreshing and buoyant perspective – especially if you’re a believable actor who’s scored a really plush dressing room filled with Dom Perignon and Ghirardelli Chocolate. If you can’t afford Dom Perignon you can always downgrade to Vinnie Perignon and maybe some Hershey’s Chocolate. And that’s the key isn’t it? To be well-born with a modicum of talent and maybe a fistful of gift cards. Who wants to be birthed into a shanty town, sleeping on a prayer rug asses to elbows with half-brothers and stepparents while you wonder if maybe a career in suicide bombing isn’t a bad option after all? In real estate the key is location, location, location. In life it’s circumstance, circumstance, circumstance.
I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of self-absorbed discourses like this written by sunken-eyed casualties of circumstance located in forsaken refugee camps or dingy homeless shelters. The condition of these unfortunate souls allows for little leisure time to ruminate on the unbearable hypocrisy of being. To them it’s not an unbearable hypocrisy. It’s just Tuesday. Sometimes being born a white male in America can obviate a whole lotta misery. Of course I recognize this apparent “luck of the draw” is beyond unfair, but what am I supposed to do? – self-identify as a penniless sharecropper so I can feel their pain too? Compassion can be understood without being experienced (I hope). After all, as Shakespeare so tellingly indicated, I’m merely a player. I didn’t ask to be born into these circumstances – I begged. Thank you Mr. Happenstance.
We seem to be unable to unionize or strike for better working conditions. If only God charged for Free Will. Just a little bit. It might give everyone pause for thought before they behaved abominably. “Hmmm, You mean it’s gonna cost me to fly this plane into that building? In that case I’m out.”
Facing Facts. Or at Least Glancing at Them
We are living in a redacted world. A world deliberately redacted by God’s intellectual property lawyers; or as they’re more commonly called – angels. All the good stuff we really want to know about has been blacked-out like a court document whereby all the juicy material is lined out leaving an incoherent mish-mash of pronouns, conjunctions and prepositions. Hiding something only makes me more curious about its absence. I want to know what’s behind it all. I mean as off the charts as orgasms are, I have to believe the workshop that produced this unearned splendor is capable of creating exponentially superior experiences. And as tantalizing and mysterious as the origin of orgasms may be, for now this below-the-waist sneeze is nothing more than the proverbial bone we’ve been thrown so we keep paying attention. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking orgasm. No way. No how. It got me through adolescence. It’s the best antidote to depression ever created, but doctors never seem to prescribe it – “Take one orgasm once or twice daily as needed until a permanent sh*t-eating grin appears on face.”
I suggest that if God can bestow something as shudderingly ecstatic as orgasm upon his creatures, he can probably do a lot more. A whole lot more. At this juncture however, table scraps are all we get from our dear Lord and yet somehow we’re still praying to this guy. I don’t get it. There’s so much we either can’t see or aren’t allowed to see without access to the secret decoder ring which, of course, is sold separately from the human game piece we occupy. So big deal. I’m a little depressed about my lack of awareness. That’s OK. I’ve got a go-to antidote.
I’m Back Now and You Should See the Expression on My Face
I know. TMI. Instead of actual firsthand knowledge we have to content ourselves with speculation on why the universe is so big and the human mind so small. And yet Beethoven conceived of incredible symphonies while being mostly deaf. And Shakespeare wrote all those exquisite plays while speaking a Middle English version of Ebonics. Although we wonder how anyone in their right mind could believe for an instant the Earth is flat, we recognize that the operative word here is “mind.” The mind is both powerful and fallible – a great servant but a poor master. And while we are vaguely aware God’s glories are right there on the shelf next to the Rice Krispy Treats (oh, you do too!), we discover that when we reach for these glories, they grow ever more distant like some sort of bizarre “inverse square” relationship whereby if we try twice as hard to reach them they become 4 times as distant. It seems you have to perfume yourself with serenity, to attract the Holy Ghost. And, as we’ve seen, even then all you’re going to get is maybe a “Boo!” out of it.
Dear Reader: I’ll never lie to you. This reference to “Boo” in the previous sentence is now out of order. You’ll notice the “as we’ve seen” bit referencing “Boo”, hasn’t been seen yet. That’s because this paragraph originally came much later, near the end of this essay, well after I’d already made a reference to the “Holy Ghost” and “Boo.” I highlight this trivial chronological blunder because it is a fitting illustration of the unbearable hypocrisy of being – a case of Art imitating life. Although since my name is not Art, more correctly it should be phrased, “a case of Dave imitating life.”
Alright. I admit it. I’m rambling. But it’s no worse indulgence than practiced in The Bible or The New Yorker.
There are certain characteristics associated with crazed gunmen. They’re usually men. They’re often alienated, lonely and feel oppressed by a lifetime of indignation heaped on them by an ignorant public. And while I recognize these malevolent characteristics are pervasive in modern villainy, the good news is that I don’t possess any of them. Well almost none of them. These nut jobs usually leave some kind of incoherent written explanation as to what drove them to commit such infamous acts. And when authorities eventually find their written justification, they invariably refer to it as a “rambling manifesto.” How many times have we a heard a TV reporter say, “Authorities say, the perpetrator left a 40 page rambling manifesto describing his motivations.” OK. So big deal. Mine comes in at only 8 pages.
So I share one thing with these nut cases. We both like to write rambling manifestos describing how we arrived at the state we’re in. The difference is theirs is creepy. Of course mine might be a little creepy too, but at least it has jokes in it. And so far at least, my rambling manifesto contains ideas about God, orgasms and penal colonies. These whack jobs ramble on about ethnic cleansing and bringing Jefferson Davis back to life. I reject these intolerant fanaticisms. I mean let’s work on bringing Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein back to life before we ever consider Jefferson Davis.
The Love Boat
To elevate this essay to the status of a “rambling manifesto” I’ve got work to do. I must include every thought I could possibly wring out of my weary yet hyperactive brain. Weary because it’s 5 a.m. and hyperactive because my brain always wants to come out to play. In fact I write this screed in my cabin at 5:00 a.m. while located some 30 miles off the shore of British Columbia bouncing my way in heavy seas to Alaska on Princess Cruise Line’s ship Maiden of the Choppy Seas? Oh, I’m alive on the planet alright, sailing to Alaska in a sine curve. I’ve no other options right now and must continue writing – at least until breakfast is served at 7 a.m. I’m literally at sea on the Love Boat. Nothing new there. I’m often accused of being “at sea.” The Love Boat is exciting and new – if you call being sleeplessly jostled by 20 foot swells from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. exciting and new. I called the bridge and complained to the Italian Captain about the disruptive up and down pitching of the ship. Captain Nicoló Bommarco listened carefully and explained, “Don’t a-worry sir. Everything is just a-swell.”
“No Captain Bommarco. Things are not swell,” I countered.
“No Mr. David,” he assured me. “It’s just a swell. You know, like the gentle wave.”
The ship may be heaving, but thankfully I’m not. However I do feel like I‘ve been porpoising for about 5 hours. It’s keeping me up. Then down. Then up again. If this continues much longer I get the feeling some entrepreneur is going to start a company to go Dave-Watching.
And now this essay will receive the brunt of my surfacing. What else am I supposed to do all alone on the high seas with no Internet Service, no phone service and not wanting to rouse my wife from sleep again to sheepishly ask her, “Are you awake hun?” I’ve tried focusing on my book, but it’s some rambling manifesto about a guy who tries to outthink God. No wait. That’s wrong. I’ve just been rereading this essay. I tell you this hypocrisy is just unbearable. I owe you this much: to present you with a rambling manifesto of poorly organized, scattershot ideas on the original topic of the unbearable hypocrisy of being. I’d like to present you with a cogent manifesto of highly organized, lucid ideas, but I won’t because there’s nothing unbearable or hypocritical about a well written manifesto and I want this one to remain true to its intention – to expose the unbearable hypocrisy of being. I hope to reveal the gravity of forces that distort our happy spirits while pressing our noses to its warped reality.
I believe that actually kind of makes sense now, doesn’t it? This little essay is truly all mixed up with the incredible hypocrisy of being. My inability to pluck from the world a coherent all-sustaining message that reflects an unshakable truth is galling. I want nothing more than to bask in timeless well-being. At times I’ve even achieved it, but at some point it evanesced. I did nothing to lose the immense gratification I once felt, but nonetheless it’s gone and I feel I’m playing catch-up while the sands of time run out on me – not to mention certain urological issues which can piss me off. On my last doctor visit he asked, “David, are you incontinent?” To which I responded, “Depends!”
Life’s moments of clarity are overwhelmed by demands on our attentions. It’s both unbearable and hypocritical – that we should possess for fleeting moments, complete satisfaction, only to find it sadly eroded when we start thinking about bacon. And it’s not just bacon either. We can be sidetracked by any number of breakfast meats. <cruise ship comes crashing down into a swell> Jesus Christ, when does breakfast start around here? I wonder if my wife is awake yet. Maybe I should wake her up and find out. I have built up a ton of good husband points this trip and if I don’t spend them now, when will I? I mean my good husband points will fade away too. It’s not like I can leave them to the Audubon Society or something. What are they going to do with my Good Will? They want money, even though they say money is for the birds. Of course it’s for the birds. But I’m rambling now. Or am I just digressing. Maybe I better wake my wife and let her decide. She’s probably just been pretending to be asleep – for the last 6 hours. I should probably check to make sure.
Nope. Bad idea. She was definitely asleep and let me know she was still sleeping and that however many good behavior points I’d earned on this cruise they’ve not only been spent, but now I owe her. Wow. How fast fortunes change. I was riding high 15 minutes ago (at least 20’ higher). And now look at me. I’m in a deep trough and (as my Italian captain says) that’s just a-swell. Oh curse this unbearable hypocrisy of being. Will daybreak ever get here? Will breakfast ever be served? Can I get in my wife’s good graces again? But seriously, I find this cruise to be very relaxing; when compared to being spun in a centrifuge. Some of the passengers are feeling poorly. So poorly in fact that many have been confined to the Sick Bay or as it’s fast becoming known – the Poop Deck.
Bonus Material (or what my editor said I should’ve cut)
However privileged the good fortune of my circumstances appear to be, I sometimes feel I’m living a director’s cut version of my life. The Big Picture is there, but there’s also plenty of deleted scenes, bloopers and standing around waiting for someone to yell, “Action.” Meanwhile life is what’s happening to me while I’m busy making other plans (or writing rambling manifestos). I was hoping for a starring role – especially in my own life. I need to find a better agent or a better script. I’m doing OK. My plain, but comfortable dressing room is outfitted with some bean bag chairs and enough Snapple and Cheez-its to last a lifetime. My agent could’ve done worse. At least I don’t work in a homeless shelter for battered fish (also known as a seafood restaurant). Thank you William Morris Agency.
It has been often said we are spirits in the material world (mostly by Sting I think). Occasionally though we break on through to the other side (said mostly by Jim Morrison I think). And as such I had one of those incredibly moving lucid dreams where I was illuminated by a thousand suns and the majestic Holy Ghost advanced toward me in an awesome display of undying love. I was becoming one with all creation. From a heretofore untapped area deep within I understood that this blessed spiritual apparition was going to bestow upon me the secret of the universe once and for all. The Holy Ghost slowly embraced me as I prepared to absorb its sacred message. It then bent down and whispered in my ear “Boo!”
“Boo?” I said. “That’s it?”
“Well, what else would you expect? Even though I’m a little Holy, I’m still a Ghost.” it explained. <this 2nd reference to “Boo” should’ve come after this initial mention. These chronological inconsistencies are just unbearable – and easily correctable. And this makes them even more unbearable. >
It’s Fun Not Understanding Things.
We can put the world right sometimes, but it won’t stay right. As overstated already, germane pathways and nourishing notions that serve to dispel hypocrisy are blacked out or obfuscated as to make them unrecognizable – similarly to how rap music camouflages the essence of real music or how religions resemble something that may indicate a pathway to greater self-awareness. It’s probably unfair to place religion and rap music in the same sentence since one seems to be openly hostile to God and the other is just plain bad music.
The trail of crumbs leading to the vault of God has been eaten by scavengers who didn’t know any better. Consequently many of us have lost our way. We’ve been forced to improvise to find our true nature: devising religions to provide spiritual structure, posting on Facebook as if we’re telling God something he doesn’t already know, or playing solitaire till our need for order is satisfied. But it’s never enough. It all fades away. It’s not essence-y enough. These distractions merely provide temporary relief from the unbearable hypocrisy of being. Thank you Mr. Duality.
Then it Gets Kind of Turned in on Itself
The unbearable hypocrisy of being is borne out in many ways. Some magisterial, others, like the foregoing, more quotidian. It is generally understood we are waylaid by a firehose of consumer choice. Take cough syrup. Do we really need 8 different kinds of Robitussin cough syrup for one cough? The Robitussin people say, “Of cough we do.” Robitussin people? Really Dave?
Is it a good thing you can walk into any 7-11 and ride out with The 4 Slurpees of the Apocalypse? Probably not. Let us note with great sorrow how the mortuary industry now sells coffins with cup holders when they’d be better off throwing in a couple hundred of those little desiccating packets you find in the pockets of new clothing. This way the dearly departed peaceably dehydrates into a Slim Jim, instead of noxiously pooling into a Slurpee – either of which are available at your local 7-11. Robitussin people? Really?
In another part of the world, many miles away, someone is reminded of the unthinking salesman who encourages us to, “Have a great weekend,” even though it’s Tuesday. And in keeping with the peculiar synchronicity evident in the interstices of this essay, I’ll mention my next door neighbor who, for reasons redacted, feels compelled to smoke a cigarette whenever my wife and I finish having sex. How does she even know what goes on in our bedroom? I mean besides the webcam.
And since I’m all about the truth here, when I say “my wife and I finish having sex”, I of course mean “when I finish having sex.”
All Right. I Admit it. I’m in Full Rant Mode.
The following list of disconnected, spit on the griddle ideas further reflects the unbearable hypocrisy of being. The list is funny, a little impenetrable and certainly a welcomed palette cleanser to some of the more brooding passages you’ve plowed through to this point. But ultimately, like so many of life’s experiences, it’s just another diversion that gets you nowhere and will soon be forgotten.
- And from the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence department: I have one thing to say to Rick Springfield: I’ve had Jesse’s girl – and let me tell you, it wasn’t so hot. Be careful what you wish for Rick.
- Instead of truth we get bullsh*t irony, as in: The psychic florist said to his susceptible customer, “The fuchsia is here.”
- My secretary nearly drowned in the stenographer pool. She would’ve gotten out sooner if she imply used the “Undo” key, but she’s old school and still uses a typewriter.
- I just hope my God is more than just another data aggregator and can answer the big questions like how the TV remote can disappear when I haven’t moved from the couch and I just used it 30 seconds ago. Did God briefly send the remote into another dimension so he and his staff can have a laugh watching me hunt for it in disbelief?
- Bowel movements can be very significant events. And yet some bowel movements don’t mean sh*t.
- Y’know how companies bring back to the marketplace formerly obsolete gadgets/items like high-end retro turntables for vinyl records or analog clocks in cars? That’s not going to happen with typewriters or AMC Pacers.
- He’s weird. He’s got a Pandora station that plays nothing but National Anthems.
I’m tired of all this psychobabble doublespeak. This verbal confetti. This strutting farrago of pin prick epiphanies masquerading as some kind of apologetic hipster truth. I’m tired of it. I mean I’m tired of it, but you shouldn’t be. Truth be told (as opposed to being “untold”) some of this is entertaining and provocative stuff. However, opinions being what they are, others may feel this essay represents the anti-Snickers – it really doesn’t satisfy. But its dual interpretations (and there are, of course, more than two interpretations) beg the question: Why can’t one thing (in this case, this essay) have one meaning? Not that it has to have one meaning, but that it would only need one meaning. I’m not talking fascism or mandatory reeducation camps. I’m talking about what Lennon refers to in “Imagine” or other preposterously Utopian sentiments expressed by countless others. This non-dualistic, unspeakable beauty I allude to is not to be found per se in this fractious world, but it does exist and knowing that and seeing this makes my heart sink. It’s just compounds the unbearable hypocrisy of being.
Who’s Looking Out for You (Jesus help me, I sound like Bill O’Reilly)?
Momentary “holes-in-the-universe” moments (like the previous paragraph purports to be) lend credence to the sloppy existence, the frayed wires of Hades lashing out like snakes from a chaotic underworld. We have the unimaginable pulsating beneath us, just one delicate click below this observational universe we call reality and here we sit secretly wondering, how could Christ, Newton, Gutenberg, Edison, Einstein and other historic luminaries be so great if they never owned a cell phone. I’ve got 5 bars right now. They had none. Heck Newton never even knew about cup holders in minivans nor did Christ ever use a Dyson AirBlade to hygienically squeegee the water from his hands after using the public restroom in Judea. How do you respect people that never ate Cheez-Its (Einstein might have) or lost a TV remote?
We’ve been allowed to play in the shallow end for so long and so repetitively we’ve forgotten there is a deep end. And yet we pray to a non-interventionist and beneficent God we created so we may imbue this bewildering Earthly ruse with a sense of meaning. For our own sanity we observe some corrupt kind of Gentleman’s Club etiquette whereby we pretend to appreciate the pole dancer’s feminine attributes while all the while we really just want to penetrate her. Same with God – we pray to his forms, appreciate his creation and observe a certain patient piety all the while we just want to penetrate his divine realm and merge with it. Then we can look back at our once measly existence from his empyrean splendor.
I wouldn’t mind being prayed to for all the riches I beheld. Of course if I possessed what God did I’d dispense it to earthlings in real and understandable miracles and not just orchestra seats to “The Book of Mormon” or benign tumors so we feel grateful we get to live. I guess that’s why I’m not a god. I don’t get it. Instead I just experience the unbearable hypocrisy of being and write about it with all the letters and syllables I can muster. It’s a bit like the Stockholm Syndrome where we’ve come to love and praise a God that keeps us pinned here with the gravity of the situation.
In an Effort to be All over the Place
I don’t pretend to speak for God. I let other pretenders do this for me. And while not a promoter of religion by any means, I feel sorry for the atheist who, while witnessing miracles like self-awareness, Einsteinian Relativity and Quarter Pounders with cheese, smugly folds his arms and pronounces, “God is not only dead, he never lived.” In his world these miracles can all be explained away due to familiarity and proximity. I wonder how he explains away orgasm. Do Atheists realize that in the higher realms of heaven there is no distinction between male and female and that this makes designing clothes and building restrooms a lot less expensive? Probably not. They never consider it. Virtually no one besides me does. Atheists view death as an endpoint. Won’t they be surprised when that temporary vessel known as the body stops working and they find themselves not extinguished, not worm food and decidedly someplace they’ve never dreamed of – except they have dreamed of it and that my friend is the unbearable hypocrisy of being.
Please note: The use of the word friend in the previous sentence is a literary expedient and employed in a manner to unwittingly cajole the reader into a comfort zone whereby you chummily buy into my point of view. And yet most of you are not my friends and definitely wouldn’t be if you saw just a fraction of the unhealthy things I’ve done in buffet lines. However if we recognize that in the deep end of the pool we’re all mightily connected in indescribably rich and tortuously beautiful ways – the way you’ve always hoped it would be – suddenly the turbulent smorgasbord of life transforms itself into a festive tropical buffet featuring low-hanging protective sneeze guards and sanitizing Purell stations for everyone.
And this is Not My Point Either. However…
We try to promote a polite society and yet at this moment thousands of “Compact Only” parking spaces are filled with oversized SUVs. I don’t see how we solve global warming or nuclear proliferation before we fully address all these size 9 cars parked in size 5 stalls. Compounding this societal blight are the millions of handicapped parking spaces throughout this great land that remain unfilled by our infirm brethren’s cars thereby inconveniencing the able-bodied who nonetheless dutifully accept the vast swaths of unoccupied asphalt reserved for our differently advantaged comrades.
Occasionally though we find handicapped spots filled by a guy in a monster truck. We see him alight from his Manasaurus with the slightest of limps. His tattooed arms and silvery wallet chain attached to his belt loop leads one to believe he acquired his handicapped placard (and the possibly feigned limp) defending our “Way of Life” in some distant Middle Eastern theater thereby qualifying for this conveniencing perk. I think he’s faking it, but I decide to give him a pass due to some kind of leather-sheathed weapon and other indeterminate items attached to his ammo belt.
But God forbid an elderly blue-haired lady forgets to hang her well-earned handicapped placard on the rearview mirror of her 1993 Buick LeSabre with 17,000 miles on it as she shuffles her way into a CVS Pharmacy. She’ll know about it by gum. She’ll experience my full wrath and I’ll make sure she gets the frowning of a lifetime so she feels maximum shame for her carelessness. I like to think of myself as tough, but fair. I’m not, but I like to think of myself that way.
Sometimes I think city planners secret themselves behind closed doors and plot against us: “OK. Let’s make sure the 100 best parking places around the new Costco go unused so people can feel grateful they have all their limbs when buying a 52-gallon drum of Tylenol or a 180 lb. sack of Bisquick. It will develop compassion in our citizenry and provide them with some much needed exercise. I mean have you seen the size of some of the cows that go in there? We’re doing them a favor. So while I know the law only calls for 10 handicapped spaces to be reserved – I say we bump it up to 100. All agreed say ‘Aye.’ All opposed rotate heads 360°. Nobody? OK, good. The measure passes unanimously.”
And in keeping with the theme of this chapter heading; yes I would happily walk an extra 50 yards, past a mocking expanse of perfectly vacant pavement if I could remain healthy and ambulatory. Hell I’d crawl to the store like a low-silhouetted soldier if it meant enjoying the continued use of my limbs. Providing accommodations like close-in parking spaces for less fortunate souls is a hallmark of a compassionate society that takes care of its opportunists i.e., those who carry a government-subsidized motor scooter suspended from the back of a brand new Chrysler minivan purchased with a Workmen’s Comp settlement package from the state of California for job-related exposure to “really bad workplace vibes.”
The previous exaggerated example of a good thing gone bad is one thing, but let me see just one 9 year old little girl with profound cerebral palsy lowered to the ground in her wheelchair by her loving and sacrificing mother, so they can go into WalMart and buy her a god-damned Little Mermaid doll to satisfy her yearning desires (most of which will go unmet)’ and I burst into tears wishing I could crawl 100 miles to the store if I could only heal that innocent little girl’s ravaged body. Suddenly the unbearable hypocrisy of being becomes quite singular and all my bullsht snarkiness dissolves into a sea of ready compassion. Such is life – for some. Not everyone has this capacity. Nazis, sociopaths and hedge fund operators are able to sink below their humanity in animating their darkest angels. Life can be so many things in one day or even in one paragraph. Lord keep me in the shallow end of the pool and pass the sunscreen.
I don’t know if this attempt at illuminating something means anything. Maybe it’s just the words talking. I did have a lot of them for breakfast this morning – along with some poached ideas and the usual shredded syntax. Many writers enjoy a serving of parsed sentences, but I don’t like to mince my words so I just tell it like it is. For example I think Southerners who are sticklers for proper English should be called Grammar Crackers.
Solace in the Strangest of Places
Watching Major League baseball games narcotize me and provide me a slow-burn measure of satisfaction on par with reading a good book. Baseball’s soothing and unerring sensibility helps keep me safely in the shallow end of the pool and eradicates any qualms I might have about the big, scary universe rumbling ‘neath my awareness. Thank you Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and, to a lesser extent, Bucky Dent. I don’t care that they make millions playing a boy’s game most of us would play for free. In fact I appreciate that ballplayers don’t seem to care one splinter about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
In spite of baseball’s comforting effects, life can still get very fraught. But it all works out. It has to and it does. Do not despair ever. Ever. Horror may momentarily be all you know, but you are so much more than what you know. At least that’s what it said in a Bazooka Joe comic I read recently. How else would I have the surety to pontificate like this?
And as we make our way to the end of this ummm, uh, this written thing, I realize I don’t have an exit strategy. But my time is up, so I’ll just rework my entrance strategy and state: The last sentence can define your entire story. So it should probably be done with éclat (or some other French term with an accented e – like éffort).
You know the greatest sages of the world didn’t have any answers either. That’s why they spoke in parables, symbols, and analogies. They didn’t know either. Well maybe they did know, but they certainly couldn’t impress it upon our feeble ability to understand it. We demand a superb and portable truth that makes sense from top to bottom – both dimensions. Yup, the full two dimensions of our thinking. And that’s the problem for the seeker; they know there’s a world of unmitigated beauty in other dimensions, but there’s no way to easily access it. Gravity is keeping us down. It’s supposed to. Oh this hypocrisy, it’s just unbearable.
I tried to think of everything in this rambling manifesto on the unbearable hypocrisy of being, and to an extent, maybe I even succeeded. However thought will only take you so far. I still missed the larger point. I always do. I can’t put it into words. I try to see around the corners and use my intuition as well as my lucid reasoning (both dimensions – wow) and it never wholly provides an answer. I don’t know how I can express this next bane of human existence without sounding like a 4 year old, but I’ll say it anyway: We think we’re so smart, but we’re not. Clearly something transcendent, other-worldly and beyond human comprehension is happening here. And I touch on this in my next essay: The Bearable Clarity of Fuzziness.