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The Devil's Playground

Sat, Dec 01, 2001 1:37PM -0600

Idle hands are the devil's playground.

Why am I getting inured in these useless fantasies, these hopeless ideas of "happily ever after" when I know that "the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep." (Thank you Kenny Rogers. Oh man, here we go: "Every hand's a winner, and every hand's a loser.... You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run...." Erk. Enough of that.)

Seriously though, there is still a small child-like part of my consciousness that believes things will work out for the best, that things will truly get better, and that someday, somewhere, I will reach the Land of Milk and Honey, the Promised Land, Nirvana, the Great Valley, whatever you want to call it.

The thing is, if I step away for a moment, zoom out and pan, look at things reasonable, try to synthesize my experiences and all the experiences of people I've met and of people I've read about, I realize it is so not true. Things don't just magically work out with the wave of a fairy's wand. There is always some banging of the head against the wall, sleepless nights, tears shed, heartache, utter desperation, and other intense emotions that I'm not sure I ever want to experience again, whether or not it works out in the end. And if I'm not willing to pay the price, then I sure as hell will never gain admission, so I'm kind of in one of those classic existential binds: stay out here in limbo and feel nothing, or go right in there and get my heart ripped out of my chest.

But I have sort of decided, in my usual roundabout way, that I do not want to live life as if the clock were ticking, as if a race were being run. So I do not believe in split-second decisions, subterfuge, snapping up advantages when I get the chance, sabotage, and basically just sacrificing everything else I like about my life just to get what I want. Wanting is just so much of a sham (which is, by the way, the veritable, despicable core of capitalism, exactly what makes advertising and marketing work so well, but that's another story entirely.)

The key to life is not to get what you want, but to want what you get.

So what's it gonna be. Food. Shelter. Clothing. In that order. Everything else is luxury, and more to the point, distraction. Samsara. I've known this for a while, it's just getting myself to believe it that is the great battle.

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