Saturday, November 28, 2009
Making an Ass Out Of You and Me
In any case, when I returned to my computer today, I wanted to remind myself, before posting something new, what was so wonderful about yesterday. There was a new comment, from Mule. In the comment Mule expanded on some things he had hinted at before to me in other comments. He's been a somewhat politically conflicted guy his whole life. He's worked hard, and lived somewhat hard, his whole life. He feels old, but unlike some, as they near their golden years (he's only 57) his perspectives have not hardened into a disinterested apathy. No, his perspectives have grown in their breadth and expanse, to be more and more inclusive of others... Hilariously, he voted for a Democrat, last election, EVEN THOUGH HE'S NEVER TRUSTED DEMOCRATS! Well, Mule, neither have I. But then... don't get me started.
All of the above was lovely to hear and consider. But then Mule spoke about a neighbor he had met when he was invited to dinner with her and and her husband. "Kind decent people. Her husband is away at evenings and I started visiting the wife when her husband works. She told me I was welcome any time. She always gave me delicious food every time I visited. Turkey, cheese, hamburgers, you name it man. She told me a lot about her life. Her husband was appartently an asshole, never made enough money for her. I told her about my wife who left me fifteen years ago for another man. And my children who never visit. This old man sits at home by himself with only a cleaning lady who visits daily. And some friends from my job. So I suggested she should get over to my house now and then and use my swimming pool. She was overjoyed. My house is her house, I told her. We had a hell of a time for a while. I felt twenty years younger and started to putting on weight. We ate a lot, Andy. And drank. It was a true paradise. Then she told me half a year ago they had to move. Why? I asked. Turns out the worthless husband had lost his job. "Alright," I said. This country doesn't protect its citizens. I never thought about it before, but when looking at this beautiful, innocent forty year old woman with long black hair, I felt, what the fuck? I may be turning into a communist or socialist but I will protect my community. I would not accept this. I went over to the husband. He was smoking. I told him right there and then the poor man had a job as a handy man to help me with things. I payed him $1400. More than nothing, the man was in tears as he accepted. You see, Andy, I look after my community." ....continues, "Lately, I realized this country should do the same! People with money should help the poor. Next time it could be me. Or you my friend. We aimed for a shining temple on a hill, but this temple shall include all of us." "Freedom is more than words, don't you think? It's bread and butter, ham on rye."
Well Mule, their are certainly some pessimistic and cynical wags out there somewhere that would merely see in your words the self medication of a good Samaritin. But I believe you discovered grace, and like the Dancing Scrooge, found it somewhat difficult to keep the secret. You opened your home to a stranger, when she showed you an unexpected kindness. And you found, in these simple, pedestrian moments at home... what? swimming, and having a whiskey? a paradise. One that was in you all along. But, man Mule, it's a hard thing to find, without a little help from our friends. I'm so thrilled you shared this with me.
I do not think fiscal conservatism is incompatible with a progressive society. We need not blow our money. The biggest waste in America is, as you said, not money, but real "bread and butter, ham on rye." Our real freedom is the chance to continue, to be free to be loved and to love others. To sit still, or to come away. All of which has been converted by a number of complex factors in modernity, to look like a credit card, or a paycheck. Living from paycheck to paycheck is not only living without proper security to truly be able to see the world around you, but also living through that tiny little porthole called money. And money cannot be spent on the same merits as love. It can purchase ribbons, bows, trophies, and baubles. It can buy a new Macintosh, and be the centerpiece of an evenings admiration by your friends. But, living through paychecks will only bind you tightly to whatever economic system you live under, providing you with no choices whatsoever beyond the purveyors of your appetites. A life lived by the brain stem alone. Fancy.
You can stand still in life. Even clutching your infant, who, I know, it seems like will die the minute you live for anything other than it. But you can stand still. With a bottle for the kid. And consider what you live for, DESPITE your inclinations.
I wont tell any stories about people I have been loved by, and the happiness it brought them to sacrifice for me. And I won't tell you any anecdotes that reflect the thick moorings of my happiness... the old wisdoms are nearly obvious in their ubiquity. It isn't RIGHT to treat people as you want life to treat you... it is basically your only option (should you wish to ever enjoy your dangerous life.) Those who steal from the living, to conjure imaginary kingdoms in their short lives on this planet, are, like it or not, as deserving of my love as the woman with brown hair. The rich are unhappy in the same proportion as the poor. Only love, listening, joy, laughter, and the simple, endless truths of the great wisdoms of the world will ever cut the mustard, for this ham on rye. A dollar is but a promise made by a bank, by comparison. So.... hoard promises, if thats your reality. Or use them, like Mule, to love another, and receive something---- real---- in return.
Would that the eyes of the world be upon you, Mule. But hey, I guess, in a sense, you really had no choice.
That you have made mistakes is the consequence of your suspension between birth and death. That you have loved is the consequence of your discovery of something that ideology could never hope to proffer.
Thank you Mule. I am eager to be a man like you.