Friday, January 14, 2011
Whoa. Stop. I can’t take any more bad news.
Trouble has come to friends and family in the US, other countries, and here in our building, right up to our doorstep. I hear such sorrowful stories. The shootings in Arizona (and Sarah Palin’s hideous response) are terrible enough. But people I love are struggling with divorce, depression, sudden and not-so-sudden unemployment, medical traumas, and suicide.
Paranoids imagine that the world is conspiring against them. I put a Vegas twist on that: I worry that with such black times descended upon my friends, odds are that I’m next.
Then I swing to an equally instinctive, and selfish, gesture. I realize that some people have Real problems and life can be very, very hard. I think, ‘I should be thankful everyone in my house is okay, is healthy, and, if not always happy, then relatively able to make themselves happier.’
I think, ‘What have I done to deserve my stay of execution?’ I feel guilty. And I decide, ‘I’ll never complain about anything, ever, again until the end of Time.’
Then, an hour later, I find a fly in my soup. ‘Waiter!!’
What is that? Is that a human thing—are we genetically incapable of thanking our lucky stars? Is it a question of brain mass? I’ve always thought that most of us have trouble reconciling different or conflicting ideas. Maybe, as a species, we don’t have enough gray matter to stay grateful for more than five minutes. Because we so quickly start thinking again about all the stuff we don’t have, all the experiences we’ve missed, all the money Bill Gates has, and all the fun those young folks are having on all those reality tv shows. It could be that human beings have always been this way, or it’s possible that those ten percent of us who are blessed enough to have fast Internet connections and no net censorship, and live in middle class houses in Western Europe and the US, are mostly just big fat spoiled 21st century babies.
Ahem. Yeah, that’s possible.
Well, okay, maybe I’ll have to overcome vast societal, economic and technological forces, but Today I’m gonna try to live right and be thankful and have a satisfied mind. I can do this. I will do this.