Friday, December 26, 2008

"Best of," cont'd: The Whole Thing

From 6/06/07

Regarding the whole thing. No one can see the whole thing. No one can deal with it. And no one can resist its gravity, its all-subsuming surface, its termite-tenting of reality, a GPS system for every point, in a word, the whole thing, the entire enchilada, the whole ball of wax, the sum of everything as it lies crushingly upon our shoulders.

I imagine it as a great ball of dirty dough rolling and bouncing over an old dirt road through a green valley. Everything it touches sticks to it and subsequently becomes part of the revolving show, much like the wheel of fortune about which Boethius wrote in his Consolation of Philosophy And everything that sticks to the dough can ride along for a spell or be plastered back on the road or thrown out to the fields.

I used to think that the reason I wasn't more successful in managing the whole thing was that I wasn't rich or famous enough to afford help with the whole thing.

Celebrities of every stripe have managers, maids, valets, lawyers, accountants, trainers and more, so I reasoned, to manage the whole thing for them with little supervision. Thus I lived in hope of becoming a celebrity to better deal with the whole thing. But each time I approached the cusp of fame I was so worn out from the swim that I missed the boat.

When I saw Whitney Houston looking like a Holocaust survivor in the tabloids, I realized that life can become unmanageable even for celebrities! Imagine that. (I do think Whitney would be well-served to hire a new drug counselor, one not afraid to slap the bitch around!).

Let us admit that not even a celebrity with support troops can manage the whole thing. The thing is--it's just too--too too too--gigantic to approach, this nightmare of a dough ball thundering through your green valley like a pale head.

Even with a personal trainer, you have to do the exercises. You have to decide what shade of white you want your teeth. Someone can shop for you, someone can dress you, but no one can sleep for you. And it's precisely in these unprotected moments that the whole thing comes to smash you and hoist you above like flattened gum on its sticky, inexhaustible surface.

There is no escaping the whole thing. The whole thing doesn't care if you have a personal trainer. The whole thing can make you fat if it wants to. We are talking about the very elemental forces of nature.

All matter, including sentient beings, is subject to the whole thing. And just when you reach the top of the spinning sphere with your beautiful wife and wonderful job and a ranch style house and 1.5 children, down you go. The whole thing will cram a Mercedes down your throat and a mortgage up your ass at the worst possible moment. As for children, there’s always leukemia. The wife? She can have an affair with your boss. If you're the boss, she can always have an affair with your secretary. The whole thing, the giant turning sphere of sticky dough that supersedes our most cherished plans is always there, ready to turn our existence inside out at a moment’s notice. It has and will.

There is no protection from the whole thing. Psychiatric medications may smooth out the gut-fluttering ride, but they can't protect you from being stuck in the dough and whirled about.

Occasionally the whole thing will drop you on the road and you feel a strange relief in getting off the randomly revolving spherical insanity without getting lost in the adjoining fields, where your inconsequentiality, as in death, will torture you and tempt you back to the unendurable ride. Trust me, this won't last: this is the whole thing psyching you up into a lack of caution before it swallows you again, plasters you to its surface, and takes you down the valley to the next dumping point, where contentment briefly threatens but ultimately eludes.

There is no escape from the whole thing.

Good luck with it!


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