A semi-personal reflection on the present...
Part 2 of a “feature within a feature”.
Time runs out
No matter how much of it you have, no matter how hard you try to give it structure and order and meaning, time runs out. However cluttered or empty your to do list, how early or late you start, eventually... time calls you a fucking idiot.
It’s not that time waits for no man, it’s that time mocks man. For the atheist, time is God... a deity without pleasing... taking from him everything until that day when either God or time, depending on your view, takes from you that last, most precious thing... the rest of your time. For the true believer, time is the Devil... the adversary of their souls... opposing every righteous plan until that day when time or God, depending on your view, takes from you that last, most precious thing... the rest of your time.
But in the end, the atheist and the true believer are left to lie down in the same dirt together, each ultimately sharing the other’s fate. Because in the end, and having been both... I know that they, whether they accept it or not... are both the same.
Who wants more than the man with nothing? Yeah, a real Zen riddle. Who wants more? Maybe it’s the man with everything.
The man with little tends to see only what’s in front of him... next meal, next beer, next crap. His desires are as simple as his needs... a place to live, food to eat, and the means with which to have them. It’s only when he has the options of choice that things complicate, and the clutter of his own mind begins to slow his ability to respond to the most rudimentary questions, like, “Do I wear the black shirt or the white?” and, "Do I have sausage or bacon with my toast and jam?” Screw the real questions that could be asked and answered with all the energy wasted on thoughts of Cheerios vs. Frosted Flakes, Chevron vs. Shell, or Twitter vs. Facebook. Life is graded pass/fail for no other reason than so few of its students could afford the tuition, so most of us just drop out with the hope to one day get our GED.
The man with everything, having everything to lose, can’t afford the one luxury of the one thing he cannot buy... the time for looking back. Because to maintain all that he has acquired, the man with everything can only move forward, always... like the shark he has become. To “…swim, and eat, and make little sharks” is the limit of his life. And the irony that attached itself to him like the remora on the shark’s back is that if he stops moving forward, like the shark, he will die.
The man with nothing, changes. Not the nothing of living in a cardboard box and eating used burgers from a dumpster... but the nothing of a bled-out soul. As in a, “…the only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open” kind of nothing. Unable to look forward, because you’re not yet done being emptied of the sludge that passes for blood in your veins... Unable to look back, because that part of your life is dead, and has begun to smell like three-day road kill in the breakdown lane of the I-5 between Bakersfield and Fresno.
And because of this, you wait… with your eyes fixed on the wounds that you pray will free you from the putrefaction of the only thing you can remember doing for so long, that you can know nothing else...
If past is prologue, then what the fuck is this?
Copyright © 2011 Bill Friday