The delicious incongruence of random associations
Sometimes everything has everything to do with everything, sometimes it has everything to do with nothing. This is one of those everything days.
A dear friend is walking away from his house. Well, he’s short-selling: it’s a euphemistic expression for a financial bleeding that’s less painful than truly walking away. As so many are doing in these egregious times, my friend is moving on.
There isn’t really an option, is there? Once you’ve packed up your dignity and set it aside; sold your belongings for one-twentieth of what you paid for them; ditched the things you thought you loved, those objets that helped define home – or so you thought – what else can you do but take that little satchel containing the only thing we’re gifted with at birth – our humanity – and slip it in your overnight bag and move on down the road.
El sol oculto
I swore as I left my parents’ house some eons ago that I would confront life with no expectations. I would find my way and simply live. I would bathe myself in life. Seek and be sought.
In years since, I learned to my surprise that despite my best intentions to live an expectation-less life, seeds of expectation had indeed been planted in my mind. In addition to the bombardment from advertising and mediocre airplane movies, we must inherit it from our parents. I’m convinced that as they bathe us as children they whisper subliminal songs into our ears: “Do better than me, do better than we…”
The fable of the parasitic twin
An old Eastern fable tells the story of an offspring called Opportunity. Born into a family of reasonable means, Opportunity was raised in modest comfort, far enough removed from the corrupting influences of Wealth and Achievement to know them, but close enough to desire their company. Opportunity was raised to believe that there was a natural balance to life; that the means to surviving it were an inherent gift of life itself: that is, that life would take care of you as long as you took advantage of the opportunities put in front of you.
Opportunity, in other words, believed that Achievement was its birthright.
As Opportunity grew, it realized it knew very little about real life. Well-intentioned though the parents may have been, they had sheltered Opportunity from Reality, raised it as a being unto its singular self – part of a larger whole yet at the same time detached. Life sped along, an unfamiliar tapestry rolling out behind it, like the landscape alongside a fast-moving car, until eventually Opportunity faltered.
Sidelined by a physical pain that had been increasing for years in its core, Opportunity finally went to see a doctor about his pain. On the x-ray the doctor discovered that Opportunity had a growth growing inside him. The doctor removed the growth and inspected it. He then announced, after Opportunity had come out from under anesthesia, that when Opportunity was conceived it was not conceived alone. The zygote had a parasitic twin and its unwritten name was Expectation.
“We’ve removed the growth,” the doctor informed Opportunity. “But be cautious,” he added as he wheeled him out of the recovery room. “There is always the risk that it will grow back.”