Memo to File
Re: Theory of
Plastics. Workers of the world, unite! You’re either with us or against us. Life is like a box of chocolates. Anything’s possible. Live and let live. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. Just do it. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. E=mc2 The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe.
Actually, file, it seems that there is no “theory of everything.” (But count on people to keep trying.) Here are a couple of things worth considering, though. Call them food for thought.
If you guess that in setting these out, I’m talking mostly to myself, you get a gold star.
- Good intentions are important. But they’re not everything. That is obvious, in principle. Not so obvious, in practice. If you want this expressed in a different way, try this: mind reading is for movies and comic books. Our intentions — which matter a lot less than we think they should — can can only be inferred from our words and actions. That said, those words and actions should not be open to just any interpretation. When I say or do something good (helpful, kind, worthwhile, supportive, insightful, or what have you), I may reasonably expect my words or actions to be recognized for what they are. Certainly not to be willfully misunderstood.
- No, hell is not other people. That’s a terrible thing to say. Say instead that, yes, it’s a daily challenge to navigate through the stormy waters of another person’s distraction, unhappiness, different worldview, wrongheaded thinking, bias, etc. But there’s no alternative, no real alternative, to accepting that challenge, is there? Whatever fantasy we may have of a deserted beach and a grass hut. So, at the risk of my sounding like a third-rate author of daily inspirations, let’s smile and do the best we can. Exclamation point. And what the heck: a smiley face, too.
- There’s a lot to be said for forgiveness. I won’t say it, though, because I’d bore you silly.
Oh, just this much, then. Every time we forgive — and I mean forgive in a very broad sense, as in asking a little less of the world at large and of other people in particular, because let’s face it, people in glass houses yadda yadda, but more to the point, living in this freaking world is hard enough without our behaving like that woman checking out ahead of me at Whole Foods yesterday, making a fuss about God-knows-what, something trivial anyway, and then (you know, talking aloud to herself but not really to herself, a kind of passive aggressiveness that I really hate but am trying, trying, trying to forgive) saying, “Oh, just forget it. I’m in a mood today where I’m just not willing to deal with this,” this being the inexpressible ineptitude of the cashier (who, in truth, has worked there practically since it opened, and who is not only incredibly efficient, but also a real love, my favorite by far), all of which amounted to a little rain cloud drizzling chilly water on the cashier’s head, a tiny weight on the heart of the friendly young woman who was bagging her groceries, and a blow to my titanic struggle to avoid the seemingly unavoidable conclusion that we humans are absolutely the worst species on earth — as I was saying, every time we forgive,
an angel gets its wings we make ever so very, incrementally, slightly more imaginable the possibility (the mere possibility, mind you) of that fanciful “heaven on earth” that some of us, at least, have been aspiring to ever since that first tetrapod dragged itself out of the ocean onto dry land.