Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Thirty Second Tale of Life and Death

The fact that I am delirious with fever should in no way detract from the value of this short, little tale.

I was sitting on the porch today, trying to cool down. My love tells me that I have incredible peripheral vision. I suppose I do. In any event, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that a small wasp/hornet had landed on my favorite, pinhead-sized, yellow spider's web. I watched as it twitched, spun its belly on an e-string thorax, and I assumed that it was done for. My tiny, yellow spider thought so too, and sprung into wrapping and desiccating action. As you know, all spiders have teeth, and my little yellow friend had hers plunged into the wasp's head. The wasp appeared to go limp, lifeless I thought, when it jabbed my little spider, and the battle renewed, but only briefly. With the new found strength of impending victory, the wasp did her in, freed himself, and carried her off to dine.

As delirious people do, I found myself absorbed, and reminded, of a newly acquired quote, "If you're in a hole, stop digging". I also found myself understanding the song title 'It takes a lot to laugh. It takes a train to cry', but that's for another day.

No today I am absorbed with struggles, and I'm trying to figure out if we (jews included) really do have crosses to bear. I think the answer is not so simple, but I am starting to believe that the super glue we crave is made from sugar and sympathy. We have such an obsession with self labeling; we want to self label to join similarly self labeled humans in sugar and sympathy labeled groups. I will not single out any group in particular, but know that it does include all religions, political dogmas, income levels, survivors and victims alike. It has something to do with shared experiences, but this alone makes it appear silly to me. I mean, don't we all share the same experience. There is certainly variance in experiences, but the variations do not separate people from the overall experience. No, belonging to churches, or political parties, or support groups only offers the chance to live in a hole with other people, and to dig until the water's over your heads.

There are, of course, other kinds of holes. Somewhere, I'm not sure where, but it's either in a land where they mutilate vaginas and sew them shut or, in a land where young boys are the primary saleable commodity, people insert larger and larger metal rings in their earlobes until their earlobes hang at roughly the same latitude as their navels. At some point today, I was amused by the possibility that these enlarged earlobes enabled people to hear what the dormant parts of their brains were trying to tell them, but instead, I was led to ponder the brass ring, longneck ladies of southeast asia. I discovered that this was done originally so that tigers would have greater difficulty snapping their necks, but I was left with the conclusion that it has more to do with sexual allure. In any event, it is a more concrete example of how we support our heads at the top of deeper holes we create. This, in turn, led me to ponder another old expression, "one man's penis is another man's doorknob".

In any event, we dig holes for lots of different reasons. Sometimes to find stuff that we perceive as valuable, sometimes to hide; sometimes we dig holes for other people, even nations; sometimes we dig them to steal; sometimes to bond. Go ahead and make up your own reasons, but I am left with only one conclusion.

Holes are empty places, not so much on their own, but more the result of our actions. They are no so much the creation of nothing as much as they are the absence of something. We dig holes, most often, because we believe something has been taken from us, or lost. But all holes are like black holes. They may suck in what we seek, but they leave it just out of reach, just beyond the event horizon.

There is hope however. Eventually, we will have dug so many holes, that they will join together, coagulate into a single giant hole, and we will be left to evolve out of it. But we are going to have to survive slightly longer than my little spider friend.


Gail said...

sorry you are still w/fever.

about this writing - I will say this. First, what happens to one of us directly happens to all of us indirectly. So your eventual one big hole analogy makes sense.

And when someone comes along that understands the hole you dug and why and joins you for a time? It soon becomes an enlightened pedestal.
You know that though because you have been in such a hole and stood on such an enlightened pedestal with me. And I am forever indebted.


Fallen angel said...

Just as there are no atheists is foxholes, there are also no subterranean pedestals.

Gail said...

to clarify -
the reference to the enlightened pedestal is out of the hole, way above ground - so we actually agree. There are no pedestals below ground. they/it, are/is the reward for having been in the hole in the first place.
Again, you know this. you were there. In the hole(s) and out. And more than once! With me!!
Your insisting upon invalidating or making not real such shared reality makes me crazy! I was not 'in and out alone', You were fucking there!! I must be losing my mind.

Man you can stir the pot.


Gail said...


worth the risk of repeating........

" have been in such a hole and stood on such an enlightened pedestal, with me. And I am forever indebted."

This was one of those moments when "thank you" would have sufficed.


Gail said...

actually -
I think it would be "your welcome", not 'thank you'....

hmmmmmmmm what do you think? :-)


Gail said...

I am an idiot - and to be such with an English scholar such as yourself.

Much to my dismay, the word 'your' in the aforementioned comment should in fact have been "you're" or "you are".



PENolan said...

You might have said "Your insistance." Having two masters degrees, myself, I didn't even notice that particular mistake.

The point was made - and besides, an English teacher would simply grade the comment with Content/Grammar.

For myself, the very idea that someone who has been in a traumatic situation is just looking for sugar and sympathy is so insulting as to be nauseating. But I have come to realize that for many listeners, the land of trauma is so horrible they have to deny it on some level. Some things are so horrible that the mind refuses to go there. A person really can't imagine it, even if he wanted to.

I never needed any damn sugar or sympathy. I've needed Understanding in a lot of ways: Understanding of cause and effect in so far as I act the way I do sometimes because of Cause and Effect. Understanding that everyone has his/her own process and there is no one Right way.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm held together by safety pins and chewing gum. Yeah - I could use some fucking superglue. But it's not made of something so lame as sugar and sympathy. Sympathy is for when someone is dead and you're just glad it's not you. Someone is in a shit storm and you're glad it's not you. That's sympathy.
Empathy and acceptance are entirely different. That's a human connection - maybe the only way some people will ever feel that connection is when everyone on the planet finally falls into one gigantic black hole. What the hell do I know.

PENolan said...

And No, we don't all share the same experiences. We have the same human nature. We have similar needs. But the way our experiences and our environment influences our development is totally different.

I have spent some time with Second Generation Holocaust Survivors. They have often have interpersonal issues and I've had to do some research to understand why a situation went down the way it did. I have a HS friend, Cretin Vodka, who often behaved like an asshole. He was jealous that he had no label and Adult Children of Holocaust Survivors did. We made one up: Suvivor of Christian Fundamentalist Parents.

Just like dyslexia or Aspergers Syndrome, all a label does is provide a short hand for all the symptoms that accompany a situation. A kid is labeled ADHD still has to do his homework even though it's boring - the label doesn't give a person any excuses.

Now SOME people may use their label for social capital - to take advantage of other's sympathy or to wallow in their own bullshit. That behavior is all about that individual even though the behavior may be a symptom of the label. As grown ups we can make choices in how we behave. As humans, we can be thoughtless and so wrapped up in ourselves that we don't realize we've hurt someone or left ourselves vulnerable to being hurt and a relationship is damaged - maybe because of the label maybe not, All we can do is work to do better next time.

PENolan said...

Dude - are you talking about the big bang machine that could be making black holes all over the Earth even as we speak????