Tuesday, May 1, 2012

born between piss and shit

"We are all born between piss and shit."

I suppose this anatomically accurate observation (sometimes attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux ... who more delicately referred to "urine and feces") is meant to suggest that anyone would be well-advised to rein in their self-aggrandizements.

Piss and shit are not so grand as fine clothes, cultured speech, highly-regarded station, or knowing which fork to use at a multi-course meal. But piss and shit are also not so grand as the position of one who may righteously proclaim "we are all born between piss and shit." It is easy to point the humility laser at others, but less easy to point it in the only direction that counts.

Poor old "piss and shit." What a bad rap they get. Or, alternatively, how useful they become in the hands of smarmy fashioners of metaphors: Shit and piss make the crops grow, dontcha know... hell is just heaven spelled differently ... that sort of shit.

Adjuncts to the bad rap might include, "s/he thinks his/her shit doesn't stink" or "pissing upwind" or "sometimes life serves you a shit sandwich" or "shit happens." In each instance, shit and piss are used as a meaning something to avoid or disdain, the unexalted verbal playthings, and yet it's still just true in the end: "We are all born between piss and shit."

Sometimes it is hard not to marvel at the lengths to which organized spiritual endeavor will go in order to adorn the obvious. Soaring metaphors, wily puzzlers, salvation and damnation, and church music that is enough to give anyone goosebumps. Some organizations (or individuals) have the decency to urge their constituencies to look the obvious in the eye. Others, of course, get caught up in their own goosebumps and their constituencies (or personal lives) go begging.

Poor ol' shit and piss. Poor ol' obviousness.

And yet, I guess, it is not a matter worth sorrowing over. The obvious waits as patiently as a cat in the sunshine.

Obviousness does not cower or exult.

It has bigger fish to fry.

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