Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Shoot straight, you bastards!"

This morning, there was a letter from a friend who writes pretty good essays about the misperceptions and manipulations that go on in Buddhism. Several of his points interested me, so I took some time answering and adding my own thoughts. Energy.

And then there was the daily blog to write on. Energy.

And then there was an article I wanted to write for the local newspaper. Energy.

And then the plumber was coming to fix the drain on the upstairs bathroom sink. I had to go to the bank to get money to pay him and listen to his lengthy explanations about why he had to charge so much. Energy.

With energies waning, what do I want to spend energy on? This morning, it was writing ... and I did not want to be distracted, to have what energy I could muster siphoned off. So I listened half-heartedly to the plumber and then sailed back into the newspaper opinion piece and found myself struggling to get it into some sort of order. I didn't have as much energy as I would have liked, but I did it anyway and shipped it out because, when all was said and done, writing was a choice I had somehow made in life and it was miles too late to change my mind.

And then I thought of the 1980 Australian movie "Breaker Morant," a tale taken from a play and very well done. The movie concerns three carbineers during one of the Boer Wars in South Africa. The three lieutenants are accused of executing Boers in a way not sanctioned by their British masters ... who had in fact sanctioned the brutal tactics. And when at last Breaker Morant, the protagonist, and one of his fellow lieutenants are tied to chairs as the sun rises over the grassy plain, Morant's last words to the firing squad are, approximately, "Shoot straight, you bastards!"

Live as a soldier, die as a soldier. It's the best any of us can do.

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