Tuesday, May 8, 2012

rise above it

When I was eight or nine, I got my first BB gun, a Red Ryder, lever-action rifle. I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven. This was something I had really, really wanted and now I had it.

The rifle had a small tube directly below the barrel. It was into the tube that the BB's were loaded. The BBs fed into the chamber once the rifle was cocked ... and then, so to speak, I was ready for action, ready to shoot, ready for a power that extended beyond my narrow, nine-year-old confines.

It could be a messy business loading the BB's because the cylindrical containers in which the BB's were sold were larger-mouthed than the hole into which the BB's were pored. Nevertheless, with practice, I learned to do it without spilling BB's all over the floor.

And what a wonderful feeling it was, ambling into the woods with a full BB gun. A full BB gun was ... well, full. It was fresh and new and complete and, for some reason, it never occurred to me in those blissful moments that of course the BB's would run out, that I would have to reload, that the completeness and bliss of the moment would fade away.

A small part of me snickers today at the childish naivete of then. Of course the BB's would run out -- how else would I get the enjoyment of shooting the gun? But still, no matter how often I ran out of BB's and reloaded, that initial sense of completeness and satisfaction when the gun was full did not depart. A small part of me snickers today ... until I take a closer look.

Decades and decades later, I'm still doing the same thing. I get new shoes and any sense that the shoes will wear out is overwhelmed by the delightful and nifty newness on my feet. I fill up the refrigerator and something goes ahhhhh ... life is complete and will remain that way. Over and over and over again this happens until snickering at my nine-year-old self really is not warranted. It's a habit I have never lost and see little chance of losing:

There! That's done! And done is done ... until, like clockwork, it comes undone or leads to the next 'that' that needs doing, gets done, and ignites a satisfaction that something, if only for the moment, hopes will last ... that sense of completeness and perfection and ahhhhh.

The taskmaster within may suggest with a prim reason that "everything changes ... really, you must learn to rise above your foolish attachments and delusions." And yes, everything changes, but trying to rise above things is an even greater foolishness, not least because it is a self-defeating process that takes more energy than its worth.

I guess I'm just lazy. I am more content to be the nitwit I am ... who the hell else could I possibly be? Where, precisely, could I possibly rise-above to? Things change and change takes care of itself. It has no need for my interference or improvement. If I goof, I hope I'll try to make amends, but in the meantime I will just glow with whatever BB gun I have loaded.

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