Sunday, July 26, 2015

virtue vultures

In the parking lot of the Walmart where I had purchased eggs, dish soap, Band-Aids and a couple of decadent candy bars, I was brought up short by what I took to be a red-tailed hawk floating above the mall buildings. Around and around s/he went against a very-blue sky, movements more minute and immaculate than a Japanese tea master.

Circling, circling, circling ... catching small, unseen updrafts or east-west puffs ... flapping only on rare occasions ... one-two-three ... and then floating some more and circling, circling, circling above the acres of mall buildings. It was beyond "perfect" and I stood rooted for a few minutes before some nudge arose and I knew that all perfect things exist only in a rearview mirror and there was something arrogant and clumsy in my gob-stopped wonder. Why do I insist on creating imperfection by calling something "perfect?"

Inaccurately, no doubt, I think of vultures as critters that soar and float on high and yet hop and hobble on the ground, feasting on road kill and other cast off carrion. "-Challenged" might be a suffix to describe the vulture's mealtime efforts in this time of oozy-goozy correctness. "Klutzy" is easier and yet ... and yet ... and yet ... on high ... Jee-SUS -- will you look at that?!

Hawks, vultures, soaring, limping ... and my mind pounces on the phrase, "virtue vultures."

Not long ago, my wife got our TV/Internet service upgraded. The upgrade meant more movies were available plus some stuff that the kids might use on their limitless gadgetry. I like movies, so I thought maybe I would watch more TV in my too-sedentary retirement. But the reverse has turned out to be true. There is something unimaginative about movies. Where music and books underscore the soaring, delicate immenseness of mind, movies hem in and constrain. The tale is the tale and what the viewer brings to the tale is cast away: What you see is what you get. Like Novocaine, there is a numbing delight, but its numbness begins to cloy and claw after a while. Or anyway, that's the analysis I am currently toying with.

And it is here that the virtue vultures might assume there is some heart-felt screed to be written about the stupidity and lifelessness of TV. I don't think it's worth the price of admission. Everyone toys with the suicidal potentials in life and a good numbing is nice from time to time... an impossible attempt to limit the unlimited in search of the unlimited. Let's make a virtue out of it and soar on vultures' wings only to limp and hobble when meals come due.

Virtues, like vultures, can soar and soaring is nifty ... for as long as it lasts. The limitless can be so exhausting ... but only from a limited point of view. A nice bit of Novocaine is nice now and then. Drugged on virtue, drugged on wonder, drugged on correctness ... ahhhhhhh.

My two sons both go to the gym to work out. It is good to keep in shape. But they also watch a lot of TV and I wonder why it is that biceps and triceps should receive care and nurturing, but the muscle of the mind is somehow outside that bomb zone.

I am not criticizing. Just wondering. The TV has wondrous gobs of alpha waves to offer .... soothing, relaxing ... and yet exercise makes the biceps and triceps useful and healthy and fit. I suppose anyone given to health must likewise be curious about unhealthy potential. Suicide is, after all, an option.

I wonder ... and note simply that I don't watch TV as much as I assumed I might when the 'upgrade' was added. I do enough hobbling as it is. No need to add more perfections.

1 comment:

  1. The trailers are always better than the movies. If i really want to escape i'll crawl into a book that speaks to theatricality rather than content. Anne Rice would be my guilty secret, there i admitted. Judge me if you want. Not that there aren't movies worth seeing, but they're the sleepers you discover accidentally.