Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hiatus I Was Born To Take

My life has spanned a few decades now, so we're talking about some real history when you add up the days, weeks, and years. And each leap year gave me an extra day to enjoy along the way, like a cherry on top of a very long, prolonged, and wild ride. With the constancy of the hourglass, that's a lotta sand. And blood and tears. And toil.

Think of all the calendar pages flying by, representing my life. There's big block number pages, like the calendars you used to see in hardware stores. There's gigantic, black and red calendar pages, like they used to give away at the Farmers Bank. There's rolled up, demur nature scene calendars, like they gave away at restaurants. There's thematic calendars that schools sold, with the general theme of every month, like back to school in September, desks, rulers, and Abraham Lincoln in there somewhere.

After all this time, it's not too early to start thinking what my purpose in life is, why I'm even on this earth. And after a litle thought, here's the answer. It looks like I was put here simply to go on hiatus. To take a prolonged and maybe permanent break. Can a man exist just to quit and do nothing? It looks like it!

I wish I would've known this as a kid. I could've quit then. No potty training, no socialization skills, no birthday parties for friends, no school, no learning to balance a checkbook, no hanging out on streetcorners asking women to marry me, no nothing. I could've been like Tarzan and found myself a jungle somewhere and just gone there and taken a prolonged nap. Like a mix between Tarzan and Rip Van Winkle, just hibernate, vegetate, and swing through the jungle for exercise, to keep my strength up for the long hiatus ahead.

Instead, I went through all the normal ups, downs, stops, starts, and false starts. Trying to live with normal goals has been a mess. And as I look back on it, I feel mostly, you know, shame, like most people. A few good memories mixed in but for the most part overwhelmed by the bad. Even though I like to think I was a happy kid, my biggest memories are of being overwhelmed with fear, hesitancy, eyes averted down, reluctance to meet the world, embarrassed by my own body and thoughts, feelings of shyness, ugliness, aversion to most things, antisocial, graceless, ignorant, hopeless, and small. Of course there were some good times, like that time I shot the rat at the dump with my bow and arrow and everyone said I averted a plague and saved the town.

Through it all, somehow I survived. Mostly by the pleasure I got by going out to vacant fields and clubbing dirt clods. It still sounds kind of fun. Club 'em with a baseball bat. Take a dirt clod, throw it up and whack it toward an imaginary center field. You can wear off a lot of energy that way, take revenge on your many enemies, and just generally have a nice time. I used to come home one dirty little boy. And Grandpa would greet me with a smile, then take my baseball cap off and put it back on sideways, and tell me to, "Get cleaned up for supper, Champ." He understood at least one important lesson before he died: Everyone's trying too hard.

Now I know where my fulfillment is, where the joy of life can be found. In prolonged rest, shirking, giving up, flushing away ambition and living in the moment as a loungeabout. No more guilt. I'm Hugh Hefner without the girls to keep track of. No more worrying about what my "friends" and "followers" at this blog need or think they need. My mind is not their special plaything. My heart is not meant for them to bat around like their own personal dirtclod. And the rest of my body certainly isn't here to serve as Garrett Al's personal trampoline.

Hiatus, baby, that's what makes my day! That's what my life is. I've stumbled into life's greatest revelation, that I was born to take time off.

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