Monday, January 27, 2020

My Destiny Consultations


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 27 of 30

One of these days, if I ever get my life organized and can really bear down on pursuits, I’m hoping to monetize some stuff. Just people talking to me in incidental little meetings, like running into someone at Walmart and they ask me where the toy department is ought to be worth at least a quarter. Then there’s the meatier stuff, like consulting with me on anything I’m an expert at. Anything I blog about, of course I couldn’t blog about it unless I were qualified to do so. It's in the Constitution.

But my education is extremely impressive -- going by the classes I actually passed -- which you probably already know by my scholarly lingo. Full sentences, very little slang, willing to tackle any subject head-on, and bold to put my opinions out there head-to-head against the best of deceased scholars. Politics, religion, opinions on yard work, tips for an efficient life (don’t wait till the end of the month to balance your checkbook), and so many other topics I can’t even list without a fee.

Probably the biggest reason I haven't done it yet is I’m too lazy to put all the pieces into place. I always try to do things by the book. That means I need a tax attorney and others. I'd have to dispose of my present identity and take on something that suggests a more scholarly, disciplined character. Then I'd launch into a consultant role. Visiting you everyday with my briefcase. And being just up-the-wazoo helpful, with relatively low fees, undercutting everyone.

Of course one of the big consultancy jobs that’d keep me perpetually in the green would have to do with Destiny. The generic fortune tellers of old kept it somewhat mystic and a lot more mysterious than I like. I’ll be a consulting friend on the subject, giving you the green light or nixing it when it comes to your destiny. I have a kind of electric arm-hair system on a lot of things. If it’s positive it tingles in one way, pleasantly. Or negative, it tingles in an unpleasant way, one of the evolutionary cues most of us have forgotten, hackles, bearing my fangs, growling. My arm tingled endlessly and very unpleasantly when my dad died. I almost had it removed.

Then there’s the topper to the whole thing, that there will be an accompanying Certificate of Excellence. I’ve actually found this is the only way to go. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth a Certificate of Excellence. With limited rights for you to claim it merited my Certificate of Excellence, but certainly the higher the fee, the more you can brag, boast, and/or tout it that by paying your precious money you earned these unequaled Certificates of Excellence. They're printed on 30 lb. paper so they're quite a lift.

I can see myself helping to determine your destiny everyday. Which could be done in a snap. Very easy. My guesswork has been noted for quality in scholarly articles I've written. Then there's the ongoing fee, which you will love paying because of the positive strokes I give you. You'll be the toast of the town, everyone knowing your destiny has to be a particular grade of excellent or you wouldn’t have warranted the opportunity to brag about what I've told you, that your destiny is certified "Excellent."

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Our Shared Destiny


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 26 of 30

I graciously reach out my hand that we may join together, recognizing and honoring our shared destiny. If such is what you also choose. Being such a kindhearted soul -- that’s what people say about me, agree or not -- I’m always thinking, scheming, dreaming, imagining, plotting what we could do in this world if we were on the same page. The way it goes in my daydreams, brotherhood and sisterhood break forth like a beacon, with a clarion call to mutuality and camaraderie, love for one another, free grass, public bathing, nudity run rampant (but nice), and goodness. Like Woodstock, but listening to our own music on earbuds.

It seems like I had this drive several years ago, but my memory’s been fuzzy/crazy. Anything that’s out of mind for any real length of time (10-12 seconds) seems to go “poof” and disappear. The disadvantage of that is I’m always starting things that don’t go anywhere, but the biggest advantage is that when I later think of the same thing it’s totally new and fresh. When old people tell you they have memory problems, believe them. Or, as I always say, when old people tell you they have memory problems, believe them.

But it doesn’t matter to me if you’re old, young, or any of the other species of age. As part of my push to celebrate our shared destiny, anyone will do, warm bodies, I don’t care who. If you’re the smartest guy in town, great, sit over there. Or dumb as a post with relatives no one would want, you’re still good enough to be part of this magnificent push. I don’t know how we’re going to handle it, and I don’t know that I need to know. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, that’s life.

At that point, say it’s a massive failure, we’ll doubtlessly fight it out for turf, then divide the spoils in our own little circles, and celebrate (apart, alas, not together) that whereas we tried and failed, it’s still better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all. At least that’ll be my argument, hoping to save face, and, believe me, I’ll stick to it. One thing I hate is being wrong with all the guilt that goes with it.

Still, the future isn’t set. We could make it this time. We could try. I’m going to try, and I want you to try too. I don’t want any of us to fail and I never go into anything expecting to fail. All it takes is other people believing in it too, and believing in themselves, because that’s how destiny works. Apart, maybe nothing happens, that’s not surprising. But together, wow, the potential’s there, with hearts joined together, coming together in common cause with optimism, people knowing that yesterday may have been a mess but tomorrow’s not even here, it could be anything.

Look at how friendship works out. We fit together, we've come together, we've joined together. And now that we have, that’s a start. Destiny has to start somewhere, am I right? Friendship’s a great place to start! Then -- what a wild thought! -- like links of a chain, are you with me? Link joins to link, they snap together, they’re strong when they’re together and not easily broken. With you and me and the other guy and the other guy over there, and all those other guys, and those women, and that little group at the library, a study group, and groups everywhere, sports fans, the city orchestra, the oldest man in the Big City (who was profiled on the local news the other night, 103 and expected to die any minute), etc., etc., and people everywhere. Then -- yes, then -- we shall celebrate this great coming together, a destiny like none other!

This is our chance to do it. So let’s quit blowing it, OK? Could someone tell me what I just agreed to?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Cogs In A Machine


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 25 of 30

We’ve all had it explained to us from time to time -- at least once by a boss, which is unforgettable -- that you're nothing more than a cog in a machine, and that you have one function in life, to be all that that cog needs to be. The other cogs are depending on you. And the boss, the guy telling you the philosophy, is the judge and regulator of the cogs, that each shall do his or her indispensable part until it’s time to be replaced. Which can happen at any point if you ask for more than he can give, like a day off, when there's always work to be done.

So whatever your choice, you’re basically screwed. Think about cogs. They never ask for a day off. But for you, if you fail to show up, you have the short-term value of a day off, but naturally a different cog will be in your place if you’re dumb enough to show up again. If you do show up, though, it’s almost as embarrassing. You’ve accepted that your life is nothing but a cog in this guy’s machine, and he’ll be there to push you around with threats and devious laughter until they swat you with the Silver Paddle on your last day before retirement.

The best course of action would be this: Secretly arrange a new job somewhere else, get it in writing, if possible in blood, but keep the starting date secret for a while. You want it to be a time when you are entirely indispensable to the cog boss. Then you hit him up for a day off. His legs start twitching like they do, knowing that he’s giddy to give you the whole spiel again -- having you over the barrel -- so you let him go point by point over the recitation, occasionally asking him to amplify on particular points.

The big difference this time is you’re yawning, stretching your arms, practically dozing off with indifference. He’s starting to get nervous because you aren't sweating blood like usual. To make this story shorter, you tell him you have this other job where absences are endless, expectations are low. And that you’re unruffled by anything to the point that you’re capable even now of whipping it out and drenching the place. “It’ll be something to remember me by.”

Mother Pig carries something of that message for her chillens. “Get bigger so you can be pork chops for people to eat.” Even Grandma’s aghast at this fate, while we actually endorse it every time mealtime rolls around. A pack of bacon or what have you. The glad acceptance of destiny for pigs comes from their ignorance that anything bad’s going to happen to them. And what if they somehow knew, they wouldn’t be here in the first place, since without pork chops nobody’d be breeding them. Mother and Father Pig would sit in separate pens till their lives were ended for some other reason.

So I guess there’s one destiny for us and one for pigs. Pigs get what they get. We think it through and try to keep ourselves free and clear so that we can be happy, whether we’re absent a lot or whether we’re willing to die at a job that's willing to kill us for a buck.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Mothers & Destiny


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 24 of 30

Probably all of us have wished from time to time that we’d never been born at all. The problem with that, naturally, is that we wasted our opportunity to make our wishes known, way back when they could’ve done something about it. You need to be bold, speak up, instead of complaining about it long after you're already here. Do I wish I'd never been born? Well, I think of all the money I could've saved.

One question that's entangled in this quagmire of knots is, Is our presence here a thing of Destiny, planned and plotted by Destiny? Or just the luck of the draw? A man and a woman are together with enough thrust for a moon-launch and nine months later we land on earth. If it’s a matter of Destiny, like every resentful kid says from time to time, “I didn’t ask to be born!” True, true, but you like I always counter, You didn't ask not to be born either.

I still remember how surprised I was to grow up and realize that Earth had been here 5 to 15 billion years and doing very well without me, then here I was. When we learned about Genesis we thought it was only a few thousand years. But we had to revise our whole way of thought in terms of new information, the vastness, 15 billion birthdays without a card. The great thing for me in those billions of years is I never had one worry I can recall. Then suddenly I’m thrust against some woman’s breast and learn that that’s what we eat till they phrase us into good old cheap spaghetti. I’ve actually been saving lots of money eating spaghetti everyday, now that Mom’s gone.

But it’s the odds of all this that interest me today, the chances of Mom and Dad being where they were, meeting, etc., supplying the ways and means for the world’s huge plot against me to come to realization. Obviously someone up there either had it in for me, or perhaps I misunderstand the nature and meaning of existence. Is it really to do this, that, and the other thing? Or is there an intermediary phase that I’m leaving out? Maybe it’s a way-station on the way to a different station in life.

It would've been nicer to be born on a planet that didn't have such an orderly society with taxes.

As it's turned out, though, I guess I can have some pride. No matter how terrible criminal thugs have all turned out to be, at least I’ve never been in prison, never on death-row, and I've kept my politics soundly in the progressive track. And as far as I know, I can think with the best of any group of average citizens, so I shouldn’t complain. I hit the sweet spot in every category!

What was my mother like? She was very nice, a cool lady, and in ways kind of quirky. Which was something to love about her. And as destinies go, Mom had one as much as anyone.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Eaten By A Tiger...Destiny?


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 23 of 30

Among the basic rules of life -- and you could make lists everyday day -- are: Be vulnerable, but also wary. If you're too vulnerable your destiny could be to end. Wariness counters that. But too much wariness and you're overly skeptical of what you hear, making it hard to go forward. In short, lean on your innate self-knowledge but don't forget common sense. It goes a long way toward keeping your place, your freedom, even your dignity.

Dignity's at stake when a tiger's eating you. If you had a tiger swallow you, think how embarrassing that’d be, not to mention painful. Check out Glen’s shoes, and wonder how he could've let down his guard to such a foolhardy extent. He's been in trouble before. So I ask, How many times does this poor dude need rescued? Glen, if the sidewalk looks slick, show down. If the tiger looks hungry, offer him a TV dinner. And in the meantime lock the door, hide in the basement, do anything except allow yourself to get swallowed.

But it happened, and of course they had to call the ambulance guys, who worked gingerly with two endangered species, Glen and the tiger. And probably the tiger’s less endangered, since he's able to swallow you whole and pass you whole. The best Glen could hope for would be its peristalsis is slow, and whatever laxative they're able to give it (without messing up its metabolism) would speed his reappearance. Time is of the essence. Glen had to hope they could bypass the animal’s natural digestive juices.

My message today, brothers and sisters -- is that you must not become a victim of destiny. Are you with me? Destiny exists, this is true, but it leans more toward being an agent of good, not something meant to detract from your dignity as a human being, which is definitely what comes to pass when you are physically eaten and digested. Where’s the dignity in that? There's none!

What is so critical is the middle path. Yes, you want to be all-in. But you must be all-in in a way that is wise, not foolish. Something that gives health to your members, not destruction. Something that fulfills your destiny, not ends it. Yes, my beloved, every pursuit in life has stops along the way. You eat your own food, bite by bite. When people see you eat, for example, they don’t see the literal shape of a T-bone steak working its way past your throat. It's not clearly delineated as it goes down the gullet.

When it is in the stomach and then later the intestinal system, where digestion receives its crowning glory, no external observer is there to witness the T-bone steak in its original incarnation, non-chewed, unmarred, or whole. The thing is bitten into numerous pieces, awaiting the transformation, the alchemical change as it gives up its form and nature and is in part -- the nutrients -- absorbed into your system, while that which becomes eternal waste is expelled, finally cast out into the draught, the drain, the sewer, the cesspool.

Please, Glen, get a grip, before something worse happens.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

He Regretted His Destiny

 

Knowing Your Destiny
Part 22 of 30

There’s been plenty of times that I've not been completely happy with my destiny. Then I tell myself like I’ve told others so many times, “Suck it up!," along with all the other scolding I’m prone to in the face of denial.

To me it’s more of a problem when people are so stuck on their eventual death to the point that they neglect a decent destiny between hither and thither. I myself think of my eventual passing everyday, which since I can’t help it makes me think of it as normal. What else have I really got to go on? The inferior opinions of others? No, thanks! Especially when that number includes those stuck on it, which doesn’t seem to jibe with simultaneously denying it.

Denial of death, though, while obviously wrong, is the best thing some people have for coping. And I guess to a certain extent you have to honor it, at least while they're in the room. But everyone’s a little different, and when they’re “off” what can you do about it anyway? As long as they’re paid up on their consults, it’s all the same, believe what you want to believe. The deeper you dig into denial, in a sense the better for me. Although it’s not my preference everyday to reinvent the wheel, if you’re locked in that kind of infantile mindset, eventually -- whether you say yes or no -- it's your funeral.

But if you want your destiny to be more satisfying, let’s skip the talk of final things at least long enough to steer you into a happier place. Like what you’re going to do in the next year that'll be satisfying and maybe of some use to someone else, if that’s your thing. There’s lots of people who think, “What can I do for my family?” That’s a good aspiration. But if you’re thinking of your death all the time, that’s probably what they’re thinking too. You’ll drop off and whatever money you leave, they’re thinking about it. Which is probably why they’re always telling you, “Life’s more than accumulating things. Live as simply as possible, material things can never satisfy you. More, more, more is the world of the past. We live in a more enlightened time, life is what happens from the inside out.”

It’s all true, of course, but what chisellers. They with their new cars every year, remodeling the house, planning their next expensive vacation, even the baby in an expensive Versace bathrobe. You know they’re behind on a few things, but so materialistic and lusting for more, so they need a new source of income from somewhere. Yes, they made a ton of money, but they’ve spent a ton of money. And what does that leave them? Outright theft, underhanded dealings, or nurturing you along (telling old Grandpa Moneybags to “Go see Grandma.") And it's easy to close your eyes and picture her there, much of the sagging fixed in the heavenly salons.


Take it for what it's worth, my opinion. (Choking noise.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Whole Filthy Big City


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 21 of 30

I live in The Big City. Actually I'm a small-town guy by upbringing, used to the peace and quiet, relatively uneventful days and nights, an occasional fight on the school playground, and for real excitement the repainting of the water tower every 10 years, silver like always.

Here in the Big City -- and I’m not complaining because it’s all fascinating -- if there’s a half hour goes by without hearing a siren, you know it’s daytime. After dark, and you might have to listen very closely (but not usually), you’ll hear sirens. And sometimes gun shots, although to be honest you don’t really know if that’s what it was. Usually that bam-bam-bam-bam, four shots in succession, can’t be just innocent pounding, a guy trying to reseal a paint can. The weird thing is the gunshots aren’t necessarily followed by sirens, in fact seldom are. It always makes me wonder.

For all that, and all the other noise, I never complain about it, because it wouldn’t do a bit of good. It is what it is. If I were so concerned about it, I didn’t have to come here. But you probably know the story, Grandma’s house became so rundown; it got the creeping crud. Which they say broke forth in multiple infestations (that’s the town’s charge, which I dispute); I say it could’ve been chemically treated. But I was unceremoniously evicted, they loaded up the whole precious place in pieces and hauled it to the dump, and at my expense (!), and I haven’t heard from it since. Fortunately, both my grandparents are dead, because otherwise this would’ve killed them.

So now I consider this particular placehome. The city fathers back in my old town can kiss my --- no, I won’t be vulgar or resentful. They no doubt had it right, and certainly they are called to lead the community in the way they think is right. One thing kind of rankles me, though, they’re very selective on the parts of town that need to be condemned and hauled to the dump, but the other parts -- where they live, so convenient! -- get the extra boost, the grants, the Save Our City drives, etc.

Here in the Big City, then, I’ve seen plenty of places not as good as our old house and there they set … rotting away forever. Windows missing, roofs ripped off, sides falling in, warning signs everywhere, the outsides spray painted with dirty words (along with cautions, “Do Not Enter,” etc.) The whole place is a mess, right down to the garbage that the prior residents never bothered to set out for the weekly collection but the squatters have been nice enough to cast far and wide on the premises and even in the street.

Yes, I’m a proud citizen of the Big City, with its destiny my destiny. And so I say proudly, my voice quivering more than slightly with my words, “Send help! I’m dying here! If I go away for even a week, there will be squatters in my bedroom!” Don’t let that be my destiny!

NOTE: I'm thinking about focusing on the Big City in February. I have enough observations, including bitter complaints, about the Big City, that it'll take most of a short month to get it out of my system.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Horny, The Dance of Destiny

 
Knowing Your Destiny
Part 20 of 30

Remember the time I was into “Horny Goat Weed?” (As a reminder, it was about the time Dale nailed Delilah.) Of all my posts and all the feedback I get, of course there’s lots of “Attaboy! for all that. Because a lot of my readers are so sexually hopeless they have to celebrate anytime they hear of anyone's who's had success. And no doubt the weed helps to a certain extent, at least from the psychological promise that it could help. The other feedback I get are desperate pleas for counsel on getting the best strains of Horny Goat Weed, but honestly I haven't kept up on the subject. My advice, find a few satisfied goats and follow them.

In my old age I’m just not into the weed anymore. I burnt some of my last bridges to success when I was down on money and had to cut back. Plus, with age it passes. My family actually used to have goats and they were horny no matter what weeds were available, so I took a lesson from that. We never spent a dime on their upkeep or care and new goats still materialized as if by magic. So, my advice, simply start with what you’ve got in your pants and learn an important lesson from my poor example, don't get old.

These days as I practice my current obsession, being a counselor of Destiny, life is a lot less specific than goat weed, procreation, making whoopee, or any of it. It’s more holistic to look but not touch. And it gives you time for higher pursuits, goals, the meaning of life, and all that good stuff. What's coming up in your life? How are you working on your desires, and how does it relate to your overall destiny as you discern it? And what may the future hold? Maybe you could find success as a hoofed furry bald guy in the forest with a trombone and get lucky with the dancing denizens of the deep. That’s a good thing too.

Look at the concerned furrowing of his brow, critical but perhaps approving at some level. You do the “Dance of Destiny,” keeping pace with the other clients, and presumably at the end of the session you get the good word, “Keep up the good work. Don’t fail to come back for your sessions. And next time remember your checkbook.” Enough sessions like this and he could hire musicians, allowing himself time to examine the dance in a more focused way, and everyone's good.

As the Dance of Destiny goes on for you, wherever you are, I send out the good word, “Keep up the good work!” I’m sure that the good way you’re handling it -- if you’re handling it at all -- means it'll work out just fine. To a certain extent you have something to do with it, and, to a certain extent like all of us you’re just an unwilling participant in a dance bigger than yourself. Do your best. And whether you triumph (in the short-term) or soon stumble and fall into the abyss, you can be comforted knowing your did your best with your destiny, only thanks in part  to my extremely wise counsel.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Money & The Skids of Destiny


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 19 of 30

One of the hottest topics in Destiny studies is -- and it's a perennial -- “Does Money Grease the Skids of Destiny?” Of course the question's a real natural in a money-based society (mad, hungry, lusting, even loathing of money), as most of them are.

It’s a good question, because, after all, money greases the skids of everything else. I can barely go to the grocery store without money greasing the skids of me buying food, paper towels, and an occasional piece of candy. I get to the cash register with my sad baby blue eyes and twisted lips, begging without words for them to allow me to pass through without paying. But whether they don’t understand the quandary or merely pretend not to, it never works. I’m sure, though, with some of the kind checkout ladies, that if they were in charge of the store they’d be happy to let me through with virtually everything. Or maybe not.

I show up with my stuff, though, and it’s always the same, the ringing of the cash register, buzzes, beeps, all of them scanning my things through some sort of glass mounted on the counter and the cash register keeps track of what I owe. The only time I haven’t had to pay was in a roundabout way, the day I found $100. I asked 10 people sequentially if they’d lost $100 and they all said "Yes," so I figured everyone’s lying about it; if they can’t quote the serial number it’s mine. None could, so I got $100 worth of groceries that day for free.

That’d be a good entry in my study of Destiny. How Destiny happened to see me coming that day and greased the skids with $100, but has failed to see me coming a million other times. It's a mystery. I’m still working on it. My preliminary assumption is Destiny wants to help me once in a while -- once in a blue moon --  but it doesn’t want to help me to to the extent that I might ever take it for granted. I actually had the same thing happen as a kid, but back it was just one dollar. And from that moment on, every time I was in that store I checked the same place. Now the whole facility is torn down, I could go back and roughly find the same spot in the dirt. There might be a pot of gold waiting for me. But my faith isn’t enough to take me there, because now it’s hundreds of miles away.

To find $10,000 would be a great destiny. And of course $10,000 isn’t that much money these days. But if you find $10,000 you about have to turn it in. My first thought would be the bills are marked, they fell out of an armored car, they’re part of a heist, etc. And if you kept it -- which I suppose you could keep it for 20 years and it might be different -- you’d have a multitude of problems in the meantime, everything from fear of being caught to fear of someone stealing it from you.

Say worse came to worse, I would hope friends would appear out of the woodwork to help me. But if Destiny’s ever that kind, it'd be news to me.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Destiny Out of Whack


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 18 of 30

It’s the same old story all through our lives, and a sad one. We think we’re doing OK compared to everyone else, then it turns out everyone’s so far ahead of us it’s ridiculous. And I realize we shouldn't ever compare ourselves with others -- who supposedly have troubles of their own -- but it’s hard to do when it's like you're slipping away, perhaps going down the old drainpipe. What's going on?

Destiny could very well have something to do with that. If you’ve ever said, “Why me? Why me all the time? then you know what I’m talking about. And the more you say it, 10-12 times a day or more, the more likely you're really resonating with the idea that you’ve slipped so far down the tube that you could disappear from sight. While the average guy -- apparently no better than anyone -- breezes by, setting a new pace for even younger guys than himself.

I like to think Destiny isn’t such a thing, and that I’m as good as anyone, just to use me for an example. I know a lot of people sense the same thing, the slippage they’ve noticed in the “race of life.” Maybe you even got a head-start, were born on 2nd base as the phrase goes, but in recent years, days, and even hours, you’ve noticed that you’re not as far ahead as you thought. Instead you’re bummed out, everyone else is out of sight and you’re lagging, then dragging.

Well, I've heard the more you worry about it, the worse it gets. Especially if you’ve been recognized by others -- more than just your own thoughts -- as a real go-getter, setting the pace, never lagging, never dragging. Everyone can have a hard day, but then it might become a few in a row, then a nasty couple months, then a year where up is down, until your life is known as a giant goose egg, a zilch, a nothing, the pits. At your most optimistic you're getting lemons.

Usually Destiny sets the pace and we follow, I believe that. But there can be times of lagging and dragging in a physical or perhaps greater way. The technical term for it is “out of whack” or "out of order" or "down for the count" or "in the crapper." Others are skating by or going at a comfortable pace or even leaps and bounds. And you wonder why. As I said, the reasons could be anything, all the way from secret sins of the flesh -- and I think you know what I mean, you devil -- to merely the natural wear and tear on your hold on Destiny.

It's easy to imagine that Destiny gives up the ghost like everything else, and so whatever reserves we have goes to some more deserving person. In the illustration, perhaps check out the old granny figure, so lithe and bouncy, it seems like she may have just now received a healthy dose of someone’s Destiny, and it'd be that of the lagging, dragging guy if I had to guess.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Nasty Destiny "What Ifs"


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 17 of 30

As I teach in one of my advanced lessons -- and I think I can hint at it without giving away the greatest secrets -- Life is so often like a giant wounded bear in the cave of the world, seemingly about to breathe its last, but then somehow it struggles and continues with labored breathing while barely hanging on. Destiny has similar problems.

Just the continuous problem of everyone’s individual destinies, trying to keep those in sync on a macro level, then with the necessary interplay with everything from microorganisms all the way up to space aliens, with their own problems (mostly tentacle cancer) even while threatening our complete obliteration, keeps Destiny jumping. You’d really think Life could be a little more secure, sort of the way it feels when we wake up refreshed after passing a pleasant night with good sleep. But what does morning bring, all too often? Well, they’re not selling newspapers with the latest triumphs of the Garden Club, that much is clear...

So we’re torn, our psyches ripped right up the middle, with the consequences of something. Fate? Destiny? Yes, but it's the sad truth that Aliens Have To Eat Too. If we get as good as we give -- and I was munching earlier on a candy bar that gave its life as a breakfast substitute for me, along with coffee beans once minding their own business on the vine -- we have to be prepared to accept that oblivion could be our next stop. That’s the macro level. Then the individual terror sets in. You’re hepped up, the next guy’s beside himself, screams lead to social jostling, then push comes to shove, and pretty soon we’re up against it, the limits we once considered so firm.

As a destiny counselor, you might think I live for this kind of chaos. And, yes, I’ll give you that much, it’s definitely good for business, but remember, I too have to live. And the more the problem is something merely suggested on the individual level for those willing to pay to hear how to tinker their destiny back into line, the better. But when it’s everyone going ballistic at the same time, that’s a two-pronged challenge, crazed masses of people in an apocalyptic nightmare running roughshod over the careful teachings of destiny counseling, and my eventual challenge of ever bringing sedation to enough people to restore an orderly clientele, who for all I know may have been herded over a cliff to their demise. On the one hand, yes, I can accept that was their destiny. But then what? Like aliens, I also have to eat.

If it ever happens that Destiny reserves are indeed up against firm limits, we'll have no choice but to look to the World Emperor -- Long May He Live -- and face our destiny. The way he cuts to the chase with bad news and leads us, calming the bitter turmoil of the masses and all dreadful consequences, so we shall face that destiny if it happens. Indeed, long may I live, too, and may those nightmares be delayed for the rest of my life. Amen?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Destiny Smothering The Sick


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 16 of 30

Idea: If you can’t clear a plugged nose, whatever….

Those in the healing profession know their heritage, that the progress over the years including the cures we take for granted were purchased at a price, involving life, death, sickness, health, and taking chances. These days we might be fooled into thinking the healing arts are set, but it’s still true a lot of it has an iffy nature. Notice how they still make you sign documents with small print that they're not responsible if you die blowing your nose.

The smothering experiment seen here was a scheme of Destiny, toying with them, wondering if it would allow them to live. That's how we'd imagine a strong-armed Destiny, thrusting its hand into situations to bend circumstances to its overriding will. With death for the sniffles or a stronger life after a series of heart attacks.

As I recall this incident in detail, Destiny did force them to ease up, allowing the patient to begin breathing again. But, alas, later that night, as if to drive home its point more vividly, its point being its sovereignty, Destiny took him. He literally caught his death of cold.

The doctor and nurse spent those agonizing hours playing penny poker. And they had some pretty thrilling hands, too, and wagers. Because each was so full of the spirit of Destiny that neither thought they could lose. So it was a series of incredible full houses, straight flushes, pairs and trios of aces, etc.

As it turned out, then, the doctor lost a million dollars and the nurse was able to retire before the evening was over. Which left the doctor alone at the helm. (He had begged the nurse to tie his hands behind his back for two reasons, that he wouldn’t lose money and that would not give into temptation and experiment on the near-smothered patient.

But everything was out of his hands, he sat their musing. He felt ever so subtly a gust of Destiny blow under the door. Then as he observed the situation, he was amazed when the same gust, moving back, pulled the patient’s breath out of his body, not entirely lifeless, thanks to the mercy of the same Destiny.

Then, eerily, Destiny paused and turned, and the doctor suddenly felt his own breath leave his body! He clutched at this throat with a definite desperation, you know, the way you do when you’ve had the air knocked out of you or you've got a really bad sore throat. In this case he felt his body go cold and turn blue. Then as something of a malicious threat and a reprieve, his oxygen was restored and the good-hearted cackle of Destiny could be heard mocking him. Taunting him, as if to say, “You should’ve bet more on that full house I gave you so you could’ve taken the nurse to the cleaners.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Destiny Biz Monks Trade In


 Knowing Your Destiny
Part 15 of 30

An old monk I happened to meet the other day -- it was foreordained -- brought forth an idea after I sketched out some of my theories on Destiny. It was actually his encouragement of me on the subject that led to this "Knowing Your Destiny" series. So let me give a symbolic tip of my good old pith helmet (made of straw) to Senor Lao Matsui for everything, his help, encouragement, opinions, intuitions, and the shared wisdom of the masters, including, I guess, little old me! How about that, me, a pipsqueak everywhere I go, a master!

That’s pretty good company to be in, but I don't know what they think. But I did what I could, what anyone would probably do, shook his hand profusely, gave him my friendliest smile, and had him sign the typical waiver I carry to allow me to publish his ideas without remuneration, him giving up all rights to me "for educational purposes,” i.e., for eternity, all rights reserved, don’t let the door hit you on the backside on the way out.

Actually, that’s just the business angle and of course Brother Matsui and I parted as good friends. I followed his lead in all the bowing, because it’s not something I normally do (definitely no scraping) I hope he received all my bows in the spirit with which I gave them, which was simply reciprocal and imitative, my people frankly having never bowed to any mortal man. I'm the first. And he was very cool which made it a little easier to violate the family standard.

It’s always amazing to me, though, when I meet one of these native types with their endless reservoirs of folk knowledge, wisdom, quaint sayings, postures sitting, standing on one leg, hands in various prayer gestures, and summoning rain, clouds, whatever the garden needs. Bug spray maybe. I definitely always love how these guys talk -- mincing little words delicately chirped, always with the quaint sayings, very terse, memorable, and to the point. Mother Earth this and that. The wise soul believes thus and such. Signs point to yes, then to no, then to who knows, are there any objections? Certainly not before we dig into a plate of treats.  

Anyway, with the graphic I tried to incorporate some of the very cool jive he was trying to pass off on me, and it actually did feed my soul. Although I can’t remember the whole explanation, something about trying to keep balance with your weight. At first I thought he meant I needed to lose a few pounds, then I got the definite feeling that there’s something about balance, this, that, the other thing, all of it very cool. Finally, all was rescued when the plate of treats arrived.

I wasn’t sure about any of it, really. But I pointed to myself a number of times and said, “Me!? This has to do with me!?” Indeed the focus was on me, with what you see in the graphic, various weights and measures, package one, package two, big, little, enormous, all out of balance, Whatever Lao Matsui said about me, I nodded eagerly, hoping to get something monetary that’d help pay the bills, but that was a disappointment. Instead he had what appeared to be a four-pronged system. Which I guess I can summarize as This, That, The Other Thing, and One Other Thing makes four.

What a blessing it was. Amen.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

One Badass Destiny


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 14 of 30

Anyone who knows me knows there's one major flaw in my personality, among all the obvious minor things, that tends to turn people off. And I end up alone. To put it briefly, There isn't really anything I want to go out and do, because no matter what it is, something could go wrong. They say the end of prevention is wasting your life.

Yes, I know all the arguments, along with the gifts and curses of persuasion, what it’s like to hear people wheedle and beg, pleading to the point as it were of great drops of sweat on their forehead, trying to put in greater perspective for me what the opportunities of life are, and, concerning a person's whole being, making the point that from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, Life is a terrible thing to waste. O, the things I’ve heard; I’ve heard it all! If only they'd breathe that hot air into a hot air balloon, they’d soon have the world’s record for height and longevity, and with a steady crosswind typical of the upper sky, would be in the running for Vacation of the Year. But count me out, I’m not going to crash and burn for anyone's vainglory, no sir.

I actually have very little respect for anyone who does anything. And speaking of vainglory, it’s called that for a reason. You have to be some existence-hating fool to fall for vainglory! The word "vainglory" tells the whole story from “Once upon a time” to “The End.” And when I face my end -- and people have told me that I’ll face a lonely and justified death by my obstreperousness in the face of life’s compelling opportunities -- I hope to have the last laugh, alone in the glories above while the supposed “thrill-seekers” are writhing below, allowing me the final word: “There’s what your life of activity has given you, serious payback, really blowback, with every shiny temptation from your lying lips made up of some of the hot air that made your presence so loathsome to me and your end so justified.” I might tinker with that for greater dramatic effect.

So let’s think of what some of these supposedly desirable “badass” destinies people prefer. Of course a complete survey of the terrain is necessary to make the full case, but I’ll give just a brief sketch of their justifiable demise. The most common summary runs something like this: They thought it’d be A-B-C. They’d open themselves to this experience. Then a mild consequence results, perhaps rejection (which would’ve been preferable) or acquiescence. And so all parties are stripped down to their skivvies. The lights go dark, everyone’s feeling their way, tumescence and detumescence are experienced, the lights come back on and someone has substituted a gorilla for the girl! You’re mauled to death, in addition to being tagged “a bad lover” by a gorilla, no less, and as you’re flitting to the afterlife you behold a horizon full of angels showing thumbs-down, a hideous yet common sign of rejection.

If you're such a “badass,” maybe it’s not your fault that your destiny has badass qualities. And naturally you rejected my caution. But let me plead with you on this one point, whatever you do in your personal life, and no matter who it is with, please use protection. This world is bad enough, we don’t need any cross-pollination between man and gorilla. We passed that barrier back in the old days of evolution.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Hounds of Knowledge


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 13 of 30

I’m still mourning the passing of an old professor I knew years ago, and thinking of the anguish I felt when he met his ultimate destiny. Mostly because of everything that passed with him, being a man of great knowledge. That was his pride, really, not just knowing things but being able to interpret it for us dunces. (Instead of saying his real name and reopening old wounds for his family, I’ll give him the name Prof. Jimmy.)

From the very start I knew Prof. Jimmy was someone special. We had the first day of class, then coincidentally I ran into him in the stacks of the library. I startled him and he quickly slid a volume back into its space. And pushed the bookcase over, I guess to block my path.

I’ve thought many times about that and how to understand it. I resolved to keep a low profile in order to learn his ways. I was as hidden and obscure as was possible around him. I’d find him occasionally slipping into a quick convocation with like-minded people. And there was a hidden pattern of behavior -- nods, winks, and other gestures -- when they were together. The weird thing is how they covered their tracks, closing doors, obscuring corridors and chutes they may have been in, and, yes, tipping over bookcases.

The more I thought of it, the more I realized how he was compromising our general destiny. As a half-assed student, a very poor student, I used this as a valid excuse for my failure, Prof. Jimmy’s failure on his mission to teach, based no doubt on many other hidden shenanigans.

You know what this did for me? It really was a great excuse, allowing me to enroll at multiple places. I'd just trot out the memories of Prof. Jimmy and immediately be accepted. But I was never much of an academic success, again, thanks to those shenanigans. I got a lot of sympathy, which was great. Because, look at me, how could I be expected to learn when the professors (this one) pulled so many tricks? How could I be expected to do well on any final exam with my trauma? I always lived in fear that there was some trickery involved, something to trip me up and make me fail.

The real tragedy is all I might’ve accomplished had Prof. Jimmy not been such a dope. I might’ve found the cure for cancer, which, even though I’m always looking for a cure, there are still aspects of it that are just out of reach. It was definitely Prof. Jimmy who slowed me down.

The overall lesson from such a travesty is for all of us to bemoan the obstruction of knowledge. The world deserved better, but Prof. Jimmy spit in its face and told it to eat cake. As for myself, this lesson has made me resolve to always -- 100% of the time -- reveal any knowledge I might have that would do others any good. And so my call to professors today is “Unleash the Hounds” of knowledge, and let that be your living destiny, not taking the things you hold dear to your heart to the grave, but sharing them even today with a world extremely dumb and bound to stay that way, given its own choice.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

His Eyes Set On Destiny


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 12 of 30

In my travels 'round The Big City, I've several times had the opportunity to engage in conversations with others. I met this guy, anyway, and in few days I hope to say a few things about a local monk who also turned me on to some really deep jive on Destiny. Both guys -- even though they’re both guys from around here -- could not have been more different. This guy was distinctive for the piercing fire in his eyes; he definitely doesn't have the gene for lazy eye. He was also distinctive for the force behind his opinions.

No doubt he would object to calling anything he said mere “opinion,” since he lives only by Truth and Truth alone. I kind of doubt his outlook and yet at the same time envy him. How great it must feel to be so certain of everything, not just your own destiny but the destiny of the whole world, the whole cosmos, the whole kit and caboodle and Tyler too! Like a guy I once met hitchhiking as a kid who said people in Texas only drive two speeds, zero and 150 mph. It sounds impossible but he was so certain of it I still can't possibly doubt him.

Anyway, let's get to it, here are some of the pithy (yet deep and forceful) teachings passed on to me by my John Brown-like acquaintance. I’d like to just note one more thing about the guy, his burning eyes. We were at DQ, me trying to eat a hot fudge sundae while agreeing more or less with everything he said, and him basically doing brain surgery on me with his piercing eyes -- it was endless and uncomfortable -- staring into my eyes with a rare heat, literally melting my sundae and making me uncomfortable in other ways too. The neck of my shirt mysteriously squeezed me till my eyes bugged out. I was kind of mad about the melted sundae. But still managed to drink it in a couple gulps.

HIS TEACHINGS:
-- Nothing is ever what it seems. The truth you think is the truth isn’t. The truth you can’t handle.
-- There’s a force bigger than anything imaginable always forever pulling all the strings.
-- Only he and a few trusted others -- “the elders” -- know what it’s all about.
-- You should do a virus scan on all email.
-- Never get your shots.
-- Up is down and down up and both are conspiracies.
-- Potty-training makes boys effeminate.
-- Dishpan hands is a media hoax invented to pay for soap operas.
-- It’s reasonably tough to distinguish Shit and Shinola. Most people can’t. (I had him here, since I recently studied Shinola.)

He had a few other extraneous points but these made up his basic doctrine, what he’s pinning his whole destiny on. In a way, yes, he definitely has it going on. I wish I could be more like him. The certainty would be great. Then the burning eyes, the judgmental fervor, so much like the typical Episcopal priest it’s uncanny, with his divine ability to see through to the very core of all things, definitely a street corner prophet if ever I've seen one, with utter trust in existence and only one fear, hellfire for everyone else.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Obviously Bad Destiny


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 11 of 30

I’m so glad I’m not this guy, but instead have kept my nose fairly clean and record clear. But not Danny, so disappointing to the old judge or parole officer who befriended him before he did anything unforgivable. (Of course everything is forgivable, but they still put you to death if it’s extremely bad. “I forgive you, now get your rearend in the gas chamber.” Or electric chair, as here, if you don't like gas.

I probably should address the whole issue of capital punishment, to the extent that any of my opinions are interesting to anyone. The truth is, when you’re a social mover and shaker like me, everything’s of interest. Just like I had to weigh in on some other issues one day, including my opinion on women driving. Of course I grew up a long time ago when women driving was a subject that spurred a lot of debate. My opinion has evolved from a stern absolute prohibition to a more liberal outlook, being OK if she’s male-certified.

Anyway, my opinion of capital punishment has similarities and some differences. If I hear someone speak on the subject, against it, I’m against it. But every time something heinous happens -- and you know the types of crimes horrible people commit -- I’m for it. It doesn’t really bother me if people are locked up forever instead of capital punishment. But if they’re executed, it’s not like I knew them in the first place. I have problems of my own to worry about.

Maybe Destiny needs to have its say too. Destiny’s opinion is probably, "Whatever happens I did it," although I have a hard time with that at least on the surface. Because I certainly feel like we bear some responsibility for the good and the bad we do. If Destiny does it all, nothing I do good is really anything and nothing bad. I frankly don’t do much of the bad, barely anything intentionally, so it really could be in the crazy hands of Destiny. The good I do, though, it’s mostly just an absence of doing bad.

I live a normal life, not stepping on people, looking out for people, trying to do good, trying not to do anything I’d be blamed for. But if Destiny has a part in it all, that frees me up. If I caused an accident, I’d just hope Destiny is fully insured. But really where is Destiny when you need it? It evaporates like a puff of smoke, leaving the rest of society holding the bag.

Usually when the implements of capital punishment make a physical appearance, everything is squared away and in place for the penalty to happen. If I were guilty and up for capital punishment, I think I’d be stoic about it. Think of the shots you got before every school year. It only hurt a few seconds, whereas life in prison is one crappy thing after another for decades. Definitely worse than dying.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Suck It Up, Loser


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 10 of 30

In my years as a Destiny consultant, there's been many rewarding moments as you’d imagine. But then it's like everything in my life, it goes to crap and I can barely cope with the static I get from people. Leading me to commiserate with anyone nearby nice enough to listen, and some even seem to understand, “People, aren’t they the worst?!”

It’s kind of funny, though, how generally unwilling people are to agree with me. Which always brings me up short because I usually go out of my way to see everyone's point of view. It rankles me a bit because I thinking the obviously best way in life is to find what you have in common, but some of these halfwits are obviously functioning from somewhere in their lower nature, not smart enough to agree but too dumb to put up a fitting argument. Basically, and I know it’s harsh to say, these are the people who, left to themselves, say, in Africa, would be the first ones cooked.

So, yes, Destiny studies demands a kind of intuitive common sense, common sense informed by continual influxes (and backwash counts) of intuition. Which incidentally is one of the things that makes it hard to convey to others, because you’re forever coming up with seemingly impossible people, troglodyte personalities on the verge of getting-it but always losing it. What’s the solution? You just have to stand back and let Destiny get them, and so you see it, another funeral procession, which always looks completely pathetic on the freeway, unlike the days of my youth in the country when a decent procession was respected on a more peaceful thoroughfare. (If a funeral procession's on the freeway, it's a farce.)

This isn’t to say that I think people’s Destiny is merely to accept imminent oblivion; they’re continuation until now has shown that their Destiny isn’t just to fall dead and blow away. Which is a grace to them. And a grace to the rest of us as well, since we can take constant comfort in the idea that we will more typically be above the hazardous fray so common to unenlightened man. I don’t know what to do about it. Until I come up with a better solution, I’ll just console myself by charging them double anytime one of them comes around for a consult.

I’m common-sense enough, though, to just want to lay the truth on the line and let them deal with it. That’s what my doctor did when I had a broken leg. He told me in no uncertain terms, no matter what I wished for, to turn back the hands of time and avoid this fate, I had to wait the same six weeks like everyone else just to have the leg X-rayed for progress in healing. And I didn’t kick against him, at least with that leg.

For these Destiny-deniers I’m also blunt, “Suck it up, dingbat! It’s called Destiny for a reason! If you come to me and agree when times are good, don’t tire me out when times are bad. I never promised you a rose garden, and I had, I would’ve rescinded the offer long before now.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Destiny Gave You Lemons


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 9 of 30

We know it’s proverbial, sometimes life gives you lemons. Which, unless you successfully make lemonade for a living -- I tried it as a kid and made about a dollar -- you're better off going into apples. The proverb about lemons refers to their sour side and your destiny. You take a big suck off a lemon and the first thing you’ll do, your lips and mouth collapsing on themselves, is pucker up. Your brain knows it's coming, but when those sour drops meet a mouth in equilibrium, they're not disturbed by the brain. Your whole system responds to the lemons with an attitude of “That’s nasty!” 

Someone told me a long time ago that if you get too much lemon juice in your mouth -- the straight stuff -- it can badly affect your teeth, as in messing up the enamel, and I guess that makes them more prone to decay. Fortunately we didn’t get too many lemons when we were kids, because I couldn’t have taken it. My teeth are already fairly bad, and so for anything involving lemons I'd need a bunch of toothbrushes. More often I avoid lemons, actually whenever possible, and even lemon drop candy isn’t that great.

If we're talking about generally negative life events and not literal lemons, that could be your destiny. It's one sour thing after another. And you're spinning your wheels, desperately trying to make "lemonade." But what for? Certainly not to drink yourself. But to put your skills to work, whatever negative bent they've taken, to make the most of your life, even if to now it's a negative output. It's done all the time. But if this is really what you choose to do, I'm not too sure I'd want to know you. It's sort of like, saying, "Yeah, they're bad for me, but that doesn't keep me from making a profit off the suffering and misery of others. Maybe I can find a bunch of desperate guys downtown, get them hooked on lemonade, make a great profit, and if their teeth fall out, that's their problem."

Of course business works that way all the time. "Buyer beware, anything for a buck, it's their funeral." To a certain extent we know it's wrong, but there's very little regulation (as far as I know) involving lemons. Kind of weird. If you made airplanes that were guaranteed to crash, we wouldn't stand for a policy of "Buyer beware." Too much danger for the common good, clearly, whereas if you immediately lose the enamel off your teeth and have to gum bread for the rest of your life, that's something the overall system doesn't care about. I personally hate exploitation like that, but like I said, I tried to sell lemonade as a kid, so I'm just as guilty. Except I was unsuccessful, saw the error of my ways and repented, and immediately closed up shop until heroin became popular.

It's true that I favor certain restrictions on behalf of personal welfare -- I'm mentally half-nanny -- but naturally you can't save everyone forever. Maybe it's their destiny to be served lemons, lemons, lemons everyday, all the time. Lemon-flavored bread, cheesecake, steak sauce, everything you can think of right down to the lowly lemon-flavored turkey drumstick. All those people have to make a living too, and they don't know one mouth from another. You have the bad teeth, you have to make your own choices.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Destiny Do-Overs


 Knowing Your Destiny
Part 8 of 30

This is by far my least favorite side of the whole scheme of Destiny, karma, and what have you; it's total icky poo poo. I just hate the thought of anyone suffering, except of course, understandably, outright wholly impure evildoers. And I even wonder about them. Were their crimes -- maybe lying about me in 8th grade -- really that serious? There’s certainly worse things. Some so bad they’re defined and judged the same around the world, with only minor differences, as real downers. And if you get on that slide of existence, it’s all downhill, one heck of a ride to the bottom. And when you get there -- ouch! It’s bumpy -- the ride’s just started and you haven’t yet reached the bottom, but down, down, down you plummet, and even then you're still plumbing the shallower depths, let us say.

If it were up to me, I’d have an inert eternity or milder cleansing eon to get everything squared away. Then you’re good to go, and hopefully -- as Deity I always keep my fingers crossed -- you’ll learn your lessons from the past and reenter the world with all the virtue befitting some of my older aunts. Who if they ever did a bad thing in their whole life, it was merely too much focus on their virtue, which was great and clearly a thing to be proud of. But that's also a slippery slope, which I’m glad I’ve never succumbed to, because that would be very very bad. Strictly off limits, a "don’t do it" kind of thing. Plus, don’t even think of it, or someone up-there or down-there or out-there is gonna get you...

In this scheme of things -- see the graphic -- those who suffer worst are the ones with the greater weight of karma. It's a point system, where for every good thing you do you get a plus point, and the opposite for the bad. Occasionally you hit one of the lesser jackpots -- sins of omission or commission -- and the bells ring and a more considerable payout gathers in the tray. “Look! 400 years of good! Let it ride!” Or “Damn! 200 years of flickering flames, darn the luck! Oh well, may as well get it over with.” Followed by a plunge into the dark depths and apparently rotting to death on the banks of the Styx. Not exactly ambrosia.

OK, who do we have in this unpleasant rogue’s gallery of Destiny? Yes, the usual suspects, Hunger, Disease, Crime, and Despair, reaching their nasty hands out to those nearly in their grasp. It’s all sad, I know, but it could be any of us, if karma, as sketched out above, is any consolation. And usually it’s not. But the good news -- it’s great news! -- is that you’ll be out of all that at some point and on your way to a brand new Destiny. Let’s say it takes 10,000 years till your next incarnation. Suffer that relatively brief time and you’ll be back in the saddle, riding high, with huge optimistic hopes, a positive outlook. But it might be only 5,000 years, or even split that in half! A penalty, yes, but next to nothing compared to 10,000 years. Which itself is a drop in the bucket if you figure the 10,000 could've been 20.

My advice, always do your best and you won’t be so worried about it. Anything less than 100 years of suffering and you’ve got something good enough to be proud of, of course without actually being proud of it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Goodbye Dear Walter


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 7 of 30

What can you say about the destiny of a guy working in a big building with hundreds of other people, who when the building caught fire managed to be the only person killed while those hundreds of others escaped? My first reaction would be to say there was something wrong with him, a screw loose somewhere for him to fail in such a massive way. All you have to do is tag along with the others, sort of the buddy system, and get out.

But it's like everything: There's always one. You might be trying to bring a meeting to an end so everyone can go home. It seems you've reached consensus and everyone's happy with the proposals and plans. Until one guy pipes up his own foolish opinion about what they should do, and you have to break out into groups for one more session. The boss says, "Let's put our heads together, let's stick with it, do it for the team!"

That's what Destiny's like. The building erupts in fire. 99.9% have the escape routes memorized, and know how to walk calmly in single-file and keep their eyes open to danger, never taking it for granted that something terrible can't happen. Because it can. Then when the fire comes, everyone makes it. Everyone but one guy, who's by himself, clawing the walls like an idiot instead of maintaining a calm demeanor. Maybe he was in the upper reaches of the building and it was a freak thing. There's lots of reasons someone could be that guy.

Walter happened to be a guy with lots of absences. He'd had a sick spell for a few years and so he wasn't quite up to speed on the safety plan. If people didn't see him, it was because they were used to him being gone. Then when the fire broke out, they just assumed everyone made it when it wasn't so. I would put it a little differently: When Destiny saw its opportunity, it took it!

The first lesson we can learn is not be absent so much. The stricter the absence policy, the more likely people will be safe in the long run. It's a great incentive plan: Don't be so sick or you might die. Of course management is afraid of being sued for firing people who are legitimately sick. But because of their leniency, Walter assumed that when push came to shove he’d be OK. In this case he should have been sick, but he was well enough to work the very day of the big fire. A destiny twist. No one was looking for him!

And like his sicknesses, his body conspiring against him, the fire seemed to conspire against him as well, picking the very day he'd be alone on the top floor going through some files. The task was twofold, move everything from this room to that room, and everything from that room to the first room. So stuff was piled everywhere. That's the whole tangle Destiny can make. You can have one room with two rooms’ full of stuff, at times terribly blocking doors, covering exhaust fans, and making a dangerous situation worse.


The other lesson we can learn is not to be like Walter. So many things conspired to put him in the absolute danger zone, just out of reach. You couldn't have planned it. Or could you? Spend your time a little more wary, aware that your next breath could be your last. Because someday it will be ... unless ... unless you make sure things your destiny's always good. Bear down on it and make it happen.

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Diary of Destiny


 Knowing Your Destiny
Part 6 of 30

Cue the eerie music, an accusatory drone. Our man of destiny, Joe Mattuck, knows in an instant the hottest spotlight shines on him, a guilty man so very used to the shadows. He’s heard of spotlights, like everyone, but it’s not until you stand in the full beam that you know how utterly stark it is, especially at this close proximity. The heat, so very toasty, unpleasantly so, compounds the intensity with his own burning guilt. "Why'd I steal that doughnut when I was 5?"

The voice of Destiny then, in every way a menacing, all-knowing presence, speaks from somewhere, as though the voice of every man's conscience. It calls him by name and Joe feels himself getting hot, very hot under the collar, with the first signs of a sweaty downpour beading-up on his forehead, becoming within seconds a literal spillway of self-incrimination and guilt. Joe thinks, "I'll be sloshing my way out of here, if I don't drown first."

It's always the same on Destiny's arrival, offering its calling card and standing on ceremony. There's no preliminaries, no warm-up act, no pussyfooting around, no perfunctory Miranda rights, no excuses of mistaken identity, no DNA check. It doesn’t matter if you’ve burnt off your fingerprints with acid, or if you’ve somehow fooled Santa Claus, or if Father Murphy’s carried you on his back, or if you’ve been knighted a saint of the Church. If you’re guilty, Destiny knows. And closes in on you, as close as your own swampy breath, your confused DNA, and your throbbing boom-chicka heartbeat, which becomes progressively, steadily louder, thump, thump, thump, boom-chicka until the querying porch lights of neighboring homes as far as 10 miles away twinkle on and off in wonderment, a kind of hush all over the world.

Only then does Destiny speak, its voice disembodied, an ethereal patient monotone, completely under control and persistent, knowing you're cornered with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Every hiding place, down to the minute space between the wallpaper and the wall, is closed to you. Destiny speaks your name again -- "Joe Mattuck." Maybe the FBI couldn’t find you, the CIA, the KGB, insurance salesmen, junk calls. Even mosquitoes on hot summer nights wondered where the hell you went. Your own sweat didn’t know where to look, pooling up in vain near a neighbor’s basement door, in a desperate struggle to find donor pores in which to maintain its survival.

“Joe Mattuck,” Destiny says. Again, there’s no rush, it drones on, recounting from its own enormous Diary of your life, your great guilt. (cf. Diary of Destiny, Vol. 894, page 1249ff.) It’s a horrible recounting and you remember every lascivious moment right down to that supposedly cleansing ritual of you and the guys burning their underwear on that camping trip when you were 12. And telling one another, “We’re free and clear, guys, the evidence is gone!”

Remember, Destiny plays no favorites. It could happen to you!

------
Based on the old radio drama “Diary of Fate.” Its 25 episodes are available free online.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Ms. Wiggins, Empress


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 5 of 30

“I don’t know.” Ms. Wiggins pondered a new revelation of Destiny, “This could be more than I bargained for.” This dear one thought it through with many doubts. Which is common enough for those uncommon enough to feel the mantle of history bearing down on them.

One thing seemed sure to help, that it was a done deal. The cards of Destiny had been shuffled, the deck cut, the face cards and lesser numbers mixed as thoroughly as any deck -- and judged "as random as we can make it" by various experts in such things -- and the verdict of history pointed squarely at this one individual.

It’s really something, a surprise, when you've been tagged by Destiny. As life goes, it's certainly better than nothing. Although it so often turns out that the person had a better experience when they were nothing. It is hard for them to be so disappointed.

Maybe you're one who's felt the strange weight of Destiny at least once in your life. It feels pleasant enough, but with hidden dimensions of concern. To be thought of by Destiny and in the running like that, then to have the whole apparatus turn around and choose you is not an experience for the cowardly. Although the cowardly are so often the best recipient, because it’s such a surprise and there's something marvelous about existence in it: The ugly duckling becomes the swan! Or an old dumpsite the best site for the palace!

Our destiny, though, often turns out to be temporary, later growing up with trees and weeds and everything rots away, and someday someone shows up with a camera to document its at least temporary demise. But in Ms. Wiggins’ case, she still reigns as Empress of the World! She didn't slide from it in vanity! Yes, she had her doubts, but they went away, and she said, “If this is the way it’s gotta be…” She took it as an obligation, which grew into the realization day by day that her destiny was sweet, like buckets of candy you never grow tired of. Probably chocolate or peanut butter cups.

But for any one of us, you never know; the Empire might grow tired of you. In which case it’s best to stay humble, hoard your candy, and not take any riches for granted. Keep clipping coupons and pinching pennies. Because you might be right back in the same old spot, your good old life before the new life claimed you, and you'll need to get along with the same skills you had before. Easy come, easy go.

That's what happened in my life. I never got a big head, not too big, I kept the same size head it needed to be to fit through in the old shirts I saved. In Ms. Wiggins' case, she kept most of her old clothes, too, shorts, dresses, or whatever, from the previous realm, the backyard garden. And of course they're still stashed away as she still reigns in power as Empress, a very wise woman.

For many of us, Destiny's way seems like a lot of practical jokes and trickery. And wisely we never give in to it entirely.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Your Destiny Catching Up


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 4 of 30

This might not entirely apply to you today, if you’re not old in body, mind, or spirit. I’m definitely getting that way, becoming creakier, unpleasantly stiff, in a lamentable condition, and just plain pooped out. If you're like me or worse, your destiny might be considered in the past tense, meant specifically for you but it’s already happening. If that’s how it is -- judge for yourself -- when you look up the track you might see the rear end of the caboose. I can see it and it's getting smaller all the time. But as long as we're still breathing, there’s always the Home for the Aged.

Speaking for myself, I try to rejuvenate myself by a rigorous discipline of nursing old regrets. Running over them endlessly in my mind. “Everything I did last year and the year before that and the year before that turned out all wrong, and all the years before that… If Destiny is a thing of promise for each of us, for me the best is yet to come.” But then I think, “I am old in body, old in mind, and old in spirit, regardless of what mind games I play to deny the truth. Should I just quit?” I wonder. Then I have to think, “No, let Destiny catch me, it's six of one, half dozen of another, life costs the same if you try or if you give up, may as well press on. And maybe Destiny's working on bigger losers, so I'm safe.”

So I'm forever trying, trying, trying, and even with such challenges I still manage to get out ahead of myself. And suddenly I’ve got it goin’ on again, everything’s hunky dory, it’s all gravy, I have my dessert and meal, to be eaten in any order I choose, etc. Destiny’s good if you know the mind games! What I need now, in fact, is for it to catch back up to me just to offer some challenge, because today at least I'm way ahead, not lagging, not dragging. C’mon, Destiny, try to keep up!

But like all things in life, if there’s a real need for balance it'll happen. Destiny might've had a brain fart and lost sight of me, an oversight. And let's say nothing’s really lost to Destiny. Not you, or you over there, or you in the university library stinking the place up, googling, “Free showers near me.” Destiny wants you to have a shower, along with everyone else along that whole wall or bank of computers. Just keep searching, or perhaps ask the librarian; she looks very tidy, having the inside track on soap and water and the combination thereof.

But back to Destiny. With the idea that you strayed a little farther ahead of it than it expected and now here it comes, catching up. I’m not sure it stops. I have seen it go whizzing by. Like with the train, the engineer gets a head of steam up and he or she doesn’t want to stop. But since this is all symbolic, you can forego the usual cautions about literal trains and jump on as it passes. Then try real hard to keep up, on board wherever Destiny takes you, because psychological splits in Destiny double the pain.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Positive & Negative Devils

 
Knowing Your Destiny
Part 3 of 30

I’m going out on a limb to say, This devil doesn’t apply to me in any way. I hate the sight of the Devil and that’s no joke. And it’s the same story if it’s the Tarot deck, where there’s a Devil card. It’s never my favorite card to see. Even if there's positive things you can say about it. Any of the others, including Death, are OK and cards meant for me. But if I pull the Devil card, obviously something happened a little out of whack. Perhaps an enemy is walking up the sidewalk in front of my house. Or is just coming around the corner nearby. Or is somewhere else in the Big City daring me to come out for a decisive rendezvous. But I won’t. I actually postpone trips till some other day, beyond taking the dog out to poo. And if I ever saw a Devil walking by when the dog’s out, we'd need a Plan B. Just yesterday, though, the dog saw a pit-bull and went ballistic, while the pit-bull was quiet and well-behaved. Which one's the Devil?

Here our Devil anti-friend gives us his message, “Always give your level best!” Which is kind of a positive message, unexpected, for a Devil. Although it could be he’s not a Devil but just looks like one. Car wreck? Mashed in a machine? Maybe had chromosome or genetic problems and is actually an angel. I wouldn’t bet on it, but they -- angels -- could just as easily have problems. Remember all the angels in movies lacking wings? Although it’s more likely to be the Devil trying one of two things, 1) Pretending to be a former evildoer who’s gone straight, or, 2) Just more deceit whereby to deceive more insidiously.

How that would work precisely is not a subject I’m given a lot of thought to. Just "Anything Can Happen." But as with the Tarot Devil, like alluded to already, he’s not always a negative but a positive corrective to possibly something unbalanced in your life, eating too much sugar, a reminder not even to tell little white lies, or sometimes meant to ensnare you (“Ah, the cute little Devil”), who suddenly has you in his grasp, the pitchfork piercing you with the hottest sharpest tines ever you've felt. They’re pierced in you and you’re lifted in the air like a forklift, dangled over the fire, and at the last second, in pain and just as you’re about to black out, dropped in eternal flames. That’s a little reward for those of you who like things literal and not just seeing them symbolic of discipline and correctives, which is more of a psychological aim.

My “feel-good” advice, while perhaps not 100% true is at least more pleasant than "Go to hell." So, no matter how screwed up your Destiny appears to be, always give your level best. Try to put yourself in the driver’s seat, thinking this logical “truth,” that Destiny generally has a positive side. Try to see the downers you face as a corrective, steering you toward a positive outcome. Don’t be one who quickly gives in to the idea (like I’m prone to do) that Devils are always literally bad news. There’s about one chance in a million that that’s not so, but it’s better than nothing. So go with the flow. However screwed up things appear to be, continue giving your level best.

Whatever you do, keep your happiness intact to the degree that it’s possible. Don’t let the pick-ax hit you on the way out.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Destiny's Little Things

 
Knowing Your Destiny
Part 2 of 30

Here we are today with a subject that never satisfies anyone. I'm thinking back on some of my earliest training on the distinctions between destiny and predestination, and one of the fits I threw at my simpleton idiot professor.

The basic thing is your Destiny is the greatest thing in the world. But it has all kinds of little boundary lands that you have to occasionally choose or avoid. Requiring careful attention to detail, because the least little thing can sidetrack you and leave you vulnerable to many consequences. When it comes to something as simple as taking steps (see graphic), I’ve learned to mince when mincing is best and leap when the boundaries are a bit more far-flung.

Has this had consequences? It’d be shortsighted to say no, when what appears to be obvious suggests otherwise, so I’ll have to say Yes. And if choices are as predestined as some say, Yes is the obvious right answer. (I’m making the choice apparently in a more informed way, given my vast experience doing the wrong thing. Determined often by pain to the organism, myself or every person, creature, and situation before me. To which, let me apologize, to say I’m sorry if you’ve been implicated in any rampage of mine, big, little, intended, or accidental.)

Fortunately for everyone (I’ll be inclusive), none of these matters are so crystal clear that our mistakes are actionable, being removed from our direct experience. Of course the guy across town, whatever his actions are today could have consequences for me later, but just try to prove it.

Say the guy drops a glass, it shatters in a million pieces. Then I happen along sometime later, in a few weeks, and while most of the mess was swept up and all things tidied -- using a broken glass for our example. Naturally, each shard was not accounted for, because such exhaustive tracing of things would be endless. So I take off my shoes for some reason. Only to happen upon a shard. Ouch! In my case, having strong feet this will not mean the eventual removal of my foot, but there are some poor souls whose destinies are always worse than mine -- remember Hopalong Cassidy? -- who are not as lucky.

Everywhere we look, then, in Destiny studies the horizons are far as well as wide, with enough narrow focus necessary for each one of us to turn out to be mortal. If you’re looking for advice, it’d about have to be, either Pay Attention To Every Little Thing, or Hope Your Destiny is big enough to take care of itself. I think the best way is a mix of the two, being the principle, Do The Best You Can. Eventually we'll die, but it probably won't be this week.

Remember I said my idiot professor, a simpleton, and I had a major joint meltdown, him in his "vast wisdom" being wrong, and me, the typical student somehow getting one over on him concerning predestination and destiny? That was quite an episode! One for the books!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Your Destiny, My Entertainment


Knowing Your Destiny
Part 1 of 30

Writing anything on “Knowing Your Destiny” is a tricky business. Because, naturally, I don’t like saying things that might be a discouragement to anyone. And I know when it comes to the subject of destiny or fate, things like that, people tend to read it very closely, and more importantly, extremely personally. I've never envied anyone in the horoscope business, although for the most part they’re insulated by anonymity. But everyone knows me and my great influence, and if I ever said there’s buried treasure in my backyard, I know I'd have half the country here tomorrow digging it up, and no doubt ruining the pipes. Full disclosure: There is not a buried treasure, but a couple months ago I did bury a dead cat.

When it comes to your own personal destiny, I’m just like you, usually. I have a pretty good sense of my own destiny, and I know when to care about it and when to ignore it; it pretty much works in its own nature without me needing to tend to it often. I always leave its default setting at "One Day At a Time," because for me that's the least intrusive. Onward we go, no fuss with it, everyone out there can do their best and I’ll do my best here. I find you don’t very often need a psychic, only if you have money to waste and say it’s the Renaissance Festival and it's fun, for entertainment purposes only. Yeah, yeah, that’s my own disclaimer too.

Anything I may say about your destiny, don’t let it bother you. I don't actually know you. But I always have your best interests at heart, and anything that appears negative isn’t, it’s just a backwards, attention-grabbing way to letting you know that your life and destiny are always in your hands, so always do your best and find joy in everything that’s revealed day by day. The best policy when it comes to your destiny is 'Don’t Worry About It.' But if you can tinker with it here and there without going crazy, talk it over with friends and loved ones, and any local witch-doctor you might know, then ease into it (or jump out) like you would a too-hot bath.

Now let me talk about myself, looking at the graphic, etc. There’s Uncle Sam, then there’s me, first always in Uncle Sam's heart. That’s a pretty great destiny, the envy of the land! The people of my country love Uncle Sam, and if they see his picture here they also love me! Suddenly, in their delirium, they’re stumbling and staggering like there’s an implant in their brain driving their devotion, because it certainly doesn’t make any sense otherwise. “We love America above all countries, we love Uncle Sam above all country symbols, and we love the guy who writes this Grandma Slump blog above all mortals -- if that’s what he is -- for his wisdom, devotion to country, and his fascinating interest in police chases on YouTube. It’s true, that last bit. I watch police chases, then wave a wand, and by the time the video’s over, the police have managed to capture or kill the perp.

Some of these police chase victims -- and that’s what I call them, since they were the unwilling recipient of a hair-up-their-ass that this idiocy would be a good idea -- are fascinating watches. If you want to predict someone’s destiny, watch what happens in their case. Once you've done that it doesn’t take much to extrapolate from it and pronounce, “And so shall it be for future idiot losers dumb enough to throw away their lives, money, or freedom for a half hour of being chased back and forth on the freeway!”

One fun thing to count during a police chase: How many times do the commentators use the obligatory phrase "high rate of speed"?