Saturday, December 3, 2011

Etchings

There once was a guy named Fred that I knew. He has been dead now for over ten years. I have forgotten his last name, but I remember he worked in the library at Special Operations Command HQ. I was friends with the librarian, which is how I got to know Fred, and we used to exchange emails on this and that to break up the boredom of being fellow drones in a military bureaucracy. I remember him being an upbeat guy, and we would get in these discussions about "deep" things. Apparently, for I don't have his original, he observed in an email that I did not come across as "content"--fancy that. Here's what I wrote to him in response: 
Dear Contented Fred,
No, I don't wish I were content.
I will be content when I am dead.
To be content is to see no room for improvement.
This bespeaks either a dull mind, an overblown opinion of oneself, or a childish Pollyana approach to life.
I have neither-nor, but rather a healthy self-knowledge, a sense of humor and a sense of the tragic, and a consequent empathy with people.
And what your prescription for this poor, sad world? More power-mongers? More gold-diggers? Liars, cheats, and thieves? Dullards and sheep? More lawyers? Manipulators, clowns, and self-delusives? More politicians? More game-players?
Nay, give me more artists, more music, more poetry, more wine. More thinking, fewer rules. More color, less carping. More love, less lechery. More God, fewer godless.
Clones of me wouldn't take themselves very seriously at least. And they would have peace at the core. The poor, sad world could do a lot worse.
I wrote this in the spring of 1997. Some of phraseology strikes me now as a bit much, and the tone is bit too judgmental and dogmatic. Nonetheless, I don't disagree with the general thrust of it here these fourteen years later.




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