It's impossible to know what the outcome of the choices we make will
be. Pickles or onions on your sandwich may sour the first
impressions of the woman who, otherwise, might have been your
soulmate. Tuning the car radio to a different station might be the
distraction that causes you to miss the truck that has veered into your
lane. And hundreds died in Florida in 1992, perhaps because of the
butterfly in Africa shaking the dew from her wings.
Andy Kaufman, sitting in a videotaped interview to the left of Howdy
Doody. Andy is gazing with a childlike wonder at the wooden
puppet, and Andy says, "I see your strings, and the joints in your
mouth, and I see the puppetteer holding you up, but... to me, you're
more real than a lot of people I know." And Howdy Doody considers,
and responds, "Thanks, Andy."
Self-deception is not always a bad thing. Proper poetry is the
compressed expression of what ought to be. More importantly, we
have to fool ourselves if we ever hope to fool anyone else.
There is a great darkness, a vast and awful clarity of sadness that
occasionally fills my soul with a sweet and deadly weight. And I
suddenly understand the deeper order of things, and the unattainable
perfection of the universe presents itself, like a shimmering blue sky
viewed from the bottom of a still river.
It is in these moments that I remember, or I think I remember, your
face. And in that sudden communion I cry with the abandon of a
baby who has just been baptized.
These bodies, these corpses that we tote about with our souls, petition
us for animal pleasures: food, air, sleep, the warmth of sunlight, the
touch of another in the darkest part of the night.
If our bodies want for one of these vital elements, they try to accept
more of the other elements to compensate for the lack. This
compensation fails as often as it succeeds; the mixture of lead, sulfur
and mercury never gleams as bright as gold.
One of the greatest self-deceptions we practice is to believe that
cataclysmic change is not occurring. We believe that the lump must
be benign, that our jobs are as permanent as our lives, that the creek
will never rise to the door of the double-wide trailer.
The black-hooded wraith bearing a scythe on the tarot Death card
terrifies nearly all who look into his vacant eyes. We spend our
lives learning to stare him down.
If you see a bowl of oranges on the kitchen table, and if, when you
pick one up you smell that floral, gaudy smell, and if, when you peel
one the mist of orange oil glistens into the air, and if, when you pop a
wedge into your mouth, the juice squirts tangy and sweet on your tongue,
you might as well assume that you're eating an orange, not merely
If we feel God in our lives, and perceive the power and direction that
He presents to us, why should we bother with philosophical arguments
against His existence?
Don’t philosophize about your orange. Eat it and prepare for the