A wonderfully inspiring story I read in my youth……… will eventually appear below, when I feel like it, after some rambling and prattling thought, from Robert Fulghum’s epic gift book from 1988 – 1989. Â I gotta tell you… simplicity is key. Â That is all that matters. Â To find a center, to grow your roots, to be sentient and self possesed, self aware? Â Simplicity. Â Covert Bailey made it simple for the body back in the day, for me. Â Mr. Fulghum still keeps it simple for me to this day. Â Always buy lemonade from a kid who’s selling. Â Such simple ethos. Â You know what, I might have to read it again. Â It also might be where I stole my senior quote from (of course no room for proper citations). Â [ahh… so funny. casually tossing “senior quote” into a conversation as if it’s some common, remembered moment in time. Â I hadn’t remember until my fingers ambled down this path moments ago. Â I did recently remember I was voted most unusual in both junior high and high school, so I haven’t the foggiest as to how to end that sentence. Â I guess at this point it’s as good as any to say this, these words, were sparked by a potential donation to a friend named Reama. If I donate to her bike ride it will be wonderful, but all this was born of my need to send her a message. At first I thought of the wonderful story below…. but then I remembered my hand and this mind and these fingers drooling words and thoughts clackety clack moment by clackety clack. (This goes on for a bit, but it’s quite good, and undoubtedly harmless so click this link if you can’t see the rest —>)
ALL OF A SUDDEN! An event that may happen time to time in the battered cave of this blog…. unpredictable rejoinders with the audience. Â I know you are there.. I see what you did there, your eyes consuming word after word as they fire right across the page. Â I am controlling those ocular nerves and firing those synapses at this point… it’s me it’s me… so don’t get haught and smarmy. Â None of you. Â Sit back, and soak it in.
I see aÂ ChristmasÂ tree lit dixie queen paddle boat shifting lazily about the bay. Â The interlude is something that I wish to find romantic, but I am poisoned by the booze cruise episode of The Office from yonder seasons and now I think ofÂ paltry, ordinary, mundane office drama when I see those boats. Inappropriate and awkward line employee + management drunken kisses, or sloppy bachelor parties with faux gambling and pimply assed whores. Â But that is, possibly, another thing to ponder, entirely. Or ponder it, not at all. Â The latter will do nicely, thank you… moving on (nary a moment will it shift my attitude of the bay and skyline… it’s reaching majestic isn’t it)
Another departure…. a spontaneous memory that will be ground into time with my mentioning it off the cuff. Â My senior quote, which I would love to cite as having been “found on a scroll”, of course came from Mr. Fulghum. Â You bastards, I am competent enough to keep my meandering to some level of topical import!
There is really nothing you must be. And there is nothing you must do. There is really nothing you must have. And there is nothing you must know. There is really nothing you must become. However, it helps to understand that fire burns, and when it rains, the earth gets wet. Japanese Zen scroll
Wow! That’s great! I can’t believe that was my senior quote, imprinted under a pimply faced gent in a tuxedo, I believe. Â It was a dickie, of course, but you aren’t supposed to know that. If you get that (not my comments – rather – the above quote), read the Tao te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation. Â It meant something to me. Â Maybe it will for you, as well. Â It still means something, constantly, my folks and friends – it’s unyielding or unending and it’s there floating around us, isn’t it, ready to be plucked from the air by those not looking for it. Beyond a Demon Haunted World… it’s damn near a tome in my mind. I think you should purchase both immediately, but that’s me.
So… stuff stands out from that moment of time I read Fulghum’s book…. I had always had love in my heart, simplicity…. finding the center then letting go! Â Reading the Tao didn’t provide a way, it simply made me feel in step. Â Same with Fulghum. They weren’t lessons, they were confirmations of realities I already knew.
I have one more story that impacted me from his ramblings….. then something simpler.
A Greek philosopher and teacher ended a lecture asking, â€œAre there any questions?â€ In the audience was Robert Fulghum who asked, â€œDr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?â€
Fulghum relates: â€œThe usual laughter followed, and people started to go. Papaderos held up his hand and stilled the room and looked at me for a long time, asking with his eyes if I was serious and seeing from my eyes that I was. â€˜I will answer your question,â€™ he said. Then taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished into it and brought out a very small, round mirror, about the size of a quarter. Then he said, â€˜When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found several broken pieces of a mirror from a wrecked German motorcycle. I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would not shine â€“ in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.
‘I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a childâ€™s game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light â€“ truth, understanding, knowledge â€“ is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.’
â€˜I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of this world â€“ into the black places in the hearts of men â€“ and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.’ â€œAnd then he took his small mirror and, holding it carefully, caught the bright rays of daylight streaming through the window and reflected them onto my face and onto my hands folded on the desk.â€
I hate to overwhelm you with pasted text, copy pasta as they say. Â But it may have some meaning. Â It could provide exigence. Â Hell I could be long dead as eyes drape the corners of these electronic walls and I am reborn to these new eyes, deeply, inhaling me. Â Helping me to live. Â Helping me to let all of mankind know that we can come to terms with the human condition and battle the preying mindless emotions that can poison simple love.
If all that is too hippy, too arcane….. self awareness of people ingesting my words quite a bit after my last breath, the earnest humanistic love trumping self shame from sounding so giddily loving Â and portently 3rd person, me.. a voyuer watching your reaction while long past into shadow….
We can try something simpler. Â How about simple rules? Â Humans love boundaries like a dog’s cage is a wonderful cozy den.
Mr. Fulghum had simple rules… the lemonade one, I am tellin’ ya. Â It won’t leave you. Â Beggars and circus… debatable.
1) Buy lemonade from any kid who is selling.
2) Anytime you can vote on anythingâ€”vote!
3) Attend the 25th reunion of your high school class.
4) Choose having time over having money.
5) Always take the scenic route.
6) Give at least something to any beggar who asks.
7) Give money to all street musicians.
8) Always be someoneâ€™s Valentine.
9) When the circus comes to town, be there.