so, letting the ever-fascinating world of sports, bars, music and politics go for just a little bit, let me tell me how much i'm blown away this holiday season by the simple and supreme human truth, that we are, indeed, our own single and worst enemies. there is nothing so clear to me this morning than the ubiquity of human self-sabotage. (i was gonna be snarky and use one of any number of names from current headlines to illustrate the point, but that's hardly necessary, now is it).
ok, i lied--just a little bar and music talk for a sec: i was out the other night (quelle surprise) and a friend of mine who is ALWAYS cranky and complaining about the forces of the universe arrayed and having open season against him, tried to, with a straight face no less, tell me and those assembled around how much that he's a very positive person. (he was at the time complaining about the quality of the music which was causing literally the entire room to get up and dance which, to his eye, means it's got to be crap, but let's not digress too much). you may know the type--someone who may have a surfeit of tattoos and piercings but still rails at the friction such causes among the un-tatted-or-pierced, or someone whose car may be literally falling apart on the street with expired stickers and all sorts of etc. while they nevertheless rail at the friction such causes among the local constabulary when they accidentally run a stop sign or whatnot, or everyone whose exes are ALL crazy, (common denominator???), or the ones whose facebook status updates read like a litany of everything that's inconvenient in the world to them. (no joke, on my list this morning is one from a friend who is ALWAYS grousing at the appearance of their neighbor on the one side's yard now complaining that a fleet of arborists have descended on the neighbor on the other side's yard to clean it up).
back to our original story, i tried to suggest perhaps less than perfect positivity on his part, and, i kid you not, he called me an asshole. (the fact that he's right does not invalidate the irony). mr sunshine upon a little grit in his gears went straight to personal insults and an argument. i am gonna have to start carrying a pocket mirror for sharing.
we are all our own worst enemies. we are all phd's in the science of self-sabotage.
chance in any moment to be happy? conclude the music insufferable (though don't leave by any means) and your conversation mates to all be jerks.
i could go on...
addictions, of course, are easy targets in this discussion. i joke a lot about "high functioning" about myself, and i know there but for the proverbial grace go i, but, seriously, there but for the proverbial grace go we all. except, like all exes being crazy, at some point it's fair to think that reasonable people might take some notice of the pattern of their lives, and some distinction might be fair to make why some folks seem to find ways to have the rent or the mortgage or the car insurance or the tax money or the you-name-it in time and on time to keep life's many wolves at bay, while so many others never seem to quite, and if you have time to linger over a drink, they'll tell you ALL about all the reasons why not that don't have to do with them drinking. (or dropping their paycheck on the lotto, or fill in your obsessive compulsion here).
and i hope you know when i say this i say it in all compassion for those against whom life surely does throw thunderbolts and curve balls, and who find themselves crushed beneath the weight of the world with few options to get out from under.
but at some point, for at least some, the time arrives when it can't all be explained away as karmic arbitrage, and you know the real reason has got to be none other than persistent and consistent self-sabotage.
you can't make 'em put down their next drink any more than you can make 'em put down their next cigarette, keno slip or cupcake. (blackly funniest of all, you can't even make 'em stop ridiculing others about their favored forms of self-sabotage, either--if i only had a nickel for every barely making it person focused on criticizing the not making it people i could retire today...) to these folks, everyone else is the problem, and, ultimately, the reason they can't and won't be happy.
the light has been slowly going on for me for years, but today it's on full force.
i am happy. i've worked hard to be. it's not easy, right up until it is. but nobody can hear it when the trick is explained. (even the dalai lama hasn't solved that one yet).
so all i can think about this morning is how the first thing they teach you in red cross lifeguard training is to avoid becoming drowned by the person or persons you are hoping to save.
i'm still not sure i have the answer to that koan yet, but i'm thinking hard on it... that part isn't ever easy.