To read Fool’s Odyssey from the beginning, click here.
Prologos: Ash Wednesday (continued)
Now, don’t get me wrong.
It’s not that I was “looking for God” or anything.
I mean I was the kid who wrote,
“Man makes God in his own image” in his psychology journal
and got an A from a professor who was fired for chewing betel nuts.
But it was Ash Wednesday when they called and said,
“Your father’s dead.”
And then there was this girl
(there’s always “this girl”).
You know, “the one”?
The one you were going to spend “the rest of your life with”
until she went off to spend the rest of your life
with someone else.
So it wasn’t that I was “looking for God” or anything,
just someone who wouldn’t leave.
But it was Ash Wednesday and you can understand
why it came as much a surprise to me as anyone
when my optimism developed a stigmatism.
I mean, it was like all of a sudden
I looked around and realized
everything wasn’t getting better.
And for the first time in my life
I wasn’t sure what the world should do.
I mean, not only didn’t we have the answer,
we didn’t even know what the question was.
all is vanity and chasing after wind,” said the wise man.
Well this is hell, said the fool.
I heard somebody once said
that everyone’s heart is a vacuum.
Well, mine must have had a busted dust filter
because it felt like it was sucking up all the dirt in the world.
So for a while I got into being a pessimist
and I was really good at it.
I wrote weird paeans to pessimism like this one:
Nothing is the total that
I’ve come to know of late.
My heart it lies awanting in
A rotting apple crate.
Outside of pets and debtors there
Is ne’er a one can say
That he will be my champion
When comes that final day.
So get yourself a garden, friend,
And teach it how to grow,
And if you’re very lucky then
It will’na turn and go.
I never knew what it meant.
And then for a while I got into being a “seeker of truth,”
and one of my favorite things
was what some yogi guy said,
that we must “always be content to be seekers,
and never be so audacious as to presume
we have actually found the truth.”
It sounded so deep.
But then I got to thinking,
“What if the truth actually did come up to me
and tap me on the shoulder and say,
‘Well, here I am’”?
I’d probably just have said,
“Shh, go away, can’t you see I’m busy seeking you?”
And I saw that the wise man’s eyes are in his head;
but the fool walks in darkness.
Yet the same thing happens to each in the end.
So how was I more wise?
And I said in my heart that even wisdom is vanity.
But I had to look at least,
to see if I could see what I could see.
And so I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom
concerning all that is done under heaven.
I climbed a tree
so I could see
if I was free.
And so it began.
To read Fool’s Odyssey 3, click here.