My old roommate, the late Ralph Ross, once told me a joke about two hikers who encounter a bear and start running for their lives.
“We’re never going to outrun this bear,” says one guy.
The other guy says, “I don’t need to outrun the bear, only you.”
There’s a valuable lesson to be learned there. Unfortunately for Ralph, it was just one more piece of wisdom that failed to resonate. If there was anything that Ralph taught me, it was that “happen” and “occur” are not necessarily synonymous. Things happened to him all the time but nothing aver occurred to him.
He found himself on the losing end of life’s race to survive and died in 1992. It is said that a fool and his money are soon parted. In Ralph’s case, the same can be said for a fool and his motorcycle, especially after hitting a guard rail.
As for me, well, I’m still running.
I sometimes think the world has an annual body-count quota. The old and weak and the young and stupid fill up most of the coffins. If you’ve managed to reach an age where you’re somewhere in the middle, survival can be pretty easy. It can also be pretty dull.
Of course, I’m talking about folks who live in an industrialized nation, have some level of education, and have reasonable job prospects. That’s a pretty small percentage globally but a rather high one for people reading this blog. In fact, I would be be bold enough to say that the average Poison Spur reader has fewer than ten flies crawling around the edges of his or her mouth at any given moment.
People are able to take the long view and suck up the boredom. There are more important things to consider. They have families to raise or other responsibilities outside of work that give their life fulfillment. And then there are people like me.
I’ve always dealt with the specter of life’s obligations by running like hell in the other direction. I’m fully aware that I need to keep working so I don’t end up some homeless guy who sits on a bench sporting a ZZ Top beard and shits his pants while begging for money to bankroll his filth. Other than that, there is not a whole lot I do to justify my existence and that shows in my attitude at work. In fact, it’s safe to say that my level of professionalism at every job I’ve ever had peaked at the end of the end of the interview.
Oh, I muddle through well enough to not get fired and avoid the sort of hijinks I used to do when working at Dining Commons in college. For example. I once took a condom out of its wrapper and putting it in the bread warmer, resulting in some freshman finding it melted to the side of her dinner roll. I’m better behaved than that now.
However, I have even in the past decade pressed my luck just to make my professional life more challenging. Massive hangovers were a common occurrence for me although I wouldn’t say I used to make it a habit of staying up all all night on drugs and spending the next day on the job and getting paid even though I could barely put a sentence together. That would be wrong (not to mention illegal) so I wouldn’t say I was doing that at all. And even if I was, I’m too old and decrepit to continue with that level of foolishness. Not that I would ever do such a thing, mind you.
Nowadays, I’m pretty much just a Walter Mitty miscreant. In my world of make-believe, disgusting limericks and haikus of my own creation cover the surface of every men’s room stall. I’ve spotted the CEO’s laptop unattended and use his account to send a company-wide email with the message “LET’S FUCK!” There is a fetal pig floating in the coffee pot. Fortunately for all concerned, I am content to snicker like Muttley at what shall never be.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to work for some fucking reason or another.