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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Damn it

Ever write a really good post then hit the wrong button and delete the whole damned thing? I have half a mind (no jokes, please) to write the whole thing over. But frankly, I just don't feel like it. Leave it at this: My water heater is dripping, a crazy-ass murderer is thwarting my attempts to become an enlightened death penalty opponent, and a Tampa, FL church keeps sending its minions up to my adopted home state to bilk folks out of their hard-earned coin.

In short, life is a little busy, a little dog-days-of-wintery, and a little annoying.

But, the title of the last post was this: Lest we forget.

Sometimes it takes a bunch of silliness to remind me of a simple axiom I try to carry with me everywhere I travel: Life ain't so bad.

A lot of people just don't want to hear that. But it's true.

For instance, I recently met a nice family of five. The parents are a couple years older than me. Their kids are about as polite as you could ever want a bunch of pre-teens to be. They had a good living. Five bedroom house, Dad had a good enough job that Mom could stay home and be Mom. Then they made a decision that should've been a very good one. Stick with the company that employs Dad, transfer to the South, and build a fine life. Then fate struck. Employer went broke. Dad takes a bad job and gets his foot crushed. Workman's comp won't pay for rehab. Oh yeah, and then Dad find out he has a ripped aorta. Now he can't go pick up the kids from school without feeling like his chest is going to implode. The nitro tabs work okay on the heart but give him a monster headache. Now Mom is working at a retail outlet and Dad is trying to make it back to the land of the living without ending up in the land of the dead.

Those are the stories most people just don't want to hear. Those are the stories that take all the gusto out of a good leaky water heater tale. Those are the stories that make you stop thinking about the murderer you're dealing with at work and making you starting thinking about the grandmother who recalls telling her granddaughter her mother "is in heaven and heaven is a long way away. She's living with the Lord now and wouldn't come back here if she could." She leaves out the part about Mama taking a .32 slug to the head because she couldn't open the convenience store safe fast enough.

About ten times a day someone asks me how it's going. My standard response: "I can't complain. Well, I could, but nobody would listen." That might pull a chuckle out of the two people in town who haven't heard me say it yet.

The thing is, I really, really want to complain. I want to bitch and moan about things that don't mean a diddly damn. Some shrinks would suggest a little complaining is good. Better to have a leaky water heater than one that's flooding your crawlspace (that was a bad "don't keep all your anger pent up inside" analogy for those who missed it). But, I try not to bitch. Sometimes I fail and when I do I have to remind myself...

Hey, life ain't so bad.

The problem with this little axiom is that when you try to impart it to someone who is bitching and moaning (something some friends and I have sometimes called "having the red ass" or "having a case of the mumble-grumbles"), said person usually can't handle it. This is more than likely because 1) They think there is a good chance life is pretty sucky and 2) They are wondering who the hell is this smiley face telling me life ain't so bad?

I'm no Pollyanna. Some things really suck. War sucks. Death sucks. American Idol sucks (sorry about that).

But...you know...

Life ain't so bad.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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