Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Pathway to Fame, Wealth, and Irresistibility to Stray Dogs (Bibliotherapy)


I have had my eyes on a shopping cart that I saw down at the local Safeway a few weeks back. It's a sporty model, with a shelf that snaps into place. The wheels aren't bad, just a little wobbly when it has a load of Ding-Dongs and diet soda.

That's the first thing I'll need for my next chapter of life.

Other stuff -- the big plastic garbage bags and floppy hat -- I'll have to acquire over time.

I figure my downward mobility and lack of marketing savvy will make this jump in social status possible. My interest in creativity, social responsibility, spiritual attainment, the health of the planet, and my decision to teach in the high-demand area of the humanities have all propelled me to these dizzying heights.

It's just market forces at work, though I do understand your envy. 

Yes, friends, I can see the path from here. It is paved with free time, abundant stimuli, entertainment, and never-ending life lessons. It is down there by the river, the bridges, the camping spots in the tamarisk thickets.

I may finally realize my dream of writing all day, staring off into the clouds, and brooding on the opacity of being.

It will be nice to let go of that academic spotlight, that assault on my privacy. It was glorious, all those years of teaching English 101, thirty of them, more or less. All the screaming and flash photography everywhere I went got to be old though. My hand is arthritic from signing autographs. And the demands from my publicist that I do all those interviews -- Letterman, Charlie Rose, The News Hour -- I can't wait for the phone to go dead, for the phone to be disconnected.

I had to beg the university not to give me a Regent's Professorship. I had no room for another diploma to hang on the wall. In fact, I now have no wall. And I waived the offers of a six-figure severance package, continued health insurance coverage, and use of a state car because all that seemed a bit excessive. Granted, my service has been faithful, but the heavy lifting was done by administrators and policy wonks. Their "poor me" laments elicit pity, but I have been hard-pressed to figure out how to help them. For now, I'll defer to those more deserving. I just want a clean break.

Liberation. Sweet liberation.

When life comes so easy, falls into your lap because you do everything just right, and you are so talented at doing what people need and want, it's a little draining. Doors just open and people usher you in to greater and greater appreciation.

Your department head gives you release time to just sit and think because you are that good.

But it feels empty, if you know what I mean, all that attention.

Better to just drop it, drop out, accept the fact that the pinnacle of achievement is not the pinnacle. It is the strength to accept one's destiny, the yoke of powerlessness, the great responsibility to do nothing.

Now this is living, dear friends.

I am known to the lizards, worshiped by them, have more plastic bottles than I know what to do with, and a pack of dogs vying for my smallest glance in their direction.

Yes, this is living, freedom from making a living.

The way is clear. The fight now won, the Morphean aromas of success fill me with reverie.

1 comment:

  1. my dear friend... this explains how i feel exactly sadly. where did this all go wrong? or was it always this wrong and i was just looking at it with younger, less cynical eyes? blasting through it with a much younger, more energetic body?

    sigh.

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