The most maddening thing about existence is that you can’t just turn it off, can’t exit the stage, can’t really put an end to any of it.
Suicide, you say?
Well, sure, that’s an option, but given that nobody has yet to blow out their brains and report back I’ve always thought there was some risk to that approach. (My secret suspicion is that you get sent back to do it again anyway, like a runaway prisoner hauled back behind bars to do your time.)
Doing time. Sometimes that’s what life feels like. Life as a prison sentence.
This morning someone posted one of those parables, the woo-woo kind, and it said something like, “I am the One, the indivisible expression of unconditional love.” I wanted to punch the author in the nose. Because it came on the heels of the news article I’d read moments earlier, the one about the 5-year-old boy tortured and starved to death in a nice New York high rise.
So in one instance I pictured some saffron-robed, self-anointed spiritualist sipping latte in a cozy coffee shop expounding on the magnificent oneness of it all, and in the other the police zipping up an emaciated, battered little body bound and gagged in a bathroom without food or water, burns and bruises and cuts covering his body. I wanted Mr. Oneness to spend some time in that bathroom with that broken little body and share more of his exuberance for existence with us.
When I was a boy, a lot of things happened to leave me feeling very isolated, anxious, and alone. And because I was bouncing around a lot, I went lengthy stretches without friends or companionship. So like any child, I’d turn to my imaginary friend, the one called ‘god,’ the one who had a secret plan to right all the wrongs and ultimately make me feel better. God eventually would get even with the shitty people.
But after months and years of prayer, the shitty stuff didn’t stop. And I noticed the shitty stuff seemed to keep happening to others as well (so often the powerless – women, children, minorities, animals).
That’s when I came to hate god. I mean, hate with a passion otherwise foreign to me. I wanted god – whatever ‘it’ was – to show up, so I could have a go at it. I knew I’d lose, of course, but you get to a point you don’t care. You just hurt and hate and you hate and hurt and all of it combines into this toxic cocktail that seems to be all that is left of ‘you.’
And yeah, I suspect this is precisely where shitty people come from. They no longer care, no longer experience anything but pain and hatred. They’re weary of their prison sentence, want out, didn’t ask for any of it, didn’t ask to be thrust into the care of sociopaths or psychopaths or nobody at all. They want to meet the warden or the judge or “The Man,” the lunatic who set the whole thing up, who rigged the system so that for inexplicable reasons some people seemed to inherit the goodies while others got the shaft.
Which gets me to thinking about the person who did those things to that little boy. What kind of agony tormented that man or woman? Can I cast a stone at that which, ‘but for the grace of god,’ could have been me?
Damn, it really does seem to come full circle.
Like I said, sometimes you just want to take a swing at the architect of this thing.