Sunday, September 16, 2007


This one thing I did once, was I used to be a member of this dinky theatre company that put on plays in church halls. Loads of fun? Check. Chance to play dress-up? Roger that. More gay than a Liberace pool party? Right on. And, like everyone else, I'm sure, I briefly entertained fantasies of doing it for a living.

I longed to be one of those wide-eyed Minnesota girls, fresh off the bus to L.A., waiting to be discovered, but eventually chewed up and spit out by the pornography industry, a used-up husk of a beef-jerky-skinned relic, a caricature of lost innocence In A World Gone Mad. It was not to be, alas, but really, every job is an acting job, when you're expected to act like you give a shit.

The ability to laugh at myself, and, more importantly, everyone else, is the chief counter-argument to my Universal Disqualification theory. After all, laughter is the best medicine (unless you're a Christian Scientist. Then it's pretty much the only medicine you've got).

On the subject of medicine, Son spent last week in hospital, recovering from pneumonia. For a four-year-old (and his parents) this is a Big Deal. Wife never left his side, despite my attempts to convince her, except to go home for the occasional shower. So I spent a large part of last week visiting him, trying to keep him from getting bored with the hospital's meager selection of DVDs and toys.

At some point, his Yaya promised him a scooter, once again making the mistake of thinking that he'd forget all about it once the fever broke. Now, between doses of banana-flavored antibiotics, all the considerable bandwidth of his age-appropriate attention span is focused with monomaniacal intensity on the eventual fulfillment of this promise. The Scooter is forever just beyond the horizon, beckoning, beguiling, tempting. He cannot look away.

Things at work proceed apace. The recent layoffs of key personnel have been closely followed by the resignation of Dr. Dee, who has been an inspiration and father-figure to me during the last four years at Company. His kind but firm management style will be missed, and Doc, if you're reading this, I'm crying on the inside. Really.

Since Boxer was punted, a little over a year ago, it has become a rough and calloused province of my heart that receives this type of news, and so the emotional impact is somewhat diminished. But it's still like losing a member of the family. And now we wait for the inevitable organizational fallout, the hit to employee moral, the uncertainty, and the exodus.

Once you've been through this a couple of times, it almost becomes a pattern, like chapters in the old testament, or the five stages of grief, specific quadrants through which the wheel of our stationary cycle must turn, in order to rise once again to some functional mark. Which reminds me:

The Roman philosopher Boethius, one small constellation in the night sky of the Dark Ages, re-popularized the concept of the Rota Fortuna, or Fortune's Wheel. The basic concept is that Fortuna, goddess of fate, spins this wheel, bringing some fortune, and others grief, according to her whim. Boethius warns against the attempts on the part of foolish mortals to stay the movement of this wheel, for "if Fortune begin to stay still, she is no longer Fortune."

In other words, don't try to change your fate, because that's not the natural order of things. This was a convenient and popular message at the time. Peasants were absolved of any responsibility for their own misery, and kings and nobles got the message out to the proles that "hey, this is your lot in life. Suck it up." I'm a lazy, lazy fucker, so this whole "Fortune's Wheel" philosophy is pretty cool with me.

Philosophy being what it is (ie: a load of bunk), this message has largely been lost to the age of reason. Fortunately for long-buried Roman philosophers, we are poised once again to enter a new Dark Age of the mind, and the resurgence of all this old claptrap is nigh. Keep in line, don't bring water on the plane, don't make a fuss, and whatever you do, don't make eye contact. and if you end up in Gitmo, well it's just plain bad luck.

But fascist governments aren't the only trend governed by this cyclical pattern. The emotional health of any individual, or Company, can be brought high or low just as arbitrarily. And no amount of banana-flavored antibiotics will help.

I wanted to insert some horrible metaphor about "buying a vowel", but I can't be bothered.

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