All our learning has failed us. Just as lost as our ignorant neighbors, we are perhaps more unhappy than most, for we have deluded ourselves into thinking that we were getting somewhere with all our studying when we were just wasting our time, squandering our youth. Now we are old and discouraged.
We have no one to blame but ourselves. The world is what it has always been and has never bothered to consult with us as in the first place. It is doing just fine without us. We, however, are not doing so well, and keep hoping that circumstances will soon change to our advantage. We are fooling ourselves in this regard.
There is no fool like an old fool.
Of course, we’re still full of plans. All sorts of plans for a better future, a life where we can finally relax and enjoy what we have accomplished, achieved, acquired. This life we anticipate is our reward for having been diligent, obedient, mindful of others but not enslaved by codependency. We have crossed uncharted waters and arrived at last at contentment. Or so we hope.
Well, maybe some of us have, some of the time. In general, for the most part, we are worried sick. We feel cheated, and are convinced deep down that we have no one to blame but ourselves for our miserable lot. Some are no longer worried but merely despondent. They have that far away stare. Like animals in a zoo that no longer notice the visitors, they gaze through the bars at nothing. Neither happy nor sad, they simply exist, waiting for a time when they no longer will.
Nothing they had hoped for ever really materialized. Once there were promising signs, but they proved to be mirages. Swamp gas. Static that could be mistaken for voices, but only through great feats of imagination and wishful thinking.
We, on the other hand, have not lost all hope. We still believe we have a chance at a better life. Sure, things aren’t so great now, but they could get better. Improvements of all kinds may be just around the corner.
Even in retrospect, we can’t explain why things got as bad as they did. When all was falling apart, we had no idea what was happening, let alone why everything we had worked so hard for was now in ruins. Fathers abandoned their families. Mothers watched TV instead of preparing meals. Everyone got sick, but it was a kind of sickness that fooled you into thinking you were healthier than ever. It wasn’t until you were at death’s door that you finally realized something was terribly wrong, and by then it was too late to seek a remedy.
When people died, they were often smiling. Sometimes the last noise they made was a guffaw. People laughed themselves to death. They snickered and were suddenly gone.