THE RULES OF THIS PLACE

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There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of here. This place is as safe as anywhere on the planet. You will be allowed maximum freedom, but you won’t be coddled. No one will take care of you, or make your path an easy one. To do so would be to insult you, depriving you of your dignity.

Here, you are free to change your mind, make mistakes, accomplish absolutely nothing for days at a time. You are free to reap just what you sow. If you are easily bored, you will be even more bored than usual. If you can entertain yourself, your time here will be well spent. A few small challenges will keep you busily occupied. Solving problems builds character.

There are others here who will be like you. If you are especially active, or popular, they will see you as a threat. They will strive to cut you down to size. Others will try to inspire pity in you, to entangle you in their chronic problems. If you are wise, you will avoid them. Do not give advice. Do not take anyone under your wing. You have no wings.

You’re simply an inmate like everyone else here. Accept that fact and your life will be easy. Fight to achieve distinction and your life will become a living hell.

Just Around The Corner

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I’m waiting for the phone call that will change my life. The one that comes from an entirely unexpected person, the one that will finally make most of my problems disappear. That one.

OK, it could be an email message, or arrive on Facebook messenger. It will be surprising and it will change everything. All the issues I’ve been mulling over, worrying and fretting about will suddenly be moot.

Can’t pretend to know when this will happen. I’ve already been waiting for years, so it might be a bit longer. Every morning I arise and think “maybe today is the day they’ll call!”

Will the caller be a man or a woman? Young or old? Hip or square? Will I recognize it as important and life-changing when it happens, or will I find it just another irritating invasion of my privacy?

THE PHONE JUST RANG! But I missed answering it before the ringing stopped. They left no message. Maybe they’ll call back. Or maybe it was a mistake. Living in a foreign country, it’s a common occurrence. I answer the phone in English and I hear someone mutter something in another language and then hang up.

There’s a strange scent in the air, it smells like burning wires. People riding bicycles pass by the front of our house. Often they are whistling as they ride, and the tune they whistle sounds menacing, at least to my ears.

At night I see red laser beams scan the neighborhood. Are these coming from assassin rifles? Sometimes I hear the squawk of a walkie-talkie coming from the bushes. Are these real, or simply a neighbor’s television show. My hearing is not so good anymore.

When the good news arrives I will finally be able to relax. The world will no longer seem as sinister. It’s just a matter of time. Just around the next corner.

Surrender While You Can

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You might want to surrender now while you have the chance. Eventually, they won’t be so nice about it. They’ll just kill you and say you gave them no choice. So if there was ever a time to lay down your arms and assume a prone position, this is it.

Sure, they might kill you anyway. Even if cameras are rolling, they can claim to have been in fear for their lives. It was either you or them. You resisted their lawful commands. You left them no choice.

Chances are, however, that if you act soon to stop resisting, you’ll be alive at this same time tomorrow. As I said, time is of the essence. They only have so much patience, and it’s rapidly wearing thin.

Once they are sure of your intentions, they can set about the task of rehabilitating you. That might take some time. If you still think your cause is just and theirs isn’t, then I don’t have much hope that you will be able to successfully join their ranks. At best, you will always be an outsider, looking in, nursing a grudge in your rebel heart.

The Man

 

 

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If the Man wants your ass in a sling, he’s got it. He’s not fooling around. There’s too much money at stake. He’s going to come out on top no matter what, so you might as well stop fooling around and face whatever music the Man is playing.

Actually, the Man is tone deaf. He doesn’t play music himself, he hires others to do it for him. The Man isn’t bothered by the expense of hiring musicians. Musicians work cheap. They lack the rigor and resolve which come as part and parcel to being the Man.

The Man doesn’t care if you don’t like him. He’s not waiting for consensus. He’s taking action now. Sure, he might respect you more if you’re full of resolve, but how you’re feeling or how you respond don’t matter to the Man. He knows how he will feel and what his response will be to anything you do. Again, he’s not really interested in you, even if he has pretended to be in the past.

He’s in it for the long haul. He’s playing to win. If you have any plans, he will outmaneuver them. If you have any hopes, he will counter them with specially selected facts.

Nothing More

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By now you’re probably wondering what I really do for a living. Surely not this. You’re right, this is a hobby, a diversion, something to fill the time while I wait for death. I want for nothing. Any whims and desires that float in one ear and out the other can be easily ignored, or acknowledged with a cheerful “thanks for stopping by!”

I know full well what many only suspect. If you’re not full of gratitude, you’re toying with insanity. You’re making yourself miserable. You’re driving yourself crazy.

Even as the pandemic oozes about us, striking down a steady five percent of all whom it visits, there’s still plenty of cause to rejoice. We aren’t dead yet! What more can be expected or demanded from this life? Did we choose to be born when we were, into the family and nation of our birth? Of course not!

Clearly we are but the victims or beneficiaries of Fate. None of this is our doing. We are along for the ride and nothing more.

Someday I will rise to fulfill whatever promise was made by my very creation. Then I will be free to fade into obscurity. Until that moment, I must pay attention and listen for my cue. Only at the right time will this actor part the curtains and enter the stage. Only then will I deliver my lines, the ones I have been memorizing all my life.

Slapdash Artist

I was put here for a reason. Part of that reason is to invent new things for other people to enjoy. Writing, acting, photography, painting…whatever I can dabble in.

I have a short attention span, so dabble is the operative word here. Never known for rigor, I try my hand at many things in the hope that one or two of them will please me and maybe someone else. Most of my output suffers from a lack of Quality Control. This probably explains why I’m not rich after a relatively long life in the creative arts.

I’m not lazy, but I am scattered. As I approach my seventieth birthday, I find myself living on social security in Thailand, where things are cheap enough to allow such a thing. Where things are inexpensive enough to allow a dabbler to live a life of relative freedom from want.

I’ve just returned from the art supply store where I bought another $3.30 canvas. I will spend less than an hour splashing paint on it and wiping it around haphazardly. Then I will photograph it for posterity and consign it a closet someplace in this ramshackle house, where it will be discovered after I am dead and disposed of in some way that seems appropriate to the finder.

The problem I face in putting all my eggs in the “artistic creativity” basket allows me to wonder what I should be doing with myself when inspiration fails me. Sometimes inspirations fails me for an entire day. Then what?

Most people enjoy numerous avenues of diversion, but not me. I take no interest in sports or politics, and do not read mysteries of adventure novels. If it’s not art, I’m not interested.

So I’m a bored elitist. For one who can barely hop, my bar is set too high.

Michelangelo had the patience to rub a slab of marble with an abrasive cloth until it turned into a human figure. I can’t be bothered to wait for oil paint to dry, and so must rely on acrylics. My numerous creations escape my recall. If I can’t remember them, why would anyone else notice?