Rendered Fat Content


" … one needs to invent a pencil to fill out the requisition for ordering pencils."

The Muse, The Otter, and I are presently cordoned off after a fashion. A minister in Louisiana hosted a gathering of 150 of his faithful, he insisting that if anyone contracted the dreaded virus, he'd heal them with the Spirit of the Lord. Good Lord! People reacted similarly to the Great Plagues in Europe. People became devout, hoping to at least be buried in consecrated ground, I guess. I'm trying to be more careful than that Senator who might have infected the Republican Caucus. (Notice how I'm not mentioning divine retribution.) The governor of Idaho thinks sheltering in place should be a local decision, encouraging that self-reliant pioneer spirit that killed off a considerable percentage of would-be pioneers. We're still not testing broadly enough to even get a half-decent statistical handle on the pandemic's spread. We count bodies instead.

I might not be quite as careful as I intended to be.
I visited the HomeDespot this morning to rent their twenty buck van so The Muse and I could move that bed displaced when The Otter moved in. Signs reminding me that I probably should not be there greeted me as I walked into the middle of their six thirty staff meeting. The clerk denied my request to rent that van because my insurance card has The Muse's name on it. I schlepped home where I had to displace The Muse from her morning routine so that she could trundle over and rent the van. A Barrier appeared first thing this morning and I should not have been as surprised as I felt, for every worthy undertaking seems somehow destined to encounter a Barrier or two on the way to fruition. I think this might be a universal law or something.

Playing the part of human, I'm obligated to feel surprised even though something very similar happens every danged time. I sense that I'm a bit player in a larger and longer-lived drama where Act 2, Scene 1 always, always, always features a confounding Barrier to forward progress. The protagonist inevitably feels obligated to get around that Barrier, if only to tie up the plot. By Act 3, Scene 5, the Barrier's shrinking in the rear view mirror and all's once again right with the world. These Barriers provide some tension as well as some opportunity in our lives. I think of them as Dedication Tests, little double-dog-dare-you taunts gauging the depth of desire. I might suggest that I can have anything my heart desires, so long as I'm prepared to pass that obligatory series of Dedication Tests.

Nobody issues insurance policies against their intrusion. We're each on our own. Some even insist that the depth of a person's character depends upon how they react and respond to these seemingly inevitable intrusions. I carry a long history of finding disqualifying discouragement when encountering Barriers. Maybe I didn't want passionately enough. I could be a wimp. I know that when I'm somehow able to get around, under, or through Barriers, I feel more powerful. I rarely feel more powerful when first encountering a Barrier, but curiously feel more powerful after I've managed to surmount them. I could feel elated when I first see them, salivating at the prospect of feeling powerful again, as if these Barriers offered opportunities to discover some non-obvious superpower within me, but that response could spoil the dramatic tension. I seem to need to feel discouraged before I can feel fully powerful again.

This Pandemic has been carrying its fair share of Barriers. It's a standard start-up writ large. In a start-up, one needs to invent a pencil to fill out the requisition for ordering pencils. It's one damned thing after another. With this pandemic, testing seems key to corralling it, but the Barriers to testing seem numerous and darned near insurmountable. Neigh-sayers hector every decision point until it's a genuine wonder that anything gets done, and we're daily discouraged by the unlikeliness of any of us managing to survive. Fortunately, some of us seem to have God on our side, and preachers who swear on a stack of Bibles that they, with the able assistance of The Holy Spirit, can cure anyone unfortunate enough to fall seriously ill. The Muse, The Otter, and I will be holed up for another little while yet. The Lord seems to work in ways no more mysterious than any novel virus might. Hide-and-seek seems to be the general plot line for both dramas, with fresh Barriers continually popping up. Imagine how blessed I feel.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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