Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Blogging's been a little light lately, and some folks out there might be wondering why. Well, for one thing, for the last month or two, I've been stuck in gloom-mode. As I've said many times before, it's been a couple of years since I spontaneously started skipping while walking down the street (and, yes, the cessation of skipping was tied to a specific event). But the goofy grins have been fewer and further between of late, and I don't really have a good explanation. It borders on the ridiculously obvious to say that blogging is less fun when you're depressed.

It's not that I haven't been writing, it's just that I'm stuck with Eeyore for a muse, and the stuff I've been churning out has its gaze so resolutely stuck in my navel that I chose to keep it to myself. Not to mention that much of it fell on my side of the "not for public consumption" line.

And then there's the news. It's all war, all the time these days, and the commentary, usually my favorite part (hard to argue over facts, but analysis and interpretation are easy targets), has been busy yelling across the aisle at one another like kindergartners. Or legislators. Also not much fun to comment on.

There's an old Chinese story that goes something like this: A farmer is out working in his fields when he finds a beautiful stallion which follows him back to the barn. A neighbor sees him with the animal and congratulates him on his luck in finding it.

"Lucky?" says the farmer, "Maybe. We'll see."

The next day, the farmer's son is riding the horse instead of working, is thrown from the horse, and breaks his leg. The same neighbor offers his condolences. "You were right. That horse was bad luck!"

"Maybe. We'll see."

A few days later, an army squad comes riding up to the farm. They'd been out on combing the countryside for conscripts when one of them was thrown from his horse, which then ran off. The old farmer led the men to their lost horse. The captain looked around at the farm, then at the old man with his bent back and said, "Surely you don't work this place all by yourself, do you? If there are any able-bodied men around here, you better tell me! Maybe the trip out here wasn't a waste of time after all!"

"It's just my son and myself. And he has a broken leg." The captain demanded to see for himself, but when he saw that the young man did indeed have a broken leg, and was in no shape to ride, they left him there on the farm, rather than taking him off to be cannon-fodder in the Emperor's wars.

Again, the neighbor marveled at his friend's luck, but the old man just shook his head and said, "Maybe. We'll see."

My point? I wasn't aware I need to have one, but I'll give it a shot. Every time I turn on the news, there are 15 items about the war, and 10 of them are correcting or clarifying what had been reported as fact the day or week before. I have no idea what's going to happen in the long term, but there are an infinite number of ways it could go wrong, and just a few ways it could go right. Still, I'm torn between a belief that Bush has raised the bar on how much power a President has to fuck up the world, and a grudging acceptance that it's people like Bush that shape the world, while guys like me stand on the sidelines and say, "Um, excuse me, but it's a little more complicated than you think."

Except I don't really think that's true. The world is a crystal castle, stacked up one infinitesimal deed at a time by billions of lives lived over the years, fragile and beautiful as a desert ecosystem, and Bush is driving a great big hummer right through the middle of the damn thing, blind to the years it will take to repair the damage he's doing.

Jesus, no wonder I'm depressed.

My point? Oh, yeah. It's that the world is built in the long-run, but we live in the short run, and there is scant appeal to me in being just another flea who thinks he knows where the dog is headed.

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