Dropped in the state of imaginary grace
I made a pilgrimage to save this human race
Never comprehending the race had long gone by"
--old Modern English song
Today I got a bit of spammed e mail which encouraged me to access untold millions of United States grants and available funds. I felt the contents a bit parsimonious, because every day I receive a confidential e mail from a soul in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, offering to split countless millions with me, if only I will provide my confidential information to the mailer.
We have in the little space of garden bed foliage in front of our home a plant called a "mint marigold". In the way of such things, it's neither a mint nor a marigold. But it is due to bloom later this month or during next month. I can reach down and scratch its leaves, and this mildy minty, definitely earthy scent attaches to my fingers. When I open a junk e mail, nothing real except greed and deceit wafts from the scented e-transmission.
Some days the world seems such a toxic place. I wake each morning to news of suicide bombs and military action. I flip to the local sports radio when NPR gets boring or talks of graphic violence, but frequently must surf away in disgust when the commentators make racist or homophobic jokes. If I covered sports, I think I'd focus on things like passing attacks and yardage per carry. But that's just me.
Yesterday I went to the Free Internet Chess Server (www.freechess.org) and played several games against a fellow I don't know. I won each game, by playing simple, solid chess, heading into middle games in which my pieces were better placed, or endgames in which I could force a pawn through to become a queen.
Sometimes I think that amid the toxicity and the absurdity, one can only play one's own game, and
not get so caught up on 89 billion dollar aid requests and talking heads about Washington trivia.
I sometimes think it's about playing the game more simply. It's so tempting to just retreat or turn the king over. It's like being wrapped in gauze, and not really wanting to see what's out there. But ultimately, in surroundings so difficult, one must do what one thinks matters.
I don't mean that one must impractically follow one's whims, which to me is just another self-destructive escape. I mean instead that one must do the things one can to be whom one wishes to be. Every person is dealt his or her own Crazy 8s hand. One has to play one's hands to try to get done the things that one wishes to do. Otherwise, they'll bog one down with airline passenger statistics and celebrity gossip. Otherwise, that poem will go unwritten and that education will go unpursued and that debt will go unpaid and one can invent one's Hell on Earth.