As a child, you extend your arms to embrace the world, remake the planet, meditate upon the solar system, recreate the universe, and chase pure acts through the distinctions of selling in and out.
Somehow in growing up, romances tangle with dreams as desires and loves become each other, knot and ball themselves up with the seers of passion to sell in, not out.
Dreams become poems, essays, novels, songs, buildings, paintings, philosophies, photographs, ballets, plays, films melodies, lyrics and more as their creators fight to sell in, not out.
The artistic impulse attached to beautiful acts, the singularly creative results, and the sum of conceptions that reconstitute reality mandates that the undigested bricks of art cannot be sold, even to eat or pay the rent.
While most art is for sale, the act of art is free even to the highest bidder.
If the soul of art were for sale, there would be no buyer because you cannot put a price on the impulse to create.
For impulses create beauty, and most art is for sale as long as the artist sells in, not out.
One of our greatest fears is to find ourselves on a human scrapheap, a place where we are fated to spend our final years away from our loved ones who, after all, have lives of their own, just as we used to have lives of our own…
lives that stalked stability, protection, and security only to end up one day in the old folks home that scrapheap of human disintegration where we go to die out of the way like cats that crawl under the house to expire hidden from light away from life once on the way up that now is going down.
But that’s just one way to look at it, certainly not the optimistically happy way to look at our inevitable destination of the old folks home, which is not meant to be a human scrapheap of lives no longer burning bright as a floodlight when we were young conquerors of our brave new worlds.
The old folks home actually can be desirable: no stairs, copious amounts of nutritious food and drink, eternal AC/Central Heat at perfect temperatures, timely medical attention, recreation, music, memory care, games of all sorts, socialization, transportation, libraries, WiFi, 24/7 fruit bars, ministers, rabbis, priests, imans, gurus, and other holy and secular reverential guidance professionals, entertainment, intellectual maintenance and even mental development, fat and consistently friendly house dogs and cats, aquariums and aviaries, help with baths, haircuts, perms, and styling, constant laundry services, and countless other services and amenities.
Still, old folks should be forgiven if they feel they are sitting on the scrapheap of their own humanity while the ends of their lives grind down as their children consider which old folks home they themselves will live in with dignity until they crawl under the houses of their souls to die away from the bright eyes of those on the way up.
It was difficult to tell who of the two religious men in the coffeehouse was evangelizing whom.
The younger evangelist did seventy-five percent of the talking and directed the praying and the actual selection of prayers, which were mainly litanies fed through a special prayer APP on his smartphone.
The older evangelist listened to the younger one who was concerned that his ex-wife was teaching his kids more about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy than about the Baby Jesus and that people were prayingThe Bible as an epic prayer rather than knowing what was actually going on in its stories. It was obvious he thought he knew what was going on in the stories as he postulated about loaves and fish, good Samaritans, and camels zipping through the eyes of needles.
Except for the smartphone, the two evangelists were not unlike John the Baptist in a Starbucks.
The older evangelist was concerned about how his son was being coached in lacrosse, which the younger evangelist misheard as ”The Cross.”
“What is the role of the Christian coach?” pondered the older evangelist, who used to coach kids himself until their parents fired him.
Is it to teach kids the basics of the game? Is it to teach kids how to win? Is it to teach kids how to believe in themselves? Is it to teach kids how to have fun?
Turned out the role of the Christian coach, according to the older evangelist, is:
to teach kids the basics of the game; to teach kids how to win; to teach kids how to believe in themselves; and to teach kids how to have fun while playing lacrosse… in the name of Jesus.
The younger evangelist agreed but wanted to know how the kids were to read The Bible.
Turns out the kids would be best coached in reading The Bible by knowing what was going on in The Bible’s stories…stories like changing water into wine, fig trees that ceased bearing figs, and lamps that refused to run out of oil.
Having addressed their concerns, the two evangelists said a prayer the younger one found on his smartphone, finished their coffees, and walked out of Starbucks into the bright new Christian day.
What you want is what we all want, and we all want one great thing, one overwhelmingly great thing to take us through all our scary nights, to make life as magic as it already is, one great thing to wrap it all up in hope like…
Christmas and Easter, spring and summer, The Fourth of July, birth, life and death, The Nobel Peace Prize, Annie Oakley, Babe Ruth, Crazy Horse, Dante, Pasteur, Barnum and Bailey Johnny Weissmuller, Citation and Secretariat, The Great Gatsby, Jim Thorpe, Caruso, Olivier, Ester Williams, Nietzsche, Gene Kelly, Maurice Chevalier, Shakespeare, a good bottle of wine, Howdy Doody, Mr. Green Jeans, Joan of Arc, The Beatles, Christ and Buddha, Dinah Shore, Socrates and Kant, fresh underwear, and all the rest.
That’s all we want, all we can hope for, and all we will surely have if we are overwhelmingly bold beyond all our reasonable doubts and beyond all our unreasonable hopes to take us through every scary night.
It was sad to see the stick in the mud serving no purpose except to beg passively to be picked up and carried to a place away from the mud, perhaps to be taken inside, washed, dried, sanded, varnished, placed upon a mantle over a fireplace, under a painting by Picasso, or maybe by Matisse, or even by Wyeth or Turner to acquire worth through association, its former life as a stick in the mud forever forgotten.
“I’ll be with you in a moment,” she said as she multi-tasked herself and talked through the heads of those in front whom she did not touch in the morning, afternoon, most of the evening and all of the night.
Her day and the days of others came and went, and all the seconds and moments added up to 24-hours, to 365-days, to decades, to lives… and yet she could not give a moment of all her seconds in the world to the world.
At the end of it all, she did not realize the moment had evaporated and she with it. She had not been in the moment, not even for a second.
“Can you give me a moment?” asked the clerk as a customer in the flesh asked him a question about a product he held in his right hand.
The clerk was talking to a disembodied voice on the phone, and the in-the-flesh customer contemplated the rhetorical question of the clerk talking to part of a person on the other end of the line.
Sure, the completely present and presently complete customer had a second or even two or three to spare.
We all have a moment to spare until no time remains, not even a second or two to answer the rhetorical question, “Can you give me a moment?”
At some point the die is cast, a seismic shift rumbles underneath postmodern testament feet, and a decision is made to inflict an abundance of facial hair upon the world, a world unsuspecting of the tangled dalliances of whiskers, a world suddenly thrown back upon itself with the startling outcroppings on faces we see in pictures of Civil War generals, Old Testament patriarchs, and hoards of other men noted for the abundance of the gonadal luxuries that cause outcroppings of tangled hair upon their faces, men looking like deranged Santa Clauses or perhaps Mormon prophets on their inevitable way to Salt Lake City as they trip over Boulder, Colorado, their beards leading the way in and out of deserts and their women’s hearts and vaginal caves and Life’s graces as females across tribes contemplate the plethora of testosterone at the root of their men’s weird beards and how whiskers will bring life to their eggs and legs, life to their children, roughly half of whom will be males who one day will stride across this earth in search of our destinies, their weird beards leading the way.