"To keep me from getting the big head," wrote the Apostle Paul to his homies at Corinth » "Because of all these super-cool things that God has been showing me .. there was given me » a pain-in-the-ass » a messenger of the Evil one himself, sent to chew on my butt .. like an insatiable alligator."
[ the Rad Third Millennium translation, loosely paraphrased ]
"There was given me.. Now, I may not be an apostle, but I most certainly know that feeling.
It is not a feeling you get after a week, or a month. Or even a year. Takes *years* to get there. Hope springs eternal. To a point.
For years, well-meaning people have been telling me,
It's gonna get better. To which I always reply »
I've been hearing that for years.
I repeatedly asked God to get this thing off me. But he said..."
» Resignation & Hungry Gators
Complete this sentence » No good deed...
Many different explanations exist as to what exactly God's response there means.
But you must admit it doesn't sound as cool as (God saying) »
I'll handle it for you.
My point is .. I've reached a point -- after half a decade -- where I finally accept the fact that hungry gators are a part of my life .. and they really like the taste of my butt. Hear that 'chomping' sound? Yeah, that's my butt you hear.
An academic might term this feeling » resignation. An investor » capitulation. I'm resigned to the fact that the feeling of 'Incoming!' will never end. Not for good, anyway. So I might as well get used to it (.. which, unfortunately, I have).
Don't get me wrong. The final outcome is always positive. Good things always follow bad. (So far.) So I no longer freak out like I used to. But it's just so surprising .. how many dang alligators there are in the world.
And having your butt gnawed by a toothy reptile is never a very pleasant experience .. no matter how well you're able to spin the uncomfortable sensation.
» The Elusive Bean Burrito
After we finished splitting the first one, he wanted a second. But I only had 72 cents left, so I broke out the plastic (.. for a 99-cent burrito).
The girl swipes my card.
Denied, she says.
No way, I said.
I got 20 bucks in there. I checked just yesterday. Swipe it again.
Same result. She hands me the card. Long line behind me. Pretty embarrassing.
Okay, I said.
Lemme call my bank.
Did you order the burrito, dad?
••• today's entry continues here below •••
» Financial Vaporization
Called my bank. They said,
There was a legal action on your account yesterday. All the money has been taken. (Every last penny.)
My balance was $0.00. And my account is now closed (.. cuz they close automatically on zero balance).
Like I said, those gators are insatiable. (If not a little sadistic.) But the burrito is the only thing bothering me at the moment.
Not the first time this has happened. Nor the second. Or the third. (You get the picture.) The last time was just a few months ago. (July, I think.) I know the drill, but it still suks.
But when you can't buy your boy a 99-cent burrito .. that suks pretty bad. Me? Heck, I could stand to lose a few pounds. But him? Doesn't seem right. But what to do now? Cuz 72 cents ain't gonna get me to the end of the month.
[ If you ever need an operation, I can get you a good deal. ]
Hard for me to ask for $help .. as it is for most people, I'd imagine (.. especially all you narcissistic ego-maniacs).
Hard to depend on anybody. For anything. Mom told me she raised me "to be independent" (.. whatever that's supposed to mean). Maybe that's why I'd rather stick needles in my eyes. (Could it be mere pride?)
Asking for money (because you need to) is horribly embarrassing .. especially in our capitalistic society .. where our value as a human being is largely defined by the size of our bank accounts & the car we drive. And where the first question most people ask is »
What do you do? [ The subtext here is » If you have nothing, you are nothing. ]
The experience is humiliating, demeaning & humbling. (All that stuff that's supposed to build character. Sir, yes sir!)
» The Abyss
It's like looking into the abyss and seeing no other option but to jump.
From a standpoint of sheer psychological distress .. it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. We're talking heart-pounding hyper-ventilation.
I'd rather go a week without food. (If it were just me, I would.)
What do I say when he answers? The words don't exactly come flowing out .. of their own accord. No, you have to make them.
"Hi, bro. I uh, I'm having a little trouble, er, with my checking account. I have a paycheck coming, but not until the end of the month. I have 72 cents. Can you send me, uh, 50 bucks .. to tide me over?"
Of course my brother is very cool »
Yes. Absolutely. No problem. I understand. I'll send it out first thing in the morning. You sure a personal check is okay? You need it faster?
We chat a little. My bother is the funnist person I know. It's like he gets ahold of your tickle spot and won't let go.
This is hard, I say before hanging up.
You make it easy. I'm feeling the love.
I understand, he says.
No problem. Been there, done that. Glad to help.
» Western Union to the Rescue
Ten minutes later, bro calls back.
Mail can get lost, he says. I'm gonna wire you the money. Western Union. I'll call back in 15 minutes. Need to drive down the hill.
Twenty minutes later he called back & said:
Wasn't worth it for me to drive all the way down the hill for only 50 bucks. So I sent you 250. It was the wife's idea. The guy here says the funds will be available for pick up in 15 minutes. They had two options: 24 hours and 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes cost only $8 more, so I did that.
Let's go get that burrito, pun'kin.
This isn't the first time I had to ask for money. Tho it's the first time bro used Western Union. Last time was the beginning of last year .. for court-ordered co-parenting classes, called Kids First .. for parents who can't get along. That cost $300. It's never easy to ask for money.
After he sent the first check, I tried to repay by sending $25 each month. Bro called.
What are you doing?he says.It wasn't a loan. You can keep sending them [the checks] if you want, but I'm just gonna keep tearing them up. So you might as well save the postage.
» Priorities & Self Knowledge
Best part of my week comes when I arrive outside the Bug's kindergarten classroom .. to pick him up .. and see the way he lights up when he spots me.
[ Hey, where'd all the hungry gators go? ]
Sometimes he doesn't even wait for the teacher to call his name. He comes blasting out like a missile. (We had a little chat about that.)
A smile forms on my face (all by itself) as I approach his classroom. Lots of parents there, but none smiling quite so broadly. So he is not the only happy camper.
I've also learned much about myself. For example, I learned that I'm far more resilient than I ever dreamed possible. I learned that some people think I have a Zen attitude. And I know what a cannonball-to-the-chest feels like (.. not good). Still trying to recover from that one.
So today, I am pretty wiped out .. physically, mentally, emotionally. Did I say 'physically'? Feel like I'm starting to get sick. Two Advils so far. They don't seem to be working.
P.S. - At kindergarten, the Bug gives his "girlfriend" a hug every day before leaving. So cute. (I see no other kindergarteners hugging.)
Later, the little girl's mom asks the Bug his name. The mom then asks her little girl (sweetly),Is this the boy you've been telling me all about?
She's a cutie. A cute little girl is going home and telling her mom "all about" him. =) [ I've tried to be affectionate .. despite. ] He makes her laugh. Adorable.
Maybe related » Cirque du Soleil & a Confession (March 14, 2010)