Books Matter if You Want a Real Life
What in the world is a secure life and why does it matter? After sitting around in coffee shops and hotels for half of my life, you'd think I would know how to handle the obvious, the obvious being a well-situated camera in the break room somewhere near the copy machine. But that's not really how the narrative goes because when all is said and done the truth is as real as time itself and not nearly as bendable or mysterious. Back when I was begging others to "get to the root of the animosity" I was still trying to be polite and pretend I didn't know who it was, but that went away with four months of my pay, something you just don't get back by "starting over." So, what is the basic problem? The problem is a set of book ends, both short and round, one light, one dark, one loud, one stupid. That's how it started, an innocent discussion about literature, and an immature, fit-throwing drama queen.
I watched the hair tossing, and the strutting about with the cellphone in the dark, angry face, and I kept to myself, but the harm was already done--the child came back to school, limping. I held an illustrated children's story in my hand, and the kids were having fun. They were listening and laughing (I'm good at reading aloud) and they were happy at peace, criss cross, applesauce. I sat at my desk with the mission statement taped to the wall over my head and I watched ShortnStupid bobble like a fish on a line, and I could hear the tap-tap-tap of Chronically Sick coming down the hall, and all I wanted to do was crawl under the desk because I felt shame for both of them; the phoniness of it all was just too much for me to bare. The scene went one clip too far: lies too embarrassing for me to hear; my face shriveled in disgust; down my shoulders did sink, and I remember wondering how those people had risen so high; why were the expectations so low?
The expectations are still no higher for all of them, but the standard is different for quite a few others; that's where the question of a secure life is raised, and why does it matter? It matters because the camera sees more than you think it does; the scope is much broader because the audience goes on forever, and ever. And once you expose the pretense for what it is, just empty pretense, the hate blows off of them like hot gas, their image deflated. You can take it on if you want, but a wise person would pass.