My Ramblings

Todd Bit

Image   On the off day, we all marched from our stations to Todd’s Bar where the company gave out food and provided measured sound and intoxicating beverages. We were massaged with debauchery, canned and bottled, served up in small gulps, and we looked long at the windows and talked hard to each other. We swelled with pride at our fifty or so carefully mastered routines, and boasted of our perceived statuses. We all strained once or more every few beats to glance with haste over at Todd’s table, where he sat surrounded by the females and built their enthusiasm with promises we couldn’t fully hear, prepping them for the unleashing.

We’d grow bestial and furious, ravaged with Todd’s foul drink, and stand eventually like a pack of hungry fish who planned to soak up at Todd’s shore. Until he’d let them among us, the females.

By then always we were primed with his offerings, and of insubordinate mind that, looking back, was clearly a function of Todd’s manipulations. We would compete among each other, and build teams and rivalries between little handfuls of us, rallied behind some hopeful bargain for a chosen group of the females. Often groups were led outside by the Handlers, where they would resolve their conflicts by flailing or ranting, and one would slink away shallow while another lapsed into the arms of a female to be lavished until morning and awake again in his cold steel shaft lonely and hungry for the work to be done behind the throbbing machines.

This evening Todd had released the females without ceremony and looked straight at me before standing. This happened quickly, and Todd merely vanished as he always had and I thought no more of it for many weeks. The night finished as the Off Night usually did, and soon I was days along, then weeks… and clearly it is now Now. As it should be.

No matter, this all took a while and I’m only just beginning.

The factory is a mile long wall with people inside it working machines. There are doors, but not many of them. They haven’t been used. The sky is equal on either side of the wall, but we breathe only what comes through the Todd Vents borne on the winds of motorized fans. Our collapse is only an empty battery, so we are never lost. It’s been all of us for long. Sometimes rearranged, sometimes left with no battery at all on a shelf for a term, and sometimes we flicker and pulsate and even laugh and drink and yell. All of this is borne of the great Todd Batteries we toil to manufacture for ourselves and for the world.

And one day I walked out of the job and I looked back at what I’d done and evaluated it and it made me shiver and tremble and quake and all of what I’d worked for seemed so trivial for a second. I thought about how the tree in our yard lost its leaves over and over, and I buckled down to talk about something related to my goals and our goals and what we pursued, but all I ended with was Todd and nothing else was anything but Todd, and in stormy regions people sheltered with Todd and in soft nights lovers dwelt with Todd and in the rain of Spring, almighty and towering, there was only the song of Todd and what he might wreak with his young and shaven face.

But I pierced him with my eyes, and the fog everywhere lifted and trees shook. All of us rejoiced but then we sighed and sat back to our work. Always back to our work. Because we could not bear to be frigid and humble wild people with wilderness in our bones. We must instead strive to be humble wicked things with carefully penciled goals and a pattern to our striving.

We could lay back in the sun on our humble vacations, but never could we shed the fog that withered our every word and made our bones shiver in the blurry rays of morning sun…

My Ramblings

A short list of ways to find joy.

Wear not the shoes given by the rhyming yammering Chuck with his Tide cleaned suit

Disregard the contempt of bored and boring factory laborers who fail

Embrace the field worker who ignores

Stand in line at the grocery store and grin, try to get everyone jacked about what fortune you all have

Quit bitching about the weather when you see it on TV

Enjoy fresh produce

Be the idiot cheering in the alley when the sirens go off and for the first time in five years, the rain goes sideways across the little basement window you peek out of with your battery powered radio

Lick your toast if you want, there is no book about how to eat it that has widespread support

Seal away parts of what you see and let them out when you are camping

Sleep on the ground more than once in a while

Grow suspicious of beds

Gear up for an imaginary epic adventure

Tell your brain to shut up the moment you wake and lay there a moment appreciating the song of birds and traffic

Wash your face with bare hands and water, and throw your head back to laugh now and then with wet hair

Grow tired when you need to, then sleep

Gain hunger and exhaust it with ceremony and reverence

Help somebody carry a bunch of heavy shit as randomly as possible, and turn away any reward or compensation, do not explain. Do this at least once

If you see somebody very angry begin to fight an innocent, stand ninety degrees from his line of attack and fire the heel of your foot into his knee. Then stoop to offer aid, and transport the villain to a doctor if needed, but do not anger at any point

Reassure any victims and give any bread you have

Give fresh fruit as a gift, give vegetables as a gift

Eat the flesh of any animal with quiet gratitude and ceremony, do not protest the death of animals by sending their flesh to a landfill. Embrace a diet that is in harmony with you, and embrace the way of living that builds the most hope, revere any life you encounter

Shower fully clothed, and hang the outfit to dry, our water is precious

Help somebody clean up a mess they made

If somebody greets you, hand them pineapples

If somebody angers you, devote your immediate attention to the fundamentals of arithmetic until the shadow passes then say something hopeful and positive, but guard your chin and monitor their knees

Play to the ego of any policeman, or any armed personnel

Agree with one politician, somewhere

Respect a mother

Protect a child

Disagree with what you must, openly

Discover your faults and evict them. Never stop doing this regardless of its apparent futility

Sit with your pets in the dark, watch what they watch, and try to smell or move as they do

Paint, draw, or otherwise find some way to allow that part of you to speak up

Read a book from time to time, but don’t be a dick about it

Practice a skill, and always marvel at any display of practiced skill

Be floored by talent, and find out what your own talents are

Make a life deliberately, whatever its form

Write down things you’d like to do

Write to friends

Write to strangers

Accept charity

Give charity

Show your teeth, in anger or in joy

Floss your teeth

Wait patiently, and listen to the dentist

Turn off the water while you brush

Be decent

Define decency through your own effort

Carefully, over many years.

But don’t be a dick about any of it.