Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Misim of an Unlit Fire

The much maligned Mr. Rogers. I remember watching his show and not digging it all that much, but it was tv and back then there wasn't much I would shy away from. Hated the Partridge Family but watched it anyway. My favorites were more along the lines of the Brady Bunch, My Three Sons, that show with Buffy and Jody, and the piece de resistance—Gilligan's Island. Forget the endless remakes and reunion movies. The original show was precious.

So is having a job. Those who know me best will scoff. Oh yes, I remember the aftermath of that big interview I granted in Winter 2000 - 2001:

Super Ego: Let's get back to your work status. You have some pretty unorthodox ideas about the notion of working for a living.

BrokenGirl: I have never understood what's so unorthodox about one admiting that she or he doesn't like to work. I simply have never found meaning in the culture of business. Of greater importance to me are values such as love, integrity, freedom … and connecting them with the activities of every day life. Things like, in the words of my illustrious friend Bill, "the perfect kiss, beer and cigarettes, or putting on a clean pair of underwear!"

Super Ego: (surprised) Do you smoke?

BrokenGirl: No.

Super Ego: Why don't you work?

BrokenGirl: I was laid off, okay! It's not a crime, or rather the crime was committed against me, and I am thankful. These past few months have been absolutely glorious. For one thing, they allow me to spend this time with you. (pauses). Look, I have liked very few of the jobs I've held. Either I didn't like the people I worked for or with or I didn't see the point of getting up in the morning to shuffle paper, you know. I'm a dreamer at heart. That's how God made me. I don't see why I shouldn't be left to dream.

Super Ego: What happens to society if dreamers only dream and never commit to anything?

BrokenGirl: Dreams are important. Inner work is more important than outer work sometimes. Sure, yes, somebody's gotta take out the trash, somebody has to run the energy plant, somebody's gotta arrest the poachers, but how we can we expect God's reality to become evident to us when we've superglued blinders to our faces? . . . And as far as the work thing goes, um, I wish I could find stewardship on the job, i.e. a job in which I felt fulfilled because my contributions have meaning to the company or business or organization, which in turn does something good for society.

Super Ego: How about nonprofit work?

BrokenGirl: I knew you'd ask that…. Unfortunately I have bills to pay. Nonprofit is called that for a reason. I need to make some cash.

Super Ego: How about starting a company?

BrokenGirl: I'm not driven enough. We tend to enjoy the things we do best. I'm good at fucking around. I like it.

Super Ego: That makes you sound very immature.

BrokenGirl: (shrugs shoulders)

Super Ego: Do you agree? Disagree? You don't care?

BrokenGirl: I don't care. There's a lot to life. There's a lot to living. There's a lot of pain in the world. We have the luxury of living in a free country, which means you're free to believe whatever you want. You think I'm immature? Why talk you out if it, especially if it turns out to be the truth?

Super Ego: You like to play devil's advocate with yourself.

BrokenGirl: You know what? I'm not trying to be difficult. I'm a water sign and a fire sign. How fucked up is that? I'm constantly dousing myself… I made a tape once, sad blues on one side and happy blues on the other. The "sad" side was called "the pessi-" and the happy side was "the opti-."

Super Ego: (smiling) Is that code for something?

BrokenGirl: (smiles) You could say that. Misim of an unlit fire.

Well that interview seems a lifetime ago. I'm not retracting any comments previously made; but I will say that a lot has happened since then, and I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to make my 9 to 5 as vital to me as my 5 to 9—aside from just paying the bills. It will be a challenge, one my intuitive counselor says is not supposed to be my primary challenge in this lifetime. Well, I already found out that my dream job was the kind that produces a cold sweat, so I'm over that delusion.

I just don't want to be like the guy they found sweeping after the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. His job was to sweep in front of a particular office building, which is what he was doing when the quake struck. He was knocked down as everything crumbled around him. When the volatile earth finally quieted, he surveyed the landscape and found nothing but rubble around him. Then he found his broom and began sweeping in front of the heap that had once been the office. The rescuers were astonished when they found him in an area where almost nobody had survived and futher amazed to see him vigorously working the broom. When they asked him what he was doing, he told them he was a sweeper. He was just doing his job.

I don't wanna be that guy. Nothing against the broom—I actually love sweeping—but f--- the chains. I start my new job tomorrow, and I really will go forth with the mindset that it's precious. But I will also have memorized my cheat('s) sheet:

How to Live for One's Self:

1. reasonable faith over blind mind (intuition trumps thought)
2. never expect validation (plunder onward)

Quest for life, here I come. I'll keep you posted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm sure i still have that blues tape :-) rl

9:55 AM  
Blogger mpho said...

If you want to watch two stunning documentaries on the blues, check out volumes two (The Soul of a Man) and four (Warming by the Devil's Fire) of the PBS series The Blues, directed by Wim Wenders and Charles Burnett, respectively. The rest of the seven-part series, produced by Martin Scorcese, is middling at best, but the two aforementioned are incredible. See www.pbs.org/theblues for more info. They're also available through Netflix.

P.S. You best still have that tape. It's a collector's item for sure! ;)

12:19 AM  
Anonymous SFC SKI said...

posted by SFC SKI on blogcritics.org on February 11, 2005 04:54 AM:
If you can make a living doing something you like, more power to ya.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Angela Chen Shui said...

posted by Angela Chen Shui on blogcritics.org on February 11, 2005 05:26 PM:
Enjoy your new job and congrats!

12:25 AM  

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