Wednesday, April 2, 2008

This One's For the Humans -- Cheers!


I often like to remind my parents that it's not my fault that I'm alive, therefore the mistakes I make aren't, at their core, my fault. I'm not sure when this will start being bogus, and they'll tell me to shut up. They're nice parents -- they may never tell me to shut up.

But think about this big circular doohickey that we call life. Psychologists and other liars tell us that we don't have any memories before we're three. Maybe this is the case so that we don't have to go through so much shock from entering the world from the womb and from somewhere else before that. It's bizarre that all I've ever known is being alive, but there was never a start to it. I slowly faded into the knowledge of my existence, and always accepted it as fact from the dawn of my memory. I've only ever known being trapped inside this shell that everyone was calling "Theresa" and accepted it. There was no switch over, no change, no sudden adoption of an identity. I've only ever grown into myself and been mystified by this fact.


So we're all these babies stumbling around the earth, begging our legs to hold us up, for no reason we're sure of, just knowing that this is what we do. We start talking, never knowing that we're doing it, until after we've acquired a remarkably sophisticated knowledge of our language. We start interacting with the world around us, without realizing we are, and with all these huge giants staring down at us, poking our cheeks, yelling at us to stop crying, and telling us that the giant glob on the spoon is, in fact, an airplane that is trying to land in our mouths. (Later in life, we realize that this was all a huge lie, and that airplanes are something far different and far more confusing. Shock from this realization leads millions of adults to be terrified of flying for the rest of their lives.) We wear whatever clothes are pasted onto our bodies, and don't worry about them. All we think about is food, pain, mommy, and why these scary and friendly giants are insisting that we make our stomach aches go away in a large porcelain circle -- it just makes them so happy.

This all goes well for awhile. Then we start looking at ourselves in the mirror. The world has gotten a lot smaller, and the giants aren't as big as they used to be. They aren't as wise as they used to be, and we learned that just because they told us to do something, we don't need to do it. The clothes we are wearing start being awkward, and we wonder what we're supposed to wear now that we have choices. We realize that what we wear says something about who we are, which is most confusing since we really have no idea what we are. The other stumbling babies the same size as us start telling us that we're doing things wrong and that they're better than us, and usually the only way to feel better is start telling other stumbling babies that they really, really suck.

We see all these other stumbling babies, and giants of all sizes start kissing each other and talking incessantly about love, and some other kind of three letter word that we're really confused about because everyone seems so sheepish about it. Some people insist that it is equivalent to love, and other people argue it is the antithesis of love. But apparently, this awkward secret which no one is particularly open about is responsible for our existence, and therefore, years and years ago, our parents did something they don't want to talk about, and because of that, here we are, confused about life and wondering what's going to happen next.

We trudge and trudge and trudge through life, making one mistake after another, thinking that maybe our mistakes will slip under the radar, until our parents, friends, school, bank and government start telling us that they know we messed up big time, and it's time for us to pay the penalty. It's good for us to pay this penalty, apparently. If we want to be alive and sharing our experiences of the world with people, we need to be responsible. We can't be stumbling babies anymore. We have to be giants, we have to make money, we have to start having this three-letter word responsibly so that maybe, someday, we can have stumbling babies of our own. This will make our life satisfactory, and maybe someday, if we do as we're told, we can start telling people what to do, and be happy. (But the secret of the secret, the biggest secret of all, that no one is saying, is that no one ever stops being a stumbling baby. Giants don't ACTUALLY exist!)

We start telling people what to do, and how to behave, though we really have no idea what we're talking about. No one can be mad at us about this though, because we all do it -- it simply has to be done. It has to be done because nothing else seems to work, and we're not sure why it doesn't just...doesn't. Like so many other things about the lives of us, we just do it because it's done, and it's too complicated to do otherwise.

Eventually, our bodies that have been our cage and constant companion all these years stop working as well. Walking up stairs becomes harder, we can no longer create more babies, and all the people we've been friends with stop existing. Their bodies die, and whatever it was that makes them "them" is gone. A lot of people have ideas about what happens to "them", but no one generally agrees on anything. It leaves us feeling scared and worried about what will happen, since we depend on our cage for our existence, and sometimes we don't care about it all that much.

And then we die. Those who have gone before us don't tell us exactly what happens, probably because it's a huge surprise in the sky, and they don't want to ruin it for us.

We start never knowing we're alive, and usually not realizing it until it's too late, and then die. And we're supposed to be entirely okay with this.


I get scared sometimes.
But since no one is really looking, or paying that much attention very often, I may as well choose to be excited about it. I'll let you know what else I find out.

1 comment:

HopelessCynic said...

You amaze me in a wide variety of ways.