Rendered Fat Content


Pier Leone Ghezzie: The Prodigal Son (c. 1720–30)

" … looking for some more Forgivenness to replace it."

If anything, age, maturity, further deepens my sense of inadequacy. What might have begun as a quiet stumble has by now established itself as a repeated pattern, a part of my personality, no longer merely transitive information but established definition. I still hold aspirations, though I mostly successfully hold them at bay. I do not wake up most days with any renewed sense that I might outgrow some long ago established shortcoming. I usually wake up accepting who and what I seem to have become, not often aspiring to overcome or get beyond anything. Some days' though, I'm tempted to ignore the preponderance of evidence and believe again, if only for a few fleeting moments, that I might hold different fates, untapped abilities, long hidden skills that might liberate me from some long-standing embarrassing shortcoming. These beliefs almost never deliver on their innocent promises, and leave me nurturing what I might call Forgivenness for myself again.

I think of Forgivenness as the self-bestowed state allowing acceptance of apparent fate.
Nobody else can give me this pass, if only because nobody else could really comprehend the depth of my trespasses. I fall short in so many ways that my days seem largely overflowing with my personal failings. Most of these hardly qualify as news. I already know for fairly certain what I won't be able to successfully complete and I'm no longer in any sort of competition to get over anything. I see these opportunities to fall a little short coming and I usually duck without cringing too much, thanks in part to my growing facility with Forgivenness. I've previously forgiven that one, so it's little stretch to remember and forgive myself again and again. Life in older age seems to require an endless font of Forgivenness.

My sins are almost exclusively of the ordinary variety, often having to do with my faulty memory. I've long struggled with all things mechanical and i've mostly grown beyond aspiring to somehow outgrow or overcome this shortcoming. The standard means by which mechanical things are constructed parses incompletely for me. In the unlikely event that I might remember the old Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty injunction, I will still find myself wondering, "Left related to what?" and being unable to answer. Repainting that last strip of wall, I had to take down the downspout, an operation which injected mechanical considerations into the operation. This small addition slowed progress considerably as I had to study, learn, and somehow gain facility with sheet metal screw technology, a new one for me. I eventually got to the point where I could fake that skill like I suspect the original installers had, but it took forever and severely bruised my ego in the process. I limped away from that encounter holding Forgivenness over the fresh wound.

My friend Mark, who visited over last weekend, is a mathematician and a PhD physicist. He often parses his experiences using mathematical reasoning and he'd shared a video explaining some application of Bayes' Law, thinking it might clarify his thinking. As usual, it demonstrated the chasm between how he and I create understanding. I could look at formulas for months without them saying much of anything to me. The video was beautifully produced, but in a foreign language. I felt moved, though, by that experience to try again to achieve a long-standing aspiration, when I saw that the same teacher had produced a series promising to explain calculus so intuitives could comprehend it. I lasted three full installments (of fifteen) before the symbolic representation overran my understanding and I felt more confused than when I began. I recognized that this was not the teacher's fault, but my own. I'd innocently induced the same experience I'd had in seventh grade when first introduced to the proposition that A might somehow represent something other than A, and rigorously. The simple paradox never grokked, though I have mostly soothed that lack with a thick layer of Forgivenness.

I could produce a long list of evidence that I live a not quite fully human existence, but that was not my intent in writing this story. My own inabilities do not extend to everything, and I'm gratefully able to get by with considerable support from The Muse and my friends, who also seem forgiving. I understand that my Forgivenness remains my own damned business which utterly depends upon my own acceptance. Tossed out of that Calculus class at university, I might have let that failure ruin me, but I found another way to navigate through the curriculum and ultimately graduate. I never aspired to design bridges, anyway. Stymied out of becoming a writer by my apparent inability to type with more than two and a half fingers, I smeared some Forgivenness on that shortcoming and got on with writing, anyway, though still a persistently failed typist. My most recent failure to figure out how to disassemble that long-broken weedeater still aches a little. It seems that I probably should have been able to figure out where all the screws were hidden, even if the designer seemed to have tried to hide them from ever being discovered. I recognize that it was a mechanical thing and as such not really something I've ever been any good at repairing. I tossed it into the trash while looking for some more Forgivenness to replace it.


Forgivenness Friday
What a curious story I just passed to you this morning. I was thinking that perhaps Fridays could become
Forgivenness Fridays, designating the necessity of forgiving my previous week's trespasses to assist my moving on. Whatever happened, happened. Friday mornings, I might scrape my shoes so that I won't track too much of my past week into whatever comes next. Lord knows, I drag enough forward without adding last week's residue on top of it. I have not forgotten about it, though. I move forward knowing full well where I succeeded and where I failed. My road's not straight or necessarily narrow, but forward.

I began my writing week demonstrating one of my more prominent shortcomings in
SheetMetalScrewed. "There's always a trick. The experts long ago lost awareness of the trick and of its uniqueness and of the absolute necessity of understanding it."

I next explored the great mystery of
Affinity. "Every time we get together, the same patterns emerge, almost identical, always unique."

My most popular piece this week came in the form of a greeting from the destination in
Winering. "I might at times appreciate how I've already arrived and not really in any great need to proceed on to anywhere else. After all, we already live in a destination now, and always did."

I next indulged in a little literary whining in
DsKnees. "My greatest vulnerability might always be my tendency to ignore my greatest vulnerability, whatever it turns out to be."

I disclosed the kernel of my personal philosophy in a piece I called
TheMovie. "A life, any life, might amount to some form of believable fiction, an allegorical interpretation intended to edify and occasionally enlighten."

I reported that I was not sloughing off, but
Recuperating. "In the middle of it, Recuperating feels indistinguishable from slacking. The inactivity seems identical."

I ended my writing week older and perhaps even a little bit wiser with
Paced. "It probably more qualifies as timeless effort than time bound, anyway, so focusing with the end in mind might just materially mis-categorize it and thereby induce arrhythmia. Slow and steady sustains a pace."

Another week of wounding and recovery, seven more stories begun and finished. I usually catch myself wondering on Friday mornings which story I personally liked the best. This inquiry seems the same as asking which offspring was best (both!) and which spouse (The last!). It almost beggars responding and elicits precisely what was expected, and therefore not really worth asking. I know which story received the most looks and surmise, perhaps wrongly, that that one was most popular. Other explanations could also suffice. I engage in a great mystery here. I disclose deep and shady secrets. For what purpose? This was never a commercial enterprise. I'm simply sharing stories. If I knew their significance I'd have no reason to even consider sharing them. Thank you for following along. Thank you very, very much.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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