Rendered Fat Content


Laundress. This fragment is an artwork by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin
"As long as I could maintain this slight fiction, I remained golden."

However long any effort takes to accomplish its aspiration, the accomplishment seems to manifest in a moment. Before that point, it's not quite done and after, it's clearly over and I'm on toward the next enqueued accomplishment. The weeks of preparation leading up to Christmas will condense into a single moment on the blessed morn. We work so hard to achieve something as if it might bring salvation, but the best it ever, ever brings seems to be a quick moment of satisfaction. Immediately after, the internal critic probably resumes, and later, the hamster wheel starts squeaking again. Living seems largely soundtracked by the squeaking wheel that no lubricant could ever adequately grease. Peace comes in a moment, though it departs just as quickly.

Some of us, myself included, find our fulfillments in starting fresh stuff.
The elation I experience heading out on an adventure usually far exceeds any feelings I might encounter along the way or even coming back home. Likewise, the perfect essay exists for me at the moment of conception, when I make a connection between idea and desire. The effort always goes downhill from there, with my principal occupation being not to let the danged thing slide too awfully far down that hill. None ever end on top.

Whether fulfillment comes at the beginning or the end, it seems that it brings with it an endorphin rush about ten thousand times the strength induced by any squeaky wheel work. We're addicts for this stuff. Those idle souls without any empowering sense of where they're going experience depression by the mere absence of the promise of receiving this great gift. Those who grow to feel discarded and useless seem to lose the passionate sense that a reward awaits after (or just before initiating) an effort. That anticipation lasts much longer, and I might well characterize this as the biggest 'thing' in every effort. Maintaining that drooling sense of an impending reward seems to more than spice a life. It renders us largely deaf to the endlessly squeaking wheel accompanying our dances. It seems to encourage us to bloom.

Scut work seems unavoidable, but then so does this sense of fulfillment. Anyone can talk them self out of any sense of possibility, but work seems to always carry some potential for fulfillment, whether actually sensed or discarded as an impossibility. Can't really blame the work. I learned this lesson while slaving over steaming sinks as The Pot Wizard, responsible for washing the endless stream of crusted pots kitchen chefs produced. I made up a story which eventually grew to become a legend, the compelling history that made my sense of fulfillment impossible to avoid. I was not merely cleaning up others' messes, but creating an order all my own, an arrangement too subtle for any brutish chef to appreciate. I appreciated myself for my cleverness and skill as well as for my resilience in the face of endless streams of burned on little accidents. As long as I could maintain this slight fiction, I remained golden. Each evening, at the end of my shift, a quiet moment of fulfillment washed over me and within that moment, I experienced a truly SmallThing, but perhaps a much larger than it might appear thing. Mornings, I would not drag myself into that job, but warmly anticipate the fulfillment awaiting me within it.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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