Rendered Fat Content


Attributed to
Henry Fuseli: Perseus Starting from the Cave of the Gorgons (c. 1816)

"I should never again, ever be mistaken for anybody's spring chicken."

I somehow got the impression that beginnings and endings exclusively—or almost exclusively—came in matched pairs, with precisely one ending for each beginning and a single starting point for every ending. This notion could plausibly be further from the truth, but it needn't travel that far to expose its underlying fallacy. We've each seen multiple endings spawned from a single humble starting point, and many beginnings merge into a single ending. Commonly, something started finds itself interrupted, its routine disrupted, only to re-begin again; not usually to wholesale entirely start all over, but perhaps backtrack a little before trying to slip back into an established rut. These ReBeginnings always seem awkward, for it certainly seemed that the established routine had become well-engrained and unforgettable before the disruption. Some remembering with attendant struggling still seems evident. Nothing flawlessly re-begins.

Further, psychologists and metaphysicists insist that humans require disruption in their routines, however paradoxical this notion might seem.
We become stale in practice, and regardless of what the efficiency experts insist, we become less productive when we solely stick to reductive repetition. We need disruption of the kind viral infections provide, just enough to gently knock us off our self-importance and throw us into some form of recovery. A routine recovered becomes more robust than one never disrupted, for we become too unthinking and mindless unless occasionally thrown off our balance. Covid has been elbowing its way into the territory traditionally policed by colds and flus, though it's brought more disruption than historically thought beneficial. It carelessly kills too many when it was just meant to reawaken. It proves terrifying when it was just supposed to serve as a reminder so its victims could rediscover their appreciations.

Covid got me after I went playing in traffic. I let down my guard and pretended I was in charge, and I suffered the usual punishment of humans and fools. I might not have learned my lesson, but I'm learning. I found remorse. I prayed for forgiveness and salvation but found nobody else to launch a prayer toward since I'd infected myself. I, cast as an unlikely diety then, could find no ready response. I found remorse. I wallowed there, knowing for sure that I'd damned myself. I accepted my punishment as just. I'd known better, just like every human before me had, and just like every human following me eventually will. We wound ourselves first before seeking somebody else to heal us. We accept our punishment as fundamentally just but unfair, no more or less than promised. Our trespasses will very likely eventually do away with us.

This time, a next morning came. I woke feeling rested and refreshed, reborn relative to how I'd felt over the prior ninety-six hours. My bedclothes a shambles, but no less recoverable of a mess than my Publishing initiative had become, I found my recently abandoned morning routine. The cats remembered and showed me the ropes I'd dropped. Molly, our current skittish spinster cat, takes to the kitchen table to accept head strokes and a small pile of kitty treats, demonstrating how joie de vivre looks in practice. Max, scratching at the door opening, ready to head out into the morning to dig a trench halfway to China and swallow deep draughts of murky pond water.

I was present then to witness something reawakening. It was not my former routine returning, but one that its own absence had changed. I could not for the life of anyone remember how I had been doing what I had been repeating almost automatically before. I'd lost four days of production to disruptive Covid. I have no way of knowing yet how much I will eventually gain from that experience. I claim to have learned my lesson. I will for sure not be forgetting to wear my mask once I'm allowed back out in public again, but then I suspect that I will, at some point, once again forget. I'm human. Part of my mission here must be to disrupt my mission here and to eventually find some way to cooperate in my own demise. How could it be otherwise? None of any of this was ever intended to continue forever. I return as if a newborn again this morning, but any casual witness should notice the shopworn tool marks common to anyone RebeginningAgain. I should never again, ever be mistaken for anybody's spring chicken.

Now, where was I
JustWhen I was tucking into Publishing?

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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