Rendered Fat Content


Johann Sadeler: De mensheid voor de zondvloed
[Humanity before the flood] (1581 - 1585)

"Excess is not synonymous with success …"

In New York City, to celebrate The Muse's campaign victory, we're faced with how we might go about Reveling in the success. The traditional wine, women, and song won't work with The Muse involved, so we settle for wine, dinner, and song. The musicals we're scheduled to see should adequately cover the song part of our Reveling. We discover that we've booked a hotel on the fabled Tin Pan Alley, an auspicious sign if ever I've encountered one—the wine we handle with a decent Aglianico, purchased in a lovely little Italian bistro. We're seated in a basement annex, perfectly out of the usual distracting noise and bustle, with a waitress whose accent I cannot begin to wade through. Fortunately, The Muse makes sense of her sentences, and we settle in for a celebratory feast.

After a day of fasting on the cross-country flight, we're famished.
Sleep deprivation contributed to a general surreality to the proceedings. The Italian menu further complicated our response. We quickly ordered too much food without realizing it until the Primi finally arrived to find us already saturated. There was a time, I recall, when I could consume pretty much anything at all without remorse. I've always been a careful, if not particularly picky eater, refusing some choices strictly on moral or ethical grounds. I was never the indiscriminate eater, but under the influence of Reveling or something, in this instance, we both kept ordering. The Muse could not resist the Black Truffle pasta dish, and I couldn't resist ordering anything. I almost ordered something from every category: appetizer, salad, side, pasta, and Primi.

After all, we were celebrating. But what were we celebrating? The successful campaign, yes, but nothing about the campaigning had very significantly changed us. We were little different than we were when we started. The campaign might have served simply as a medium to express ourselves. There we were, veterans of a successful campaign, quietly punishing ourselves in the name of reward. We couldn't seem to help ourselves. The meatball appetizer was unlike anything I'd ever find near home. Same story with the pasta. Ditto the sea bream, perfectly prepared with Meyer lemon, olives, and sauteed spinach. We ordered to-go boxes and waddled back to the hotel.

Along the way, I wondered just what we had been doing. We'd intended to be Reveling, celebrating the great victory we'd apparently engineered. We were a party of two then, stumbling back to our hotel room, feeling more nauseous than successful. We admitted that our judgment had left us after the transit, but something different might have happened. I suspect that every success has had to learn from this sort of experience. The first Reveling iteration often involves over-doing, of excess in the face of success. The lesson eventually becomes clearer to our erstwhile revelers that success can only involve so much of this without undermining its intentions. Limits impose themselves, and Revelers eventually embrace less damaging measures. Excess is not synonymous with success, and it seems we each need to learn to tell the difference, usually by first exceeding some reasonable limit before redefining what success must mean for us.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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