Rendered Fat Content


" …the great and often surprising gifts …"

I can't remember a situation in my life so far where I entered feeling fully prepared. I really could have studied harder, dressed more appropriately, brought the proper tools, shined my shoes, and remembered to eat breakfast first. My entrances teeter on the edge of pratfalls. My exits, inevitably untimely. I move like a Pachinko ball, bouncing off perfectly foreseeable barriers. When I sit down to write, I break into a little sweat, unsure, even after beginning, where I think I'm trying to get to.

I've always found offensive the idea that one might scrupulously plan anything ahead. As a project manager, I at first tried hard to satisfy the usual expectations before growing to understand that those expectations amounted to magical expecting.
No, we do not know how much this will cost, how much time it will take, and what it will look like when we're done, but only because nobody in the history of the world so far has ever managed to predict such things. We can't know, though we seem eminently capable of insisting that we should know, that we should 'expect the unexpected', as if that aphorism alone might somehow clue us in. When we finally engage, we begin then to finally sense the depth of our unpreparedness, no matter how well-prepared we believed ourselves to be before hand.

Humans remain above all, masters of self-deception. We peer into uncertainty and come back feeling more certain, somehow suddenly feeling better-prepared. We run numbers that will shortly run in some other direction, but feel assuaged by the exercise. Looking back, I see that I should have seen through the delusion much sooner than I did, than I have, though vestiges of the preparedness impulse still pulse through my veins. When someone's paycheck insists upon absurd behavior, they will engage in absurd behavior.

An ounce of preparation might well be worth any odd pound of cure, but even a pound of preparedness will likely fail to protect anyone from evil. This universe operates on the same fundamental principle guiding this world: randomness. The best laid plans, the most sincere preparednesses, oft gang aglee; much more often than oft, actually. We're still preparing, anyway.

I enter with the wrong foot, then quickly correct my steps. I find myself without that "necessary" screwdriver before demonstrating (at least to my own satisfaction!) just how creative I am, how inventive I certainly just have to be. Sure, in some other universe, in some alternate world, I might begin most dances on the right and proper foot, wearing appropriate footwear, but where's the possibility for magic in that sort of existence? I believe that success comes to those who refuse to dwell on their shortsightednesses and grow to understand and even appreciate their Unpreparednesses as the great and often surprising gifts they surely must be.

Our military stands as the very stanchion of preparedness. It has left behind a proud history of producing more obsolete material than any aging stand up comedian ever could. Piles of preparednesses rusting in obscure desert storage areas, still waiting for that time that never came. When some conflict comes, it's assholes and elbows rushing to adapt to conditions not even the more prescient professional planners, ever in their wildest dreams, anticipated. They might be better advised to maintain vast corps of assholes and elbows, absolutely unprepared for anything, but trained as crack battalions of able adapters. They could have generals in charge of generating general panic. Colonels responsible for distracting captains from preparing for anything, corps just hanging around, waiting to see what happens as their sole strategic imperative. It seems as though we have this anyway.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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