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Félix Edouard Vallotton:
Money, plate five from
Intimacies (1898)

"Be careful what you wish for …"

Who among us isn't prone to, in moments of extremity, insist that we'd willingly pay any price, bear any cost, to achieve our desired Success? We're each probably occasionally guilty of employing loose talk rather than free speech. We will beseech while praying that the bill collector never comes calling to collect the desperate debt, especially if our sweaty investment has failed to payoff yet. Some bets never payoff in anything but desperation.

I've been watching with train wreck fascination as Kevin McCarthy, the seemingly life-long wannabe Speaker of the House of Representatives, degrades himself and his prospective office, groveling before his obvious inferiors (a term I used hesitantly, if accurately, presuming for a second that it's not more likely that McCarthy enjoys only betters).
WhatPrice? would he be unwilling to pay? It seems that the bottom wouldn't even constitute any kind of limit for him, he who so obviously lusts after the position. If he manages to purchase the prize, I wonder if he'll long-term feel his groveling was in any way worth the effort.

Of course we all know that he eventually did win that prize, after fifteen painfully degrading rounds of inept negotiation. He was negotiating with trolls, a guaranteed losing proposition, while engaging in a game only ever won by refusing to engage in it. He was a loser before he started. I feel certain that, while he achieved his heart's desire, he will come to rue this Success. I feel terribly certain because I've seen this dance so many times before that it's become almost boring to witness. We each have this sense, I suspect, informing us when excess becomes altogether too much, when redemption will likely be withheld from whomever continues beyond some point. After that point's crossed, all's literally lost. Then, the bill collector's certain to inevitably come calling. Then, it's just a small matter of when.

When will be an even less convenient time than right after "winning." A gloating time should ensue, and could properly continue until most defenses have been worn through. Essentially defenseless, then, our protagonist will experience the full depth of the despair he purchased at his own tenacious insistence. His greatest Success will turn itself into dust, for this always was the way of this world. Those who've believed that they'd achieved immunity from the inexorable were always the most vulnerable, the most surprised when the bill came due. They will believe that someone screwed them then, but they certainly screwed themselves beforehand. Be careful what you wish for, especially whatever you insist upon receiving, for the universe might just deliver it. Consider the price before insisting upon receiving, for there's always a price and it always comes due.

McCarthy was elected Speaker of The House of Representatives by the narrowest possible margin, but he'd gutted the governance of that house in the process, leaving himself holding a governance without a governable organization attached. I believe his would be called a Pyrrhic victory, one achieved at excessive cost unlikely to ever be returned in the future. WhatPrice?, indeed! We'll wait and see how the inevitable emerges, certain only that it's coming.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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