The quiet of a work day has no greater merit than reflection. I must admit, the cookie on my desk is proving to be a wonderful distraction. It came from a moment of embarrassment and confusion. Standing in the checkout line of the convenience store, I wondered if paying for one cookie on a debit card would be simply ridiculous. So, in an effort to make my cookie splurge worth the time and money of the owners, I bought two. What would I do with the other one? Give it to a friend. Or so went the plan.
As I promised myself, I ate the chocolate-chocolate chip cookie as a reward for … well … surviving, I suppose. But Surviving doesn’t warrant a reward as great as TWO cookies. So it sits there, tempting indulgence, prodding the would-be nauseated caverns in my stomach imagining a sugar overdose. “Don’t do it!” they all shout at me. I look at the cookie, then at my stomach. “He’s got a point,” I tell my navel. “What point!?!” they seem to violently harmonize. “He’s a cookie. It’s point enough.” This is how, you see, I end up eating two instead of one, 16 ounces instead of 12, and a six-pack instead of a moderate one or two. The six tip the scale in favor of economics; it is simply more prudent to purchase in bulk.
But enough about confections. There is more to a Tuesday at the threshold of fall than debates over cookies, isn’t there? Ah yes, I remember—the renunciation of fear. I have made it my personal resolution to do away with all fear, trepidation, and scaredy-cat moments and devote my energies instead to masterful compositions, attentive reading, and devoted listening. The score? Scared shitless 5, Jeff 1/4. It isn’t that I’m failing to try, it’s simply that you can’t teach an old dog to kill itself as insurance for a new dog. I’m speaking, of course, of the fear, not myself. In my particular case, it isn’t merely training that has created a habit of fear, it’s a habit that attacks new, healthy habits. Slowly, I have begun to build up a defense around peace and virility that easily staves off the continuing advances of fear. One day at a time, the siege is falling.
But at the moment, I’m still afraid of the cookie. Afraid of the HIV. Afraid of the drain in my bathtub that makes little sucking noises at odd times of the night. It’s a five-year-old angst I’m sporting, which makes me at times endearingly cute and obnoxiously immature. My only two consolations are: 1) my faith and 2) everyone else seems to have a complex similar to my own. Ah, the joy and blessing of the human condition! We’re all a bunch of helpless, half-walking, half-stumbling five-year-olds with drool coming out the sides of our mouths. Don’t deny it. I saw you wipe it off on your shirt.
And now, with all this divulging, I feel empowered to endure one more hour of my job. It’s not bad, it’s simply boring. At the moment. There’s so much to be done, and I sit here and write about cookies. What about my dream of carrying the banner of a new theology, a new ecumenism, a new spirituality? Tomorrow and tomorrow, I say. Perhaps I forget that the bumbling baby steps to my dream are buried in idle cookies, bathtub drains, and daydreams about hero-making sieges. Where are you in there? Someday, I would like to trace my life back here. Do you suppose I will have forgotten where I stepped?
Let’s hope the ground isn’t as shifty as sand and the air not as rude as a dust storm.