Sneaking in, under the radar…..

An epic battle is raging just now at my house. My old nemesis, depression, is trying to sink its claws into my psyche, and drag me down into the pit of my personal hell. I’m strong, but my opponent has several advantages in the current light. A number of things in my life right now are at less than optimum value, and though there is hope, there seems to be little progress toward fulfilling that hope. Finances are the sorest subject; it is becoming increasingly difficult to cover everything on what I’m currently bringing home, and I can see another 3 to 4 months before I’ll start bringing in more. From where I’m sitting now, that is looking like a very long time.

Stress like this from the financial world adds to my other store of little complaints (we all have some….stuff that bothers us, but which we cannot change at present) such as back, hip, and joint pain, aching teeth, and the distinct possibility of having to move in the near future. This stress doesn’t sit well with me; I’ve had my fill of it, and just can’t deal with it as well as I used to. I’m fine in the middle of a crisis, such as a fight or loud argument; I’ve had too much practice at that to let it get to me.

But, with everyday stresses like money, food, shelter, transportation, etc., I have a hard time not breaking into tears, and dissolving rapidly into severe depression; when that happens, I’m useless, to myself or anyone else. All I want to do is sleep, or wander around my space, mind racing to find some solace somewhere.

I’m hoping that putting together today’s Pearl will give me some space, and maybe some ammunition to use to beat back the darkness; a good quote, or a beautiful piece of poetry, can stimulate that part of my mind that is still free of the bonds that being depressed forces one to wear. If I work this right, by the time I’ve finished, I’ll be stable again, and able to avoid the pit of hell I’m looking at now…. let’s get to it, shall we?….. Ah, see, it’s working already….. first dive, a nice pearl jumps up and throws itself into the bag….and it’s a good one, just the right tone to neutralize the two paragraphs above….

“When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about.” — Edward Abbey

Now I feel better…..

“There was only one catch and that was Catch22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask, and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.” — Joseph Heller, Catch22

Sound familiar? It should; it’s getting close to Tax Time, and if ever there was a physical representation of Catch 22, the IRS definitely fits the description, sort of. If one pays taxes, then one feels stupid and violated; if one doesn’t pay them, then the IRS calls them stupid, and violates them in a very real sense. I hate it. And I especially hate the way the 1% gets away with not paying their fair share of those taxes. Just one more thing that makes me want to go buy a gun…..but then, I would guess that today, given my attitude upon awakening, almost anything is going to elicit the same response….

“As long as I am mayor of this city [Jersey City, New Jersey] the great industries are secure.  We hear about constitutional rights, free speech and the free press.  Every time I hear these words I say to myself, “That man is a Red, that man is a Communist”.  You never hear a real American talk like that.” — Mayor Frank Hague (1896-1956)

Sad, isn’t it? This statement, from a mayor who obviously hadn’t a clue, is one I haven’t seen before. And I should have. This is such a vile distortion of the values this country was founded on that it should be taught in schools as an example of a treasonous statement. How a person that stupid was elected in the first place was a mystery, until I saw what state it was. Isn’t New Jersey the home state of Spiro Agnew? I think so, but if not, it could have been. Boy, now there was a prime example of how even the stupid and charmless can fool the people sometimes. I understand that the political climate in the time when he was a burgeoning political hack was rather fanatic in its campaign against Communism, but Agnew set new standards of stupid, clueless bigotry for others to hold up as an example.

SIGH….. it’s a shame really…. they (the political bozos who make these outrageous comments) make such good teaching tools, I don’t see why they couldn’t be utilized. It’s not as if the other side is going to refrain from cheating or lying, because they won’t…. they will say and do whatever is necessary to secure the votes they need. So maybe if we lowered our own standards a bit….. nah, too dangerous. I’d rather keep my own integrity intact, and fight fair; cheating a cheater doesn’t turn the cheat into a virtue……

I stared into the abyss. The abyss stared into me. Neither of us liked what we saw.

Damn skippy it didn’t. It was a foregone conclusion that my view of the abyss today would be somewhat grim; sometimes the abyss is scarier than it needs to be. Today, it was no contest; it took one look at me and ran back into the void, moaning and crying for its mama…. I suppose that is the one advantage to a grim mood; even the bad asses walk to the other side of the street when they get a look at my face. I’m not saying its scary or anything, but I have been known to make babies cry at one glimpse, and there are a few cracked mirrors and camera lenses that give mute testimony to the depths of my rage when I’m feeling like this.

Sometimes I feel like walking down dark alleys in the dead of night in the baddest part of town, dollar bills hanging out of my pockets, not just asking, but demanding that some fool take me on. I guess it’s  fortunate for me, and them, that no one has ever challenged me in that state; I guess the vibes I put out are strong enough to make even the stupidest thief smart enough to walk away, and live…..

“It’s men who make laws, and enforce them, and break them, and think the whole performance is wonderful.  Most women would rather just ignore them.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

When I stop to think about it, this makes perfect sense. I’ve often felt that politics, and society in general, would benefit from having more women in positions of power; their attitudes are enough different from men’s that the overall effect most likely would improve. But, unfortunately, women who get into positions of power seem to forget the above statement, and act more like men than men themselves. They probably feel like they have to, in order to succeed in a man’s world.

But they are wrong in that, and we would all benefit if they would stop that nonsense, and instead act as a counterbalance to the overly aggressive, testosterone-filled actions their male counterparts generally come up with. Hell, it couldn’t work any worse, and it could very well be that it is just what the world needs to regain some of the common sense that seems to have disappeared from modern life……

“One who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” — Lao-tzu, _Tao Te Ching_

And there you have it. The solution to the threat of imminent depression is right there. Enough is enough. That’s for sure and for certain, but I had, in the grip of my fears, left that out of my calculations. I have enough. Enough food to get through the month. Enough friends to help me if necessary. And more than enough love, from friends and family, to hold me for a long time. If I were to compare, I probably am better off than over 50% of the world.

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting a reminder like this; that’s all it takes to get back on track. This is one reason why I do this; not for my readers, or for the joy of writing, though those are factors. It’s mostly for me…. it gives me the outlet my brain needs to stay within shouting distance of sanity, both in the process of finding the pearls, and in writing my reaction to them. Yay for me!…..

Well, it’s been real, for sure. Real hard, real frustrating, real rage. Real relief, too, at finally finding a worthy koan to lead me away from the precipice I was near when I awoke. I just hope that my weird state didn’t affect the Pearl too much. Wouldn’t want to let too much reality spoil a nice day….. and it will be, now. Y’all take care out there…..

Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.