Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Price Is Wrong

Come on dooooooooown!!! And here's your host...........GOD!!!!!!! Wouldn't it be a kick in the head if you got to the Pearly Gates and it was just like the "Price is Right" stage? And God was a guy in a suit with a mic who just wanted to know, in fact, needed to know how much you paid for the sum of your life? "How much did it cost you to live your life the way you did,' he'd ask, 'and how much of what I gave you didn't you use?" You'd be made to guess and you'd fail, of course, because you never paid attention. A giant flashing sign would light up to show you and the audience the glaring disparity. And the condemning, pitying silence would hurt like Hell.

What has me wound up and unfunny for the moment is a quote I found by the oh so great and talented Erma Bombeck who passed away in 1996. She said:
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.' "
I've had plenty of time now to really think about the job I left, and it's real meaning to my life as a whole. The job itself meant nothing. A trained monkey, or my successor, could do the work.

Touching the people the way I did, now that's another story. This job was instrumental in reviving my compassion, where law had excised almost all of my humanity. Law is a very hands-off profession, all paper, no touching, no real concern; it's all about money, maneuvering, and horseshit. Working with people requires paying attention and honest-to-goodness caring. That job taught me patience and the art of true communication: eye-to-eye contact and real listening skills that are hard to learn and even harder to practice.

Now time seems to fly when I write, and I feel possessed by the word on the screen or page. Like Issac Asimov said, "Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well maybe once." Sounds hopeful to me, Isaac, but well-said and I agree. Will someone please put an orgy in my office for crying out loud so I can check the theory!!! Kidding... I notice the "space time continuum" most when I'm cooking something during the day. I put the timer on for forty-five minutes or whatever and it seems to ding just after I sit down to continue writing. This is astonishing to me. One blink and dawn has turned to twilight.
"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." Henry David Thoreau
Sitting here, tappity-tapping out my blog, or crammed in my recliner handwriting my kids book, I forfeit nothing.

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