Stressed? Furious that so many idiots dare to express their absolute stupidity on your Facebook? Shaken to your core by the ignorance and dishonesty of fake news? Rendered hopeless by the gullibility of fools? Lost all faith in (fill in the blank) our country, government, humanity, your family and friends, life itself?
You just got played. And it seems there’s no escaping the debilitating symptoms.
It’s a bit like getting a song stuck in your head that you can’t immediately name, and you keep on repeating a few bars of the melody, but you can’t quite remember the words or song title. That happened to me yesterday, over and over I kept on singing the same seven notes. A catchy bridge from some maybe seventies soul R and B hit. dah dah dah dah dah dah dah. Over and over it circled through my brain, leaking out of my mouth in a few simple notes, dah dah dah dah dah dah dah. Seven notes, again and again, but I could not for the life of me identify it further, or let it go.
Perhaps that’s because I’m distracted. Like most of this country, I find myself getting embroiled in generic arguments, and sucked into the vortex of misinterpretation, redirection, and downright lying that seems to have become ‘normal’ in this world.
And it’s stealing my life, my love and my energy. I have told myself, with the same frequency of the repeating song hook in my brain, that I will not get sucked in, I will rise above this, I will have compassion and patience and tolerance for others, no matter how inane or evil.
And then I see yet another example of veiled, or even outright, racism and hypocrisy and I’m off!! Typing furious accusations, ending friendships, accusing people of judgment without knowledge, (while I’m judging them, yes I see it) and worst of all, letting this shit get to me until I’m eyeing the gin bottle at lunch time.
Another day ruined by idiots.
Oh wait, who let that happen?
So then, of course, I judge myself. Here’s how it goes in the high court of self-incrimination.
My conscious: “You have been accused of letting bullshit distract you from your very joy and energy. How do you plead?”
Conscious: “Your punishment is to accept others as having their own journey that does not concern you.”
At this unlikely moment, I remember one word in that song brain loop. “Everybody.” The phrase keeps flitting closer but I can’t quite grab it yet. I try humming it through again…”Everybody…something, something, something.”
The judge of my conscious let me walk with a sentence of community service and practicing forgiveness. Unfortunately that involves interacting with others. Overhearing two right-wingers at the next table at breakfast, I get sucked right back in, dragged screaming and vibrating with righteous incrimination into the vortex of outrage, and there is no eye in this storm, it just keeps on swirling and tossing up increasingly innocent loose objects, hurling them into the maelstrom.
You are back before this court because you have violated the terms of your release. You engaged again in useless anxiety, bought into others’ disinformation and redirection. How do you plead?
Head hanging, “Guilty as charged.”
I hereby sentence you to another full day of feeling awful.
As I accept my sentence as completely just, the tune in my brain expands to include another phrase or two of melody, I can sing a few more of the notes now, and I think there is a ‘rule’ and a ‘cruel’ in the next couple lines, but I still can’t recall the song as a whole, or even name it.
So I return to belittling and badgering myself for failing to rise above the steaming piles of political ‘discourse’ and be of some use to the world. I hate myself for not having the amazing strength of Ms. Maxine Waters. I want to reclaim my time! I want my sanity back. I want to be glad to be part of the human race instead of ready to get the fuck off this immature planet.
How easily we are all manipulated, how guilty we all are of jumping to conclusions, watching the world with blinders on, taking sides, listening only to ‘yes’ news, (meaning only sources that agree with our pre-decided opinions) ignoring the source. We muster our teams, our allies, to cluster around us and make us feel safe again.
How stupid are we to to buy into being controlled, being unwitting victims of someone else’s narrow political agenda?
How self-flagellating to continue to eat the garbage we are being fed, to eat even as we know we are only being fattened for slaughter.
And while I’m whipping myself for slipping again and again, I remember another word in that nameless tune. “Fool.” I’m sure that’s in there somewhere. Prominently.
And, being the mortal fool that I am, I continue to rage and vent at people who are spewing their brainwashed lies. I try to remember to be compassionate, if only for my own peace of mind. Asking, is it their fault that they were taught to be so ignorant? I should accept their limitations as well as my own, embrace the world as it is, not as I want it to be. Then my fallibility flares again, and I’m out of the gates like a hound on a dog track in Hades. Oh hell no! I will not excuse deliberate ignorance, at this stage of the game when you choose to ignore everything from science to your own eyes and ears, when you opt to accept what some unnamed web site has to say about a topic instead of the actual facts, I have no patience for you.
I may struggle with my own ignorance but denying gravity is not a worthy fight.
Doubt me? Try it. Go ahead and jump.
And…the acid reflux gushes with renewed vigor. I’m all twisted up and on fire inside again.
So why do I keep getting emotionally invested in these non-arguments? I want to care, I want to be informed, but I am the one who is responsible for the churning emotional bile rising in my chest. I, once again, bought into the anger and the dissension.
Say it. Hello, I’m Shari and I’m a Recidivist. Repeat offender.
And then, finally, the words and the melody to that persistent memory worm of a song come gushing back.
“Everybody plays the fool…sometimes.
There’s no exception to the rule.
Listen baby, May be factual, may be cruel.
I ain’t lying, everybody plays the fool.
And I realize, at last, that it’s my sometimes. We all get played. We all wish we could reclaim our time and our love and our sanity. And we all fail, we get caught up, we slam out fists into walls, we watch our love, our logic, and our very well-being eek away.
Everybody plays the fool. That doesn’t mean that you can’t fight it.
But stop fighting yourself.
Let go a little.
Because there’s more to the song.
Sing it with me now.
“Love runs deeper than any ocean
You can cloud your mind with emotion.
Everybody plays the fool, sometime.
There’s no exception to the rule.
Listen baby, it may be factual, may be cruel.
I want to tell ya’ that
Everybody plays the fool.”
I’m thinking of getting a funny hat with jingle bells on it, just to remind myself that we are all fools, sometimes.
A million thanks to the wisest of fools, J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark, and Ken Williams for their brilliant lyrics.
Be happy you fools.
Shari, Sept 30th, 2017