Flash Epistle Number Nineteen


I know that these are desperate times and life can seem both frightening and meaningless, simultaneously. But take heart, little grasshoppers, if you don’t get run over by a train, there can be light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. As the parrots like to point out, there is always hope, and hope is a feathered thing that you don’t necessarily have to blast out of the sky with a twelve gauge shotgun.

Trust me. I know.

We should all strive for self improvement, to become better versions of ourselves every day in every way. It says so right on Medium, endlessly.

I know I have.

Why, back in my callow youth, when I was more comfortable with the world, certain questionable habits directed me through each day,

I would rise, drink a pot of coffee, smoke most of a pack of cigarettes, and have a toke or two just to wake up, such was my resistance to consciousness. I would then navigate the perils of the day with a continuous, light buzz of marijuana and alcohol. To sleep, I would finish hard with a blast of bourbon, pot, and whatever artificial downers I had at hand. Say what you will, this regimen worked for decades.

The drugs and alcohol that blunted my days were necessary because, like most non-wealthy mortals, I had to make a dishonest living. Obviously, our livelihoods can be discouraging. Mostly, I taught.

It takes a lot of chemical help to dull the sharp edges of cognitive dissonance that are generated by having to deal with people you disdain, both young and old, on a daily basis, while pretending that you care, that it matters, and that you actually give a rat’s ass about what you are doing. It’s difficult, requires tenacity, but it can be done. Thankfully the chemicals were available, I partook of them tenaciously, and persevered.

Now, thank God, those endless days of grading vapid papers, conversing with ignorant youths, and kissing administrative ass are well behind me. I can face the day with a wry smile on my lips and no alcohol on my breath. As the psychobabblers say, I became empowered and changed.

The old routine felt right and natural back then, but as I aged, I became concerned that there was an outside chance it might imperil my health. Health looms ever larger with age.

So, I sought to improve myself, to become a better me.

It worked. Though I am much less comfortable in the world, through strenuous effort I have achieved a measure of temperance. I wake up with only half a pot of coffee, a half a pack of cigarettes, and a small boost from some VA prescribed speed. I get through my days aided only by naps, and fall asleep with but a smidgen of government approved sleep potion. No alcohol or weed at all.

Of course, there are still the odd days when I want to visit a gun show, stock up with automatic weapons and ammunition, and lay waste to all around me. But they are fewer and the urge is easier to resist.

I chalk this marked improvement up to the exercise of pure willpower. It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it. Health is no longer a worry. It’s cheaper, too.

Now, in geezerhood, I feel as perfect as I am likely to get, and anyway have burned through the small amount of willpower available to me. Things, as they say, are just what they are. I’m still a sinner, but God seems less angry.

I offer up this testament to those of you still caught up in general despair, still running on life’s treadmill, hoping to make it to the end or at least fall off, fearing that you won’t…

Take heart. It can be done.

My improved daily life shows that you can make it through the long illusion of life and end up in blissful, better, nothingness. I am now empowered to do nothing and to do it well. It took a lifetime of diligent practice, but I’ve made it. And I must say that every day in every way nothing gets better and better. It only took time, a strong liver, and a dose of willpower.

Do the work, put in the effort, hang in there, and I promise nothing is headed your way too.

Trust me. I know.

If you like this piece, and can afford it, please dribble a few coins into the busker’s cup.

Answering unimaginable questions…

Honorary Schizophrenic. Recent refugee. Displaced person. Old white male. Confidant of cassowaries.

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