Saturday, June 24, 2006

Slings and Arrows

Nothing reminds me more of the powerlessness of a single individual than sitting down first thing in the morning in a car that refuses to show signs of life no matter how you insert and turn the key in the ignition.

It's not just the helplessness of being unable to displace 1.6 tons of metal and upholstery down the road to the mechanic. Nor is it the patent inability to impress upon roadside assistance staff that waiting for two hours is not really your idea of fun.

Nor is it, finally, the notion that there's really nothing you can do about the frustration but to let it bore holes in the thin veneer of confidence in life you had finally developed.

Shakespeare said this, and so many other things, best:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?


As you wait for things to get better, for help to arrive, for someone to show the slightest pity, you begin to think of the myriad ways in which a seemingly vast army fires its slings and arrows at you in daily living.

Think of the phones that don't work, the computer components that weren't right or didn't work out of the box. The bus driver who couldn't be bothered to stop where you wanted, even though you rang the bell. The fellow worker who doesn't care if his sloughing off means you have to work harder.

At every turn the slings and arrows chip away at your armor until one day you lie bleeding, wondering just how long you can hang on all alone.

Do you take it or do you fight? Which do you think is better? What if you lose?

In the end, you know, you'll lose. In the end you'll be aged and alone and no one will understand any of your references, if they bother to try to understand you at all.
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