Monday, February 6, 2017

February 6: Bronze Stars, Lancelots, Quiet Desperation

In real life, Weary was retracing his steps, trying to find out what had happened to Billy.  He had told the scouts to wait while he went back for the college bastard.  He passed under a low branch now.  It hit the top of his helmet with a clonk.  Weary didn't hear it.  Somewhere a big dog was barking.  Weary didn't hear that, either.  His war story was at a very exciting part.  An officer was congratulating the Three Musketeers, telling them that he was going to put them in for Bronze Stars.

"Anything else I can do for you boys?" said the officer.

"Yes, sir," said one of the scouts.  "We'd like to stick together for the rest of the war, sir.  Is there some way you can fix it so nobody will ever break up the Three Musketeers?"

I wish I could be a little like Roland Weary, constantly rewriting my life so that I'm always the knight in shining armor, riding in to save the day.  Of course, Weary is deluded.  In reality, none of his companions like him all that much.  He's a reckless and stupid soldier.  That's the reality.

My reality is similarly unimpressive.  I'm no hero.  I work in a medical office and teach English part-time at a university.  I own a house that needs major repairs, and I'm constantly juggling my finances, trying to figure out which bill is the most overdue and which bill can wait to be paid.  Most of the week, I'm chronically tired.

Yet, I know that my situation is pretty normal.  Most people have similar struggles.  There are very few Lancelots or Wonder Women out there.  As Thoreau said, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  It's a good quote.  In a strange way, Thoreau's words give me comfort, because I know that I'm not alone in my struggles.

I try to be a good husband and father.  I attempt to be a trustworthy friend and confidante.  I care about my parents and siblings.  I worry about Syrian refugees and U. S. troops stationed overseas.  I do my best to be a good teacher for my students, hopefully leaving their lives with a little more light than darkness.  

When I wake up every morning, those are my goals.  Sometimes I succeed at them.  Sometimes I fail.  That is my life of quiet desperation.

Tonight, Saint Marty is thankful that he hasn't caused any psychological trauma in the world.

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