It has been a really busy morning. I did some shoveling for a friend. I took my daughter to her doctor's appointment to get stitches removed from her ear. I attended an English Department meeting at the university.
The rest of the day isn't going to be much better. Therapy appointment with my wife this afternoon. My daughter's ballet class this evening. I will not be getting home until well past 8 p.m. And then it starts up all over again tomorrow. House cleaning for money. More shoveling. Church.
It seems human beings keep busy in order to feel good about themselves. I know that, if I don't accomplish a lot of work in a day, I feel lazy, worthless even. At around 10 p.m. each night, I do a mental inventory of all the tasks I've completed. If that inventory comes up short, I don't sleep very well, and I vow to do better the next day.
Charlotte the spider speaks a little about this human tendency to Wilbur. She describes the Queensborough Bridge to him, and Wilbur asks her if humans catch bugs with this "web." Charlotte responds:
"No," said Charlotte. "They don't catch anything. They just keep trotting back and forth across the bridge thinking there is something better on the other side. If they'd hang head-down at the top of the thing and wait quietly, maybe something good would come along. But no--with men it's rush, rush, every minute. I'm glad I'm a sedentary spider."
That's a pretty strong indictment of the human race from such a small creature. But the human race is guilty as charged. I'm guilty. I rarely just sit and think, as Charlotte does. Perhaps, if I were more like her, I'd be a little less crazy all the time. But I was taught at a very young age the importance of hard work. Not that it's done much good. My grandpa dropped dead of a heart attack in his fifties. He was a hard worker. One of my older brothers had a major heart attack when he turned 50. He's a hard worker. Another of my brothers had a debilitating stroke in his early fifties. He was a hard worker. From that evidence alone, maybe I should make a practice of hanging upside down every day, letting the blood rush to my head, being sedentary.
Right now, I'm sitting at my desk at the university, staring out my window at snow falling. Big, fat, fluffy flakes. It looks like a Currier and Ives Christmas scene. Instead of enjoying the beauty of the moment, I'm thinking about the shoveling I'm going to have to do when I get home. I think there's something really wrong with me. When did I become a workaholic?
Once upon a time there was an ant named Bing. Bing worked all the time. From dawn to dusk, he was out in the world, finding crumbs of bread, bits of bologna, scraps of chewing gum. He'd drag each treasure to the anthill, put it in storage, and head back out to find more.
Bing was constantly worried that his ant colony wouldn't have enough food for the winter. He dreamed of cold, icy nights and starvation. He convinced himself that the survival of the entire anthill depended on him.
One day, when Bing was trying to drag a chicken wing back home, a little boy trapped him.
"Please, giant, let me go," Bing begged the boy. "My whole ant colony will die this winter if you don't."
The boy said, "But I want to take you home, put you in a jar, and play with you."
Bing shook his head. "I can't play. If I play, I'll die."
The boy shook his head. "Play is fun. You should try it."
The ant shook a leg angrily at the boy. "If you don't put me down this minute, I'll bite you so hard you'll scream."
The boy immediately put Bing back on the ground and stomped on him, killing him instantly.
Moral of the story: all work and no play makes Bing a dead ant.
And Saint Marty lived happily every after.
|Don't piss off little boys|