Zaphod and crew have a run-in with some interstellar cops in the middle of an identity crises . . .
Near them on the floor lay several rather ugly men who had been hit about the head with some heavy design awards.
Half a mile away, four figures pounded up a corridor looking for a way out. They emerged into a wide open-plan computer bay. They glanced about wildly.
"Which way you reckon, Zaphod?" said Ford.
"At a wild guess, I'd say down here," said Zaphod, running off down to the right between a computer bank and the wall. As the others started after him he was brought up short by a Kill-O-Zap energy bolt that cracked through the air inches in front of him and fried a small section of adjacent wall.
A voice on a bullhorn said, "Okay, Beeblebrox, hold it right there. We've got you covered."
"Cops!" hissed Zaphod, and spun around in a crouch. "You want to try a guess at all, Ford?"
"Okay, this way," said Ford, and the four of them ran down a gangway between two computer banks.
At the end of the gangway appeared a heavily armored and space-suited figure waving a vicious Kill-O-Zap gun.
"We don't want to shoot you, Beeblebrox!" shouted the figure.
"Suits me fine!" shouted Zaphod back, and dived down a wide gap between two data process units.
The others swerved in behind him.
"There are two of them," said Trillian. "We're cornered."
They squeezed themselves down in an angle between a large computer data bank and the wall.
They held their breath and waited.
Suddenly the air exploded with energy bolts as both the cops opened fire on them simultaneously.
"Hey, they're shooting at us," said Arthur, crouching in a tight ball. "I though they said they didn't want to do that."
"Yeah, I thought they said that," agreed Ford.
Zaphod stuck a head up for a dangerous moment.
"Hey," he said, "I thought you said you didn't want to shoot us!" and ducked again.
After a moment a voice replied, "It isn't easy being a cop!"
It isn't easy being anything. I'm sure a nurse would say that it isn't easy being a nurse. A college student would say it isn't easy being a college student. Ditto a heart surgeon. Ditto the school custodian. In my working life, I've learned that most people think their jobs are the most important and most difficult. Doesn't matter the job.
For example, I could say that it isn't easy being a contingent college professor. No health benefits. Working semester-to-semester with no guarantees of re-employment every four months, and the full-time faculty get paid twice (sometimes three) times as much as you for teaching the same class.
Or I could say that it isn't easy being a church organist. The compensation for all the hours spent planning, practicing, and playing is minuscule. And, come Christmas or Easter--the high holidays--the stress and demands triples or quadruples. Plus, you have to work EVERY weekend, sometimes playing two or three services.
Every person in every occupation has similar tales. The truth of the matter is that a job is a job. It can be stressful or stress-free, tiring or energizing, sad-ful or joyful. A job is what you make of it. A person who works at McDonald's can take just as much pride in his labors as a brain surgeon. That's the simple truth.
I'm lucky, in a way. I get to do what I love--teach writing and literature and film. I don't do it full-time (which would be my dream job), but I still get to do it. I love being in a classroom full of young minds. Love feeling the weird, funky energy they impart. I can honestly say that teaching is what I was meant to do with my life.
I would say that most people stumble through their lives, never really knowing what their purposes are. They never find that one thing that fulfills them. It's not about money or fame. It's about passion. Most people I encounter have no idea what their passions are.
Me? I'm passionate about poetry and writing and movies and books. My mother was passionate about quilting. She loved it. My father was literally passionate about plumbing. He truly loved what he did. He kept the tools of his trade in his trucks up until the time he couldn't drive anymore. I think the people who are most unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives are the ones who have no idea what they're passionate about.
When you don't know what puts a fire in your belly, then you turn to other, unhealthy preoccupations. Addictions even. Because the addiction fills that void. Temporarily. But pretty soon the drug wears off, alcohol transitions to hangover, sexual partner of the day goes away. What's left? The same emptiness that you were looking to fill. So it's more drugs or more alcohol or another sexual partner. It's a pretty vicious circle.
I count myself lucky. I know my passions. And, because I know them, I'm a better person. That is the real secret to a happy life.
This message has been brought to you by Saint Marty. Husband. Father. Brother. Poet. Teacher. Organist. Blogger. Thinker. Friend.
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