No guarantees for a well-ordered life
Our ancestors had it so simple. They ran after animals to kill and eat them. Or, they ran away from animals to avoid being killed and eaten. No doubts, no complications. Go forward, go backward. Life or death. That’s all they had to think about because their brains were limited. That’s what the scientists tell us anyway.
Our minds are supposed to be so much better now but it sometimes seems that, unlike our brain-challenged ancestors, we can no longer tell if we’re coming or going. Every day I’m confronted with baffling circumstances and illogical situations presented to me by others or created by myself. That’s not to say I don’t have a certain respect for our abilities to handle life. Most of us strive to navigate the days without major catastrophic events and assemble a reasonable approximation of a desirable life. Most of the time we succeed.
However, every once in a while you become a little skeptical about the ratio of that success. At times, the world seems disoriented. The very basic elements of reason and understanding get scrambled. A client came in the other day and thought I no longer worked at the Tribune, had been in a different department and was of another ethnicity. Being unaware of these erroneous statements, he made a point of saying that my expertise at the paper was sorely missed. How did the facts get assembled wrong? I don’t know.
The good news is I’m doing a good job, even though no one knows how. I commend him for getting the part about my valued service correct.
That’s OK – people get me mixed up with others all the time. I do it myself. That CEO I’ve been sending resumes to. Turns out, he owns a hot dog stand. Not exactly the global corporation I was imagining. I’ll be fine as long as I don’t mistake an ex-con for a Bible salesman.
Even something that doesn’t change is somehow subject to being misunderstood or mishandled. There is a tiny ad in our paper that has run for years virtually unchanged. Pretty simple, just book the ad for months at a time and it’s in the paper automatically. No hassles, no worries. But even this low maintenance ad had a built-in trap. Like a wallflower, we ignored its plain-Jane existence. It didn’t seek our attention so we gave it none. It was relegated to a forgotten corner until it was time to rebook. I had to ask half a dozen people to track her down. Luckily, she didn’t throw a drink at me. What was so simple became difficult.
This, of course, is the reverse of what happens at home. Take something you know you’re going to need, give it a special spot so you’ll always know its location. Blissfully go about your business knowing the item will be there when you need it. Finally, the time comes to make use of this precious resource and it’s nowhere to be found. You don’t know where it is. No one in the house knows where it is. In fact there is no longer a soul in the whole world who can track down the item. This inanimate object somehow evolved and learned there is a better life somewhere else.
Even nature is confused by humans. The first law of nature is to grow. Plants are a good example. They know what to do instinctively, they get bigger. That’s not good enough for us. We use fertilizer to help them. The funny thing is some of it nourishes plants but does the opposite to humans. It can be pretty toxic. We manage to have good and bad in the same product. We should have good for both or bad for both. No wonder nature throws a seismic tantrum and levels a city once in a while.
If Mother Nature had any sense, she would cooperate with us and let us eat anything we like: wood, rocks, weeds, etc. That way we wouldn’t have to use fertilizer. We would no longer have to run after animals and they would have no reason to chase us. We could be oblivious and content with our micro-brain cares.
It sounds nice, but after a little reflection, I’d much rather have a bigger brain so I can figure out where I left my car keys.
– Lincoln Moy is a graphic artist at the Tahoe Daily Tribune