Does anyone else ever do that? Things are good, almost too good, and so you brace yourself, mutter worries and denials, as though the gods were leaning over their fluffy pink clouds waiting to see who just might be too happy? And who, they, the bored, petty vengeful gods must smash?
One of my least favorite Mark Twain stories–I think the collection is The Devil’s Racetrack–comes from late in his life, after the death of his wife and beloved daughter Susie, and Twain paints God as a petty angry God. One that toys with us, and then stomps on us, like ants. I love Twain’s writing and yet found this story, and the premise, distressing.
Does God really have so little to do that he waits for the stray ant only to torture it? I think not. And yet, narcissistic me, worries that a streak of good fortune–a couple weeks of smooth sailing equals–deserves…what? Ruin? Punishment? Destruction?
That’s pretty lame.
I swear, I really shouldn’t say this stuff here, but I’m pretty lame. I read self help books. I do. Two years ago I devoured The Four Agreements. (best book I’ve read in years.) At thirteen I thought Norman Vincent Peale was fabulous. I remember The Road Less Traveled from my early UCLA days. If it says something meaningful, and attempts to adjust my attitude, I probably have it on my bookshelf.
I’m Okay, You’re Okay. Yep. Used copy. Power of Positive Thinking. It’s there, right next to Why Men Love Bitches. (I kid you not.) Next to Don’t Call That Man. (I’m totally serious.) Next to Dianetics. (yes, bought it in Canada at a used book store with my friends Barb and Carla). Next to Thomas Merton’s No Man Is an Island next to C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters next to Getting Over Getting Mad. And if I squint, Getting Over Getting Mad is very close to getting laid. That’s because the anger book is next to my Kama Sutra book and now you know everything there is to know about me.
And now, my friends, the shoe can drop.