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Rant #378
(published April 17, 2008)
Meditation on Hell
by William Stonebraker
It usually begins with a man who never got over the idea that he can't be god and his mother didn't want him for a lover. So he gets pissy and goes out to soothe himself with all the distractions of his culture. He becomes an animated temple of a hungry ghost. He swallows everything: his work, his women, his children; his status; his SUV, Sears and Walmart, his overpriced suburban home that's big enough for his family to hide from each other in. For some reason he becomes the canon of authenticity. Curiously, his becomes the coveted hand in the game.

He refuses the validity of "happily ever after." He has chosen monotony and meaninglessness on the basis of their predictability and subsequent familiarity. King baby contentedly sitting in his own shit. He will throw out his chest and tell us that "happily ever after" is the product of the wishful thinking of an uneducated imagination and scoffs at the suggestion that such outcomes are true to life. To think otherwise would be stacking the deck in favor of the House. Doesn't he know. . . ?

In the deck he is the Fool who voluntarily places himself in the chaos beyond the circle of the village while bemoaning his alienation. Poor stranger! There is a place for him — for without it the gods of hospitality would be offended and a curse implied. While other opinions exist he will not come in. He is, equally, the Hanged Man who cannot see life as whole because he dangles from the mistakes of time by the half-truths of cause and effect snared by the idolatry of his own thinking that they are what they represent.

Understandably, he dreads the Death card. The thought of drawing it depresses him. His only response to it is and endless chain of claims to dominance made by his ego. His wife, his children, his ride-around-lawnmower — all trophies to his superiority. Even without the card his own bio-psycho-social processes crash in on him and force him, again, to choose between releasing or continuing to cling to worn out attitudes and superficial desires. He chooses to cling because letting go means the card is face up on the table and that's a shitty place to be with no "happily ever after" in the satchel.

All the angels dancing on all the pinheads cry out in thirteenth century choruses to him.

"Why, O man can you not but just see?" He silences them with the newest anti-depressant and the oldest scotch he can find. From his self-imposed exile in "his" recliner he enters another pay-per-view trance and smirks at the notion of "happily every after."

And why not? What could be more noble than sitting around waiting for the body to celebrate an event that happened to soul decades ago?

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