Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Perfect Ruler of a Perfect Planet

A really short story by Jason Duarte

A loser's gamble and an optimistic mind pops open the top of a beer can. White foam and bubbles surround the mouth of the can, and will soon encompass your mouth. You wait a minute, figuring the foam will settle - even if just a little bit settles - until you take your first sip despite knowing that at no other time but the present moment will this beer be as cold and refreshing as it is as it sits in your hands, gradually getting warmer and warmer as you stare at those foamy roadblocks.
"Ah, fuck it." You take a sip. You sit down and watch a movie. It's inspiring. The story's a cross between Voltaire's "Candide" and what would have to be something else - every possibility's been thought of when it comes to love stories involving some cosmic accident in any given urban setting, or what some would call, fate. Maybe. Then again, it is said that we humans only use 7% of our brains. You personally believe it to be an unconscious excuse we use to pin our own personal shortcomings to, but what do you know. You're unemployed, single and haven't shaved in weeks.
At first, the young couple in the movie is in love. So in love, in fact, that like most passionate and fiery relationships, the two candles burn too quickly and what's left is a miserable and confusing plane of existence where neither of them are on the same page and live solely in the rear view mirror.
"It's like anything else," a New York taxi driver says. Yeah. I guess when you put it that way, maybe. But is it? Suppose there is some unaccounted for 93% of free space in our heads that we can't access. It sounds much too technological, you think, and then think about something else to keep you from thinking about ridiculous theories. Then again, you were just contemplating love. Maybe it is like anything else. Maybe it isn't. It is what it is. If the point of this life is to surround yourself with the illusion of work to somehow validate your life or to marry someone for that very same reason, then what's the deeper point beyond that? In a society where work, economies, politics, social pressure and religion doesn't matter because it isn't a problem, what is life? Introspective contemplation and all-day, everyday spiritual growth? Or is it still work?
The end of "Candide" is a simile for the way to live life. Not the best possible life in this best of all possible worlds, but a balance where nothing is either real good or real bad. And if the meaning life, like Voltaire depicts, is nothing more than passing the time until our last exhalation of that sweet sustaining Nitrogen blend, then why not end life right now, at this very moment, where you are the youngest and sharpest you might ever be? If our brains and bodies are only dying from this point on, that question becomes somewhat valid, you think. But objectively, from this point on, we are only living as well.
Life shouldn't be thought of as existing on a time line, you realize. That really shortens it.
The movie ends and you leave, walking home in the cold. The unfinished and now warm beer is still in your hand. In the black abyss, Orion's glow is intercepted by jealous streetlights.
"I could be that big," you think. If one man can rule a country or a classroom, then one man can rule a planet or several planets. Everything suddenly collapses upon you and a classroom becomes the same size as a country, which is the same size as a continent, which is the same size as Earth, which becomes infinite. It's the same size as one human being.
You turn your can 180 degrees, dispose of it and keep walking. It's 3:46 in the morning. You're cold, somewhat tired and imagine yourself doing what you'll probably be doing tomorrow.
"I'm the most perfect ruler of a most perfect planet," you sarcastically think to yourself before falling asleep. "It's a funny thought, but it's as true as anything else."

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