And I wondered if that old Italian philosopher Pico was right about humankind’s dignity and creative nature, the will of the gods, that if a man chooses to wallow with the pigs or dance with the divine, so he might do either according to how his nature blossoms from his choices. I wondered about pregnant possibilities and free will, humans as chameleons, shapers of their own destiny and fulfillers of their potential as they absorb what is around them, choosing to be like bats and hang upside down in a cave or cravenly ritualize baby killing or kiss the feet of the holy one. How free is the will of a beaten child, however, or a man gone mad from the war?
I cannot recall the last time I sharpened pencils, yet I smell them.
Crayons disappeared from the house five years ago when the kids stopped using them, schools dumping color-in-the-lines after fifth grade. But I can almost feel their waxy paraffin between my thumb and forefinger, leaving that oily residue that stays way long.
Like a return to the new, the school year starts in the season of dying.
The dissonance, I sense it like spasmodic leg quaking that tremulates chairs while calming nerves.
“It’s show time!” I mimic the movie star’s manic Joker’s smile as I fly out the door. No chorus line.
Yet not the performance but the insistence that erodes: “Wake up!!” I want to jolt them in stentorian holler as my head spins and spits pea soup—in a virtual world they recognize.
In real time, I merely cajole, advise, admonish and filibuster, all for their awakening to themselves, their process and their world, adrift in someone else’s expectation.