High Hopes

If you could ask an ant one question, what would it be?
In other words, if ants could understand language and talk back, and you could actually get one of them to stop for a moment and do a "man in the street" interview -- what would you want to know?

Because I'll tell you what I'd ask: That space between my pinky toe and the toe next to it -- right there in the middle there, is that the tastiest part (ant-wise) of a human? Or is biting that part of a person's body that some sort of Sanjuro samaurai boss move that is worth risking your entire life for?
Because rest assured -- dude died an instant, crushing death once he bit me on that spot:
But here it is like three days later and my foot still itches like crazy.
Every step I take seems to irritate it -- but even worse, for whatever bizarre reason scratching at the bite is like the best feeling ever.

I don't really have a good way to explain for that, so I'm hoping beyond hope here that people know what I mean here, but like -- it really itches so scratching it takes that sensation away momentarily, which feels like a physical victory of sorts (even though it actually makes the itch come back worse like a second later), but there's also this weird sort of minor pleasure principle in it. Not like a sensual thing, but like that feeling of scratching your back when you first wake up, or finding a way to scratch under the plaster when your arm's in a cast.

Like, it clearly doesn't feel good in and of itself -- but somehow the act of counteracting the itch (or whatever) is such a primal release of endorphins that you'll just push that button again and again like a labrat zapping himself for a piece of cheese.

I don't know -- it's such a minor thing, but at some point early this morning it was like the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD to scratch that itch, so much so that I rose from what I can only imagine was a really great dream just to deal with it.
I wonder sometimes if things like that are just me.
This idea that the momentary distractions in my life, whether they be food I shouldn't be eating, some blog or article I get pulled into even if I have work to do, or some TV show that doesn't even have to be good, but somehow engages me on some sort of intellectual curiosity level enough to pull me away from anything else that I might have going on at the moment.

There are times when I wish the kinds of things that distract me in this way were a driving motivation to do endless burpees or recycle, but they're usually far less admirable -- like the name of some character actor from the 70's that I couldn't immediately remember (I finally figured out that his name is Alan Weeks), or what it tastes like when you did barbecue potato chips in peanut butter (the answer: not ..terrible).
So much of succeeding at life I think is in the discipline to do the things that not only need to be done on a daily basis, but the ones that break you out of the various ruts you get into -- and that's where I think a lot of us tend to get mixed up.
Paying bills, not losing your job, keeping up with what's going on in your friends lives, making sure your kid is healthy and happy -- these things are important, sure. They take time and effort, but these are not the things that define you. They can easily engulf your life and feel like the disciplines that you have to keep, but in reality that's just existence. We don't hunt or gather anymore -- we grocery shop and help with homework.

Sometimes I think when money's tight and gas is almost five dollars a gallon and every day seems like a rushed effort to get everything in that you said you'd do that really the best part of the weekend is the part when Game of Thrones comes on and you're like "Fuck the Police, let the DVR get it" and fall asleep instead thinking that's some sort of big victory.

I know getting through the week can be hard. Sometimes I'm amazed I can do it at all.
But that's not the game. It's the trap.
Stop scratching the itch.
Stop scratching the itch.
Stop scratching the itch.

[Listening to:  Skindred - "Guntalk" ]


Satorical said…
Itches are pretty much irresistable: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/30/080630fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=all
wigsf3 said…
"So... ant vagina, what's it like? Does living in dry sand force you to use all kinds of ant lubricant just to maintain good ant sex?"
JerseySjov said…
my dad used to say "when i do things to pay the bills, that's building my resume. when i do things for me, that's building my obituary"
Mary ♥ Mur said…

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