Flavin’s Corner
January 2003

Puppy Chow

And so dear friends
You just have to carry on
The dream is over
From “God,” by J. Lennon, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; Apple Records, 1970.

We’re born, we die, and the time in between is spent gasping for breath.  Some breathe easier than others, but we all die in the end.  Is it how we die that matters?  Or how we live?  Does it make a difference?  Yes, I believe it does make a difference as to how one lives and dies, though this is my personal opinion and I now understand the choice of indifference by others.  It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I remain a fool and food 
for wishing it was otherwise.

I’ve often, too often, been told that it all comes down to money.  Is a stuffed wallet what really matters at the end of the day?  What about friends and family?  Religion?  Serving one’s country or doing good for the planet?  I regard apathy as endemic, and the result of a lack of substantial growth away from our savage past.  Sure, others have spit on the faces of currency before, many with poignant and profound pecuniary pacifism, and refused to ride the money-go-round.  We call them bums and avoid them as best we can.  Oh, there’s asceticism, laziness, destitution, or really bad luck, but excuses are for losers, and winners have reasons for their success.  It just takes a kick to imagine the whimpers and the growls as one dog eats another.  Apparently we share more with North Korea than previously thought.

My personal economy (> L. ęconomia > Gr. oikonomia; from oikos, a house, and nemein, to manage) hasn’t improved recently.  But, then again, getting all the parts on my ship to work at the same time has never been easy.  I’ve long suspected that money was my prime adversary.  Sure, I’ve performed the “Get behind me!” ritual and tried to pretend that magic actually works, but spells are as arcane and useless as a help-wanted section from a year-old newspaper.  Actually, my "house" is currently so mismanaged that it might be prudent to start collecting all sections of old newspapers.  It's a pulp thing.  Wrong.  I should have never started to collect pulps.  Decay and all that.

What purpose is served by witnessing an end?  Education?  Summary, please.  Eschatological voyeurism?  Beginnings are much more exciting.  Sharing?  Ah, the “better late than never” argument!  Vengeance?  There’s not much to say about that one...  Bankruptcy, especially when approached as a spectator sport, brings out the best and worst in people.

Mulder, forgive my unbelief, but I don’t think the truth is out there.  When the end is reached and the money runs out, it doesn’t require taking a correspondence theory of truth out for a walk to appreciate why the dog was scratching at the door.  Canines aren’t given over to existentialism (though Algren could have argued otherwise) and it’s bad enough not to have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, but to get punished for answering nature seems a specious response to a rough day at obedience school.  Scully, pardon my lack of training.  I’ve lost my appetite, yet those around me seem to be getting ready for dinner.  Many order from the menu because they can afford to, while those who can't usually end up on the menu at some point. 

My dogs, are you about to be consumed?  Michael Valentine Smith needed to get out more.  A body is properly regarded as a temple, but Shirley there has to be a better way to show one’s appreciation than eating each other.  Oh, Happy Day!  I understand times were tough when Jesus washed before supper, but the Markan metaphor of an anthropophagous communion meal assumes as long as our hands are clean that it doesn’t matter who did the cooking or who’s being served.  Crossan’s conjecture that the dogs were well fed at the crucifixion allows a passing pagan to chow down on a puppy and preserve the myth that North Korea isn’t desperate for a Reunification Church, they just have strange eating habits. 

It doesn’t take the ghost of Descartes to doubt Billy Blake could have envisioned industrial ecology and, even so, he wouldn’t have chained himself to a stochastic model in protest. A coven of CEOs keep those dark Satanic mills grinding out greed.  It isn’t enough that Heinz ketchup has over a fifty percent market share -- the corporate mandate requires, like Highlander, that there be only one.  When my time comes I wonder what condiment would compliment.  Major Grey mango chutney?

When the financing recently fell through for mounting a bipolar expedition I suspected it was somehow my fault, but I could be mistaken.  Not that it matters, anyway.  I’m not up for traveling.

Fat had it right when he discerned that the Empire never ended, but it was about commerce and commensurability, not legions and legends.  The plasmate is a lost penny and it requires more than minimum rage to find it.  A debtors prison becomes a kennel to provide for the pups who can’t get their paws around enough jack to keep the hounds at bay.  I fear the bars. 

Money would grow on trees in a perfect world and it would only rain on one side of the street at a time.  Alas, perfection is a fleeting, now forgotten, feeling I think I once had.  Perhaps it’ll return.  And perhaps avian apes will exit my anus singing the “Money Song” by Monty Python's Flying Circus.

This ache within is not for unrequited prosperity, but rather that success is judged by how many zeros are in one’s ledger.  George Bailey?  Pure fantasy.  In non-reel life his wife would have grabbed the kids and left him, the run at the building and loan would have resembled a drunken stampede at a soccer match, and he would have been remembered as that guy who did the swan off the bridge.  Cynical?  It’s no coincidence that cynicism comes from the Greek kunikos, or dog-like.  It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

Realizing the rampant indifference around me doesn’t mean it’s time for me to be mean as hell as well.  That others function on all fours shouldn’t influence my gait.  Avoiding mangy mutts is a given.  My edibility might be inevitable, but if being puppy chow is in my future, I’m not going to make it easy.  It’s time to get busy. 

wishing for more light,
Rick

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