2018-05-16 / Opinion

THE WEEKLY POST

Stuck
by Bud Hearn

I wake up and discover I’m still stuck.

My morning mind is a fog. It hovers in the dangling inconsistencies of a fading dream that seems to have come from nowhere. It spins like a record stuck in a groove, relentlessly repeating its meaningless action. It leads nowhere but in circles, a merry-go-round of nonsense.

We’ve all been stuck before, many times. It’s easy to get stuck. Just showing up is all it takes to be assaulted by this malady. Life is a muddy ditch where your mental tires bog down in the mire. They spin helplessly in the muck, going nowhere fast.

Being stuck is like stumbling around in a carnival house of mirrors. You see yourself coming, or going, big and small, distorted and grotesque. You laugh but know it’s not funny.

Life is like that. Decisions are relentless assailants. This, or that, which? What will it be today? It will always be something that impedes your progress and laughs in the face of your best efforts.

Inertia takes over. Nothing happens. Limbo is the word; slacker is the feeling. Lifeless, listless, do something. Take a pill, today’s cure for everything.

Concerned about the after-effects of the dream, I resolve to avoid having to make any monumental decisions. I consider going to the beach where all decisions can be avoided. Procrastination and avoidance, the feeder sources for being stuck, can’t reach you there.

But unfinished details have a GPS tracking system. They hunt you down like an escaped criminal and shackle you in the chains of being stuck. I abandon the idea, turn the car radio on and drown it all out with some bluegrass music.

I crank the AC on high. The fan blows. Until it gets stuck on high. It lasts for days until I part with $400 to have it fixed. It always costs something to get unstuck, believe me.

I consider trying to think my way out of the mess. But, thinking is useless. Just compounds it. Opinions confuse us. The older we get, the smaller we think, the less we comprehend, the slower we move. Thinking is dangerous. Why think? Let Google and Twittersphere do it for you. They can synthesize all thought processes.

Sometimes you might get lucky and talk yourself out of being stuck. But conversation is mostly digital now. Nobody has time to hear about your dilemma. And if they do, they’ll only be looking for an opportunity to drag you further down in the pit of their own sink hole.

In the old days people sat in rocking chairs and talked. Or had martini lunches. Not now. Such is just a nostalgic throwback, supplanted by some sort of panacean app on your cell. It’s simply a diversion.

We’re afraid to step out, so we retreat, littering the way with excuses of inaction. We label it ‘pragmatism.’

But we know better. It’s just more evasion. We beat our chests with logic. But our algorithms won’t work. Our math is flawed. It’s grounded in elementary statistics. The universe lampoons our puny calculations.

Tonight, I find temporary refuge in one of Bukowsky’s debauched poems. They make me thankful I’m not alone on a dead-end decline. In the den the TV winds up its nightly evasion of reality. She walks by. It’s 11:00.

“I’m going to bed. Did you get it fixed?”

“Uh, not yet, but I’m working on it.”

“Looks to me like all you’re doing is reading.”

“No worry, I’ll get it fixed.”

“When? It’s been a week now.”

“I know. I’ll get to it. I promise.”

“Sooner than later, I hope.”

The room is quiet again. But the comatose torpor of being stuck remains. Suddenly I’m sleepy. But what the heck. Maybe I’ll just go fix the problem now.

It takes ten minutes or so to complete the job. I wonder why I put it off so long. And suddenly my fog lifts, my wheels gain traction and I’m out of the ditch.

It’s absolutely amazing how completing one simple task can break the logjam of lethargy and get a fellow unstuck.

**********

Who would have ever imagined the redemptive power in the replacement of an outside spotlight?

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