Friday, April 21, 2017

The Joys of Embarrassment

"An Embarrassing Proposal" by Antoine Watteau
As you journey through life, you’ll undoubtedly come across numerous untoward circumstances that you wish hadn’t happened. After the initial disappointment about the fact of them occurring, you'll generally go through the stage of rationalization in which you attempt to regard them as learning experiences. You may even take the attitude that someday, your trials and tribulations will help a fellow sufferer, who's going through say a similar problem. But someday you're going to hit your head up against a brick wall. Something is going to happen for which there are no inadvertent rewards. It will be one of those sick demonic pieces of bad luck that levels you. Your house will be flattened in a tornado or you will suffer some flesh eating illness that leaves you literally less of a person. Oh sure there are all kinds of people who’ve lost everything and who you’ll hear about on some born again broadcasting network testifying about platforms for revelation. But they're them are you're you and this one will be the knockout punch that has the fighter out cold. You will be decked. You won't be able to get up. During the Great Depression there were many people who suffered this way. Some jumped out of office buildings when the stock market crashed and others who had lost businesses never regained the confidence and wherewithal to make a comeback. Not everyone who gets knocked down stands up again. You’ve seen people like this who, to quote Tennessee Williams, are dependent "on the kindness of strangers.” And despite the kudos that must go out to those with exceptional spirit, it will be nice to know that there are real live people, who are not living advertisements for exceptionality and whose names won’t be used to endorse this or that rehab, detox, ointment or program of human potentiality maximization. It will be good to see the bar lowered and know that you're not the only one who has taken a huge belly flop, that you're not the only one for whom life has become, for want of a better word, simply an embarrassment.

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