Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Definitions: Deciduous

(1) Deciduous means anything that falls off.

This can be something that falls off your body or someone else's body, or a thing that falls from some other place and lands on your head. So keep one eye on that hanging stuff up there. Someone gets whacked every so often, and in the woods no one can hear you scream, or cares if you do. Lots of weird stuff goes on out there all the time and none of us pay much attention unless it looks good to eat or happens to be coming right at us with personal intent. Especially if it's getting dark and we just want to close our little eyes and get on with our snoring.

And then if the something that falls is a thing that falls from your body, well don't tell. Don't tell us, anyway, and we won't ask. Keep it secret and keep it covered at all times if at all possible. Don't scratch that spot it in public. Don't brag and don't whine. It happens to all of us now and again, and tends to happen more to people who look like you. It's probably genetic but if not then the rest of us really truly don't want to catch it from you. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. Keep away. Wear clean underpants just in case. (You know what Mom said.)

If you are a tree, and your leaves change from that boring flat green color to lots of nice acid-trip versions, and the season is autumn, then you get a pass. This is not only supposed to happen, but everyone absolutely loves it for some reason. You should know this by now so settle down, stop your rustling, and do it already. It's what you were put here for.

If you stand still and look majestic (and are a tree or other certified vegetable) we'll even take pictures of you and put them up on the internet, which is a thing you don't need to know about. Lots of people do this and we don't want to be any different. They tell us it's normal.

So relax. We are children of the universe and no doubt something is either gracefully unfolding as it should or is headed this way to destroy us. Either way it's life — well-known as a definite crap shoot.

(2) "Deciduous", a prose poem by Max Ehrmann, a minor poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana.

Although some originally claimed that this poem was ancient and profound, and was miraculously found entirely by accident taped to an obscure church basement wall, that's the sort of thing that Aunt Martha says every time she finds some some random newspaper clipping slapped on the church basement wall, and you know what she's like.

The rather mundane and awkward original poem of this name, about being stuck in a world full of crimps and spungs and feebs (to use Faulkner's words), was actually heavily edited by some anonymous fool before it was prank-published under the title "Desiderata" before it then got shared around by an army of Aunt Martha clones and slapped on myriads of church basement walls and their greeting card equivalents, but the original was much edgier and boils down to something closer to:

You are trash along the freeway of life. Remember, you have the right to remain silent, and we will ask for your opinion only if we want it. But as far as we are concerned you should just surrender now.

Listen — seriously — you are dull and ignorant. We can tell even from across the room. Any room. No matter how big. You have no story that needs to be told, or that anyone wants to hear.

If you compare yourself with others you will come up short, so don't start. Instead, try to enjoy being a runt, for not everyone can be, and at least you know which hole is yours to fill.

No matter how short the line, you will be at its end, and allowed in last, if at all, especially considering the way you dress. So fake it with caution, if you feel you must try, but you actually have nothing to gain.

Be yourself then, and embrace your loserhood, for that is how we see you. Realize that the world is full of tricks, and all of them will be played on you, for you are also a sucker.

Especially do not feign intelligence, for we know what it looks like, and it does not look like you, not even a little.

And while love may be a perennial flower spreading joy to the entire world, no joyous bee will be coming over to pollinate you. Forever and a day.

So heed the advice of your betters, who are also much smarter than you. Which is just about everyone, your relatives excluded of course.

We mean it. Give up. The sooner the better. You deserve misfortune, and fatigue, and loneliness, because, if for no other reason, we enjoy watching your clumsy efforts to deal with it.

Be gentle with yourself because no one else has the time right now. Or ever, truth be told.

OK, you probably do have a right to be here, if only to serve as a warning to others. And whether or not this is clear to you, it is increasingly clear to us as your life unfolds.

Therefore be cheerful, for everyone loves a genial idiot, for they are endlessly amusing. (Just switch on the TV for crying out loud — you'll see.)

So strive to be happy. If nothing else your doomed struggles to appear even adequate only enhance your entertainment value.

Source: How to talk in the woods.