Thoughts of Compassion and Service

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service

I am returning to my summer existential crisis. Really it is my perpetual existential crisis. I feel like I am on crack, although I don’t know what that feels like. I don’t feel like I am high from smoking pot, eating ‘shrooms, or drinking too much beer. And I know what those feel like. I mostly feel like my life is slipping through my own outstretched fingers and I am not making much of impact. Or I am making too much of an impact. I am not connected. Or I am too connected. Basically, I am an insecure whiny toddler right now. Sorry, but it’s the price you pay for being my friend. I probably should be on Prozac. And maybe, because you are my friend, you should be on Prozac, too.

I feel like I need to buy things. I need to buy lots of things. School started, I need things. I need pants for winter. I need corduroys, khakis, and jeans. I need new shoes. I need Chucks. I need winter boots. I need matching footwear. I need school supplies.I need to take copious amounts of notes with brand new pens on brand new paper. I need seven hundred new folders to put things in. I need to write everything down in order to never look at it again. I need to eat everything in site for days on end. I need to lose weight. I need to be happy with who I am. I need to run. I need new running shoes. I need new t-shirts. I need some that represent who I am and who I am becoming. I need some that tell everyone my political affiliation. I need a few explaining my choices in beer and beverages. Gunniess and Ginger-Ale, since I can’t get Faygo Rock-n-Rye in glass bottles. I need an air-freshener that changes scents every so many minutes, so that I never get tired of the smell of my surroundings. I need a Super-Shammy to suck up all my excess. I need Oxy-Clean to make it white again. I need bottled water so I don’t pollute myself with the municipal supply. I need fat-free. I need low-carb. I need vegan. I need organic. I need pre-packaged. I need a new iPod. I need a new cellphone. I need little plastic, velcro-backed hooks. I need candy cigarettes and real ones, too. I need small, shiny jewels mined by a child who is missing an arm. I need toys made by women and children with lead poisoning in some two-thirds world country. I need to surround myself with stuff I don’t need. I need to be a good American. I need. I need. I need. No, I want.

My existential crisis is this: I want what I don’t need. Maybe that is the existential crisis. I find my worth in my stuff. In fact, most of my existence is spent trying to secure things that I will never need. I am “perfectly sure of where [I] am in relation to the supermarket and the next coffee break” but I forget sometimes where I am “in relation to the stars and to the solstices. [My] sense of the natural order has become dull and unreliable” (N. Scott Momaday from “The Man Made of Words”). I guess I only need what God provides, but it is so hard to remember that when I see the things I am supposed to “need” in order to be happy. But for those things I do actually need, like food and clothes, I can be vigilant. I can ensure that my choices make an impact, the one I want, and do not make too much of one, the kind I don’t want.

But I beat a dead horse, and it still won’t get up and run.

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