Saturday, May 5, 2012
After millions of years of evolution where the pretentious primates that ultimately became humanity worked its way down from the trees and onto the vast African savannas and finally the urban jungles of our own creation there is still one huge flaw in our development that we have yet to rectify. This defect in our maturity results from our inability to learn from our mistakes forcing us to constantly rediscover simple truths the hard way. Of course, you could also say that God in his, or her, infinite wisdom realized that we were such a huge aberration in the normal progression of life in the universe that just for laughs inserted in our DNA a self-destruction sequence with a time delay just to see how stupid we could get.
This would explain a whole multitude of strange macroscale behaviors like disco, Chia pets, suburbs, narrow-minded political and religious dogma, soul-sucking hyper-consumerism, and the belief that Republicans care for the middle and working classes just to name a very few. On the much smaller individual scale of things, I can only speak for myself but I have numerous examples of my own stupidity. In fact, one of those special events happened this morning readjusting my attitude and for at least the moment my outlook on life.
It started yesterday morning as I entered the hospital cafeteria heading toward the glorious vat of cheese grits seeking corn and cheddar based Southern style nirvana. It is a given that the vast majority of people roaming any hospital located eatery are not there because they want to enjoy the smell of commercial grade antiseptic in the air while they partake in prison level cuisine. At that time of day, surgical waiting rooms are filled to overflowing with friends and family waiting for a loved one to go under the knife. The collective misery as scores of people sit in a confined spot waiting for the worst can get so thick sometimes that any escape, even to the cafeteria, can seem a godsend. Even with the welcome relief of being able to move around expressions on the faces of people in the cafeteria range from worry to outright fear.
Everything in human affairs being relative I was dealing with my own dark thoughts after a series of small disasters and irritations that originated from my attempts to make as many people happy as possible by jumping through a series of increasingly smaller hoops. Now, it must be said that unless a person is born with a Romney-like silver spoon in their mouths it is a good idea to develop the agility to leap through a few moderate sized rings but never to the point you start daydreaming about taking a chain saw to work.
Be that as it may, as I was standing in line waiting for my chance to scoop out some cheese grits, the one item the cafeteria staff has yet to find a way to screw up, I had a lot of issues on my mind but I still had enough rationality to be aware of those around me. In the serving line for the full breakfast a few feet away from me were a husband and wife. They had all the standard hallmarks of people waiting for someone about to be operated on with their worried looks and nervous movements as they spoke in hushed tones to each other. I would have not given them a second look if I had not spotted the young boy of about four or five strutting up to them like a king while holding a single-serving box of Apple Jacks cereal in each hand.
“Mom, dad,” he said proudly, “I’ve got theses!” To show everyone else in the cafeteria his remarkable triumph, he turned around in a full circle and again yelled in what amounted to an expression of pure joy, “Look everyone I’ve got these!”
Now I like kids and believe they are the best part of the human race but even the most narcisstic and cynical human parasite would have been forced to smile at the site of this little kid just out of instinct. On a side and very partisan note, I do not include Mitt Romney in that exception. Given how he acts in my opinion, he would have fired the kid on the spot then attempted to make a joke about it while relating a story about his late dad. Despite the joyful nature of the kid from the look on his mom’s face, she did not share the same enthusiasm for sugary cereal.
“Sweetie, we are getting you a good breakfast, go put those back.” That statement froze the kid in a nanosecond. The look of rapturous joy on his face was replaced with sudden suspicion and steely determination with him bringing his arms down to the point he was hugging his two small cereal boxes. His dad chose that moment to rightful backup his wife.
“Son, go put the cereal back, we are getting you some eggs, toast, and sausage. “ Now I’ve had the scrambled eggs and sausage there and if truth be known the prepackage boxes of nearly pure sugar with cinnamon flavoring are probably healthier and better tasting but there was no way I could say anything about that subject. While only seconds went by the tension in the room grew as the small scene became the center point of everyone’s attention.
The result everyone expected was that the kid would get a disappointed look on his face then walk back to the small stand were the cereal is on display. Instead, the little dude took off like a warp-speed capable rabbit still holding the two boxes, twisting dodging around the other people in the cafeteria like a hall of fame running back. I followed his progress and not only did he successfully escaped the cafeteria but disappeared out into the hallway.
In spite of it all, the scene was a welcome break for everyone with numerous people immediately volunteering to pay for the two pilfered cereal boxes once they recovered from laughing. The lesson I relearned in all this might sound a little odd and counterintuitive (but when has that ever stopped me) but I realized yesterday do not sweat the small stuff originating from people with little minds. Enjoy life as much as possible, even if it means escaping from a hospital cafeteria.