Monday, December 28, 2015

Mother Nature Is Kind of a Jerk, but Lemons are Delicious

If you could talk to mother nature, what would you say? 

My first instinct was a genuine, heartfelt apology. But when I got to thinking about it, I thought, you know what? You can be a real dick. Always could, even before we destroyed you. You're very capricious, and any parenting book will tell you that kind of extreme inconsistency is terribly damaging. You created us, not the other way around. In fact, many of the human innovations messing you up were created expressly to defend ourselves against how harsh you are. You lull us into submission with temperate, sunny days, and then, from out of nowhere, catastrophic earthquake! You're all dead! Ha ha!

As is so often the case, our coping mechanisms, which once served us so well, have become deeply engrained, self-destructive habits. Maybe it's time you sat down and thought about your own part in all this. As per usual, when it's all said and done, you'll be fine, and we'll be extinct.

Now you act like you're the victim here. It's the classic cycle of abuse. You're like a violent, manipulative, alcoholic parent or spouse. When your family band together and kill you, you get to look like a saint, because you're dead and they're murderers. I'm not saying we're right, but perhaps this is what Malcolm X might have called the chickens coming home to roost.

Finish this sentence: "When life gives you lemons..."

When life gives you lemons, understand they're a metaphor. You can't make lemonade, you can't start a lemonade stand and you can't harvest the seeds, plant a bunch of lemon trees, and become one of those lemon billionaires the money people can't stop talking about. Nor can you squeeze the citric acid in life's eyes and run, because the lemons aren't real, and life doesn't have eyes. I mean, think about it. Who exactly is this "life," why is it giving you lemons, and why would anyone take it badly if it did? When some unseen force gives you free lemons, what is there to say but, great! Free lemons! You would probably instinctively make lemonade, or do something equally appealing to you with them. A self-righteous saying masquerading itself as positivity isn't really necessary.

This cliche' is not actually referring to lemons. The lemons symbolize bad fortune, which is subjective and comes in infinite different forms. You may be able to up your game, as the saying implies you should. You may not. Maybe you need some time to process, recover, and integrate said lemons into the sour but refreshing person you're going to become. Maybe you're can't just get over it, and who am I to judge? I haven't been in your shoes.

In conclusion, my grandma's favorite poem. It's served me well all my life.

Pray don't find fault with the man who limps
or stumbles along the road, 
unless you have worn the shoes he wears
or struggled beneath his load.
There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt, 
though hidden away from view, 
or the burden he bears, placed on your back
might cause you to stumble too. 
Don't sneer at the man who's down today
unless you have felt the blow
that caused his fall or felt the shame
that only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but still the blows
that were his if dealt to you, 
in the selfsame way, at the selfsame time, 
might cause you to stagger too. 
Don't be too harsh with the man who sins
or pelt him with word or stone, 
unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure, 
that you have no sins of your own
for you know perhaps if the tempter's voice
should whisper as softly to you
as it did to him when he went astray, 
it might cause you to stumble too. 

Rama Muthukrishnan

Am I sure, yae, doubly sure, that I have no sins of my own? Heck no! Have your particular lemons been thrown at me? Absolutely not - I know, because you're you, and I'm me. So I can't very well tell you what you should do with them, can I?

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