This is why a preacher, after a certain number of sermons, doesn't even have to prepare them any more.
This is why you can hand a salesman any product and he'll make it a success. The product is irrelevant, so long as it's better than yesterday's product. If people had memories that stored more than 24 hours of experience, they'd realize this. Maybe they'd wait a few more days, until the product grew into something really remarkable, or maybe they'd wait until the one they already had broke down.
But progress spins through town on shiny chrome wheels, those spinny ones tricked out with neon, and there's bass pounding out of the trunk to rattle the neighborhood's windopanes, and a custom paint-job sponsored by sponsors, and there's so much money wrapped up in all that kit that we didn't have enough left for the brakes. So we're not slowing down.
Which is just fine, because, you know, the economy. It needs us to keep forgetting, now that we've swapped the gold standard for credit and chrome.
* * *
Really we're starting from scratch every single day. Last semester, last fiscal year, last night at the bar: we've got grades and spreadsheets and regrettable text messages to show for them, but they're best left for the machines to analyze. What matters to US are the things we're going to do TODAY. Yesterday is in the can, tomorrow out of reach. Today is all we have.
There's a group of alcoholics out there (I'm sure they have a chapter near you) who have this serenity prayer what talks about knowing the difference between the things you can control and the things you can't. Once, I despaired when I saw this prayer tattooed across a beautiful young mother's shoulders, but that's just because I can't abide tattoos. They're too hard to forget. They stretch today out into too long.
This is the bit everyone knows, that fits on a tattoo:
God grant me the serenityAnd then there's the rest, that you have to go to meetings (or use Google) to find:
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;The prayer's got a good point. Life hands you garbage, might as well sit back and take it. Can't do much about that. See, what you can control is your wallet, so just throw out all that old garbage and go shopping. Join a support group, trade up to an eco-friendly car, call the cable company and add a few more channels to your plan. All you really got control of is THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW, so by golly you better EARN and BUY and CHANNEL SURF like there's no this afternoon, because by now I think we can all agree that there isn't.
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Some might argue that that serenity prayer's lowered the bar too far, that "accepting the things I cannot change" doesn't preclude us taking responsibility for our future or force us to forget our past. Well, maybe not. But when a nation lets a bunch of drunks and drug addicts dominate the national mood with bumper stickers, meetings in every town, tee-shirts, seminars, and tattoos on beautiful young mothers, it's gotten beyond arguing the finer points, and deserves whatever's coming to it.
So why worry? It's time better spent stocking up on canned goods and ammunition. Not because you want to use it tomorrow. Because it looks shiny in the closet, today! (And doesn't it just make you feel good, knowing it's there?)
* * *
We start from scratch every day. The brain boots up from whatever it's doing at night (Running stress-test simulations? Installing antivirus software?) and you see sun in the windows and maybe there's a woman next to you.
You may feel the compulsion to take notes. It's better to resist it. Consider: if you spend this moment taking notes, you're missing your one chance to control the one thing you have control over, which is this moment right now. And you're condemning your future self to spend time down the line reviewing the notes about the woman and the window and the sun out there way back right now, if he's unfortunate enough to go through your notebook, which I think we can agree, at this point (and I'm not just flattering you here) he'll be clever enough to avoid. Wouldn't you rather switch on the TV, or go shopping? There are things TO DO, fer heavenssakes!
And as for sharing those notes, well, doesn't it seem like an awful imposition to expect anyone else to read them?
I mean, really, who the hell do you think you are?