Sometimes I wonder what my life might have been like, had I been born in a different time and place. I imagine what adventures I might have had, what sights I may have seen, and what psychotropic substances I might have stuffed into various orifices. Not necessarily my orifices, mind you — I’m just saying. Any old orifice in a storm.
I think we’ve strayed off topic, just a bit. This wasn’t meant to be a whole post about who might stuff what into whose orifices. For once.
Anyway, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, I think there are some personality traits that probably persist. Whatever is strongest in us remains, regardless of circumstance or surroundings — even in fantasy. That is our core, our soul, our essence.
And my essence is ‘smartass’. So even when I imagine myself in another setting, it rarely turns out well. Take, for instance, how I think I might have been as a humble student in a Zen monastery:
Zen Master: Come in, young grasshopper.
Me: You wanted to see me, my biggity Buddha?
Zen Master: Yes, I — hey, stop calling me that.
Me: Okay, how about the ‘pimp of Zen’?
Zen Master: I don’t think so.
Me: I could shorten it to ‘pizzle to da Zizzle’. Better?
Zen Master: No. And that’s not shorter.
Me: Maybe ‘Zenny G’, then?
Zen Master: Definitely not. Look, that’s not why I called you here.
Zen Master: It is almost time, grasshopper. Your training is almost complete.
Me: Really? I’ve only been here a few months. I’m that good?
Zen Master: Er… no. Not exactly. You’re driving the other students crazy, so you have to leave.
Me: Oh. I see.
Zen Master: But you may have one chance to leave this place with honor. If you have regarded our teachings, then you have already learned enough to pass the final test.
Me: Final test? What is it?
Zen Master: You may complete your training if you can snatch this pebble from my — hey!
Me: You mean this pebble? Hah!
Zen Master: It wasn’t in my hand yet!
Me: Well, sure it was — that’s where I got it from.
Zen Master: No, no — it was in this hand. I was just picking it up to place it in my other hand. That doesn’t count. Give it back.
Me: If I give it back, do I pass the test?
Zen Master: Wha — no. No, the test hasn’t started. Give me the pebble.
Me: Say the magic woo-oord…
Zen Master: Fine. Please give me the pebble.
Me: Okay. Here you go.
Zen Master: That’s a different pebble. Where’s the first one?
Me: No, no — that’s the same one. Really.
Zen Master: It’s not even the same color. Look, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Now, you can complete your training if you can snatch this pebble from — *smack* Hey!
Zen Master: Why did you smack my hand?
Me: I didn’t — I just grabbed the pebble. See?
Zen Master: Oh. Well — hey, wait a minute. That’s the first pebble! You cheated — again!
Me: What? No. Nooooo. Not me.
Zen Master: Yes, you. Loser. Now, I’m going to give you one more chance. No cheating. No second pebbles. No shenanigans at all, you understand.
Zen Master: For real, now?
Me: For real. And honestly, ‘shenanigans’? That’s so twentieth century. *snort*
Zen Master: Look, let’s just get this over with. Now — your training will be complete if you can snatch this pebble from my hand.
Me: That pebble? Right there?
Zen Master: That’s right. Snatch the pebble.
Me: But… I don’t want that pebble.
Zen Master: Really? You don’t want it?
Me: No. Not at all.
Zen Master: Impressive. So you have realized, then, that life is suffering. And the root of suffering is desire. And by not desiring the pebble, you reduce your suffering at not possessing the pebble. Perhaps your training truly is complete, grasshopper.
Me: Um… that’s great and all. And it all sounds nice… but that’s not it.
Zen Master: Not it? You’ve not discovered the secret of a peaceful life? Then why do you not desire the pebble?
Me: Because that pebble… is a petrified chihuahua turd. I walked your dog out here this morning.
Zen Master: I see. Well, there’s just one lesson left for you, then. *palm thwack on my forehead, hard*
Me: Guh! Wha — what the hell was that?
Zen Master: That, grasshopper, was the sound of ‘one hand clapping’. Get your crap and get the hell out of here. Assbag.
Me: Wait… really?
Zen Master: Fo shizzle, dog. You Audi.
Me: Aw, poop.
Ah, maybe I’m making too much of it — maybe, in the end, I could tuck my smartassyness away long enough to respect my elders, or authority, or a set of several-thousand-year-old traditions. But I doubt it. And hell, I had to post about something, right? So there you have it. Happy Hump Day, folks!Permalink | 2 Comments