Be like Don Quixote



While Japan dumps 3 million gallons of radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean and the U.S. is facing a governmental shutdown, I’m at home recovering from a total hip replacement.  I’d like to write about all the wonderful ideas I have but, due to the combination of pain and pain killers, there are none.  The pain hurts, I take the pain killers, and I feel better.  If I take the maximum dose I don’t think of anything.  I just “feel” good.  No worries.  All is well.  Nothing is bad.  It’s all great and everything is going to work out just fine.

The pain killers, however, are necessary, but as I’ve recovered, I’ve needed less meds until I’m now at the point where I’m taking little more than before surgery.   Except for a sore back, a tender hip, and such, I am (while resting) in less physical pain than I’ve experienced for some time.

Still, the Vicodin is waiting right there in the bathroom—and it’s ready to numb my brain.  I even have some refills but as my pain diminishes, so does the justification to take any more pain killers.  That, I suppose is why it’s called pain management—and I’m damned glad for it.  Toughing it out doesn’t hold the allure it did when I was still rodeoing and getting stoned– well, it’s just not any fun anymore.

It’s at this point that I wonder what everyone else does to numb themselves.  For the last few weeks, I’ve had a legitimate excuse and Lord knows, I’ve made as much of it as possible.  But the fact remains that things are not well on regional, national, and international levels.

Nevertheless, I’m not one to willingly don a hair shirt and start crying for world-wide repentance.  Given a choice, I’d just as soon spend my mornings making love, my afternoons putting around on a motorcycle and riding performance horses, with my evenings engaged in playing the guitar.  In other words I wouldn’t do much at all—except to set an example–and to be honest, my only job right now is to heal up.

Such visions however are idyllic.  And then there are all those pesky facts intimating our global culture is losing its center.   Perhaps it already has—which might justify making love all morning, riding horses and motorcycles all afternoon and then playing guitar all night.

I’m not, however, an end of the universe kind of guy.  I wouldn’t have had my hip replaced if I was.  On the contrary, I’ve sided with Cervantes’ character Don Quixote.  I don’t mind playing the fool and can say from experience that jousting at windmills can be both fun and rewarding.

The Hell of it now is that just about every action a person believing in positive change can imagine seems Quixotic.  And it very well might be.  Three million gallons of highly radioactive water (with more coming) pouring into the ocean is overwhelming.  A governmental shutdown is daunting.  A world perched on the edge of chaos is terrifying.  That doesn’t imply that one should stop caring.  If we care, it follows that we’ll do something—however ridiculous it might seem.  Positive change is possible.  In the process of promoting it, we might very well, like Don Quixote, screw it up.

This, however, is the only deal worth considering.  Follow your lights.  Do what is best.  Even if it comes to naught, you at least won’t spend your last days wondering about what might have been.

As for me, I’m going to take a well-earned nap–just as soon as I finish today’s physical rehab.