Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Man, you are such a difficult problem to yourself.

Alexander Pope
One day I saw a clown perform a funny act. He had his finger stuck in a bottle. He tugged, he pulled, he twisted, he shook, he held the bottle between his legs and tried to pry his finger out with the other hand, he even tried swinging the bottle back and forth trying to dislodge his finger. Finally, exhausted, he removed his hand from the bottle, reached into his back pocket, took out his handkerchief to mop his brow, put the handkerchief back in his pocket and then stuck his finger back in the bottle and started tugging again. It was very funny, but it was telling us a serious story. How many problems do we create for ourselves that we could have avoided or solved if we only applied some reason, and aforethought?

On a more serious note, one night I was driving back to New York City from New England. I had heard on the news that there was a major protest by the gas stations in New York State against the oil companies I think, and that all the gas stations in the state had closed. So I stopped in Connecticut and filled up the tank. After I crossed the state line into Westchester County on the highway I saw that, indeed the gas stations were closed and dark. After several miles I saw a guy at a gas station desperately trying to open a closed and locked gas pump. It was a futile effort. He didn't have enough gas to get where he was going and he knew it. If he didn't get some he would probably be stranded on the highway. He wasn't going to get any out of that pump. It was too late on a 65 mile an hour highway to turn back and give him some of mine, so I just kept going.

I don't know what happened to that poor fellow. Maybe he had enough to take the next exit and turn around back to Connecticut. That would have gotten his finger out of the bottle.

New York City has several daily newspapers. I would sometimes see someone walking down the street with all of them tucked under his arm.
Evidently he was concerned about being out of touch with the world's events, so he hoarded newspapers. I wonder how much of them he read or if it was just the security of knowing that he had the news with him. I wonder what his apartment looked like.

I knew a man who hoarded the Sunday New York Times. He had stacks of them in his apartment, unread. Some people hoard food because they fear not having enough to eat. Very rich people hoard money because they can. Those who have more than they need fear not having enough so they stash it away where it's safe. In a bottle.

I hoard books. I fear ignorance, inanity and stupidity. It's a form of my germane claustrophobia. So I hoard books. I always have a book in my pocket or my back pack just so that no matter where I am I will have something interesting to read, a catalogue of ideas and creative expressions. I don't know how many books I have but they control my apartment. They let me live here. Do I have my finger stuck in a bottle?

We can all be free of the traps we set for ourselves, just as the clown showed us, if we can admit two things. One, there are habits and behaviors that do us no good, muddle up our lives and tie us down. And two, there are difficulties we have made for ourselves, we invented them, gave them justification and now they control us.

Moral: Take you finger out of the bottle and get on with life.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Summer is moving along, people.

It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you.

Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?


16 answers so far.

You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.



Geo. said...

A moving post, DB. Made me look around the room a while. I got books within a long arm's reach --new, old, ancient. All glow from habit and constructive dilapidation. They're like kids' stuffed animals deformed by millions of hugs. You don't shitcan that. But how'd you know about the bottle on my finger?

Arlene (AJ) said...

I was raised in a family that hoarded things and loves to constantly shop....I'm the total opposite and truly believe it's based on how I was raised. Even my husband hates to go shopping with me, my motto is come and get what you came for, don't look around and let's go...not his thing, lol.

pacifica62 said...

I do not hoard books or much of anything else. I am at the stage in my life when I am starting to give my things away to others who can use them or sppreciate them. I need to edit my belongings to make my life leaner, sleeker and less cumbersome. I do not want to find myself in a trap where "stuff" owns me.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Love the clown routine, I will need to remember that one for a time when I get in costume again.