Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.
In case you didn’t know, I’m a serious overachiever. I usually apply myself to overachieve in areas where overachieving is worthless. In keeping with this admirable principle, I’m currently publishing my n-th post in a 20-day writing challenge series, where n equals a lot and certainly more than 20.
let overachieve = true; overachieve ? console.log('Mara sucks.') : console.log('Not happening.');
Don’t be alarmed. The above is pretty straightforward. It says that if the overachieve principle is true, then Mara sucks, but if it’s not true, then I don’t know what because it’s not happening. What’s the practical purpose of this? Absolutely none. See what I mean?
Why Humans Have It the Worst
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ MenGang aft agley,An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,For promis’d joy!—Rabbie Burns (obviously)
The prompt by Brett of the oh awesome O’ Canada blog is pretty poetic and tickles my literary strings (if strings can be tickled. Also: I just used an if conditional, are you terrified that I’m going to write in code again? Ha! Gotcha. I won’t. But I have to be literally restraining myself. With strings.) Here’s the prompt:
The way ants and other wild creatures go about their daily activities to survive . . . the light breeze causing a wind chime to tinkle . . . a peculiar word . . . the intricacies exhibited by a simple tree leaf . . .
Ants and mice and lice have it pretty good. They go about their business and have no clue. Humans, sadly, have feeeelings (misspelling deliberate for a dramatic effect). Even worse, they have awareness (not to be confused with mindfulness, which effectively blunts awareness and tones downs feeeelings, hence it’s a good thing).
To circle back to Burns’s poem from which I quoted above: the speaker, careless bastard, ruins a mouses’s nest as he is ploughing a field and instead of saying sorry to the poor rodent (and supplying a replacement nest), he concludes that the mouse has it bad but he has it worse because the mouse doesn’t have awareness while he does.
Now I want to cry (which, ultimately, might be better for you than when I wanted to code). Which brings us to the question of the leaf (don’t ask me how, it just does because I say so). I’m gradually becoming wrinkly, crinkly and creased like said leaf. And like said leaf, I’ll soon drop dead (especially if I’m not going to quit smoking). What a prospect.
The trouble is not being dead, obviously, the trouble is the process. While I have no first-hand previous experience of it that I’d remember, judging from the state of the leaf, it’s not going to be nice. Plus, we need to add in the Burns factor: the leaf doesn’t know it’s about to drop dead from the tree, but the human does.
Are you depressed yet? I am for one. I should’ve just copied and pasted good old (and dead) Burns in response to this prompt, which had so much potential for loveliness before I ruined it. To unruin it a little, here’s the classic conclusion of Burns’s poem. You can’t go wrong with quoting someone better.
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!The present only toucheth thee:But Och! I backward cast my e’e,On prospects drear!An’ forward tho’ I canna see,I guess an’ fear!