You know those profound moments when you’re two fluted glasses under the influence of some fermented Italian grape and pondering the insane smallness of your place in the galactic blah blah blah? I’ve been experiencing a lot of that lately, the sort of introspective philosophical discourse that sets your hair on fire. Today, whilst reclining upon the sands, a homeless man strolled by — shade-bearing eyebrows and fingernail stains that suggested long nights digging through dumpsters for something edible – and in a momentary pause from cursing at the ocean, he looked deeply into my eyes and said “Motherfucker had a full house and I didn’t even have a pair.” The obvious assumption is a devastating poker loss, but I abhor the obvious and so:
“My brother, no balls enough to save the family, eh?”
He tilted his head in that puppy-dog habit and yearned -an actual yearning took place – for me to continue, his grey eyes reddened on the periphery like some squashed rodent.
I held his gaze, his urine smell penetrating the marine air, and waited.
In a stunning moment of lucidity, he declared, “You the first guy to get it, man. I mean, like, shit, really get it.”
I smiled. He walked away, glancing back frequently, his swiveling head reminding me of the hyperkinetic tennis fans I’d left earlier that morning.
Sometimes staring into space reveals a million stars. On other occasions just a grey sky. Back in the last millennium, Apple had an effective slogan, “Think Different.” From such luminaries, it seemed like a command, a method, an articulation of their success. Did they mean to THINK different, or to think DIFFERENT, or both? Regardless of their intent, that slogan found its way into the cosmic psyche, and now there a lot of homeless folks out there – more wandering nomadically about the poverty-stricken planet than here in our own US of A – thinking different. People talk about new energy, the power of solar or oil or electric or coal. I’m still pretty prone to believing the human mind has unlimited potential and remains fairly untapped. Perhaps it’s time to return to an investment in human capital – the brilliance of the human spirit, the talent that lies within, the creative ingenuity of a trillion neurons firing away at the world’s problems. Ethnocentric perspective is so limiting. Let’s take our problems to the poorest, the willingest, the neediest. Necessity is the mother of invention. Let’s see what an unexpected and new perspective offers. Maybe we’ll end up with a pile of garbage, but then, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Alas, back to the fluted glass….