Jimbob's Journal
by Jim Harris

I am a very mellow, spiritual person. I meditate, drink herbal tea, and never speak louder than a whisper. I am therefore frankly puzzled by people who foam at the mouth and spit nickels if they have to wait more than 30 seconds for a traffic light to change. People have even shot each other over parking spaces and little league games. This is very disturbing.

Let us now pray for those people, from a safe distance of course, because they will kill us if they know we are praying for them. "Oh Lord, please help these overwrought individuals, as they are in deep denial of reality. Thanking you in advance, etcetera, etcetera, amen."

The reality is, of course, that all of us are hurtling blindly through space on a hairball that was coughed up by the sun twenty kazillion years ago, inhabiting a universe that pays very little attention to us, even on major holidays and anniversaries. Insects, the weather, exploding stars, we can't control any of it. If the President declared war on bugs tomorrow, the bugs would have nothing to fear but fear itself.

When I was in grade school, Sister Saint Ephram ("Ephie," we called her behind her back,) taught us that animals lacked free will, while people were free to do whatever they want. After sixty years of unscientific research, as far as I can tell, when people are "free to do whatever they want", they generally copy each other. No one steps outside of the well-worn base paths, lest they be called "out," and apparently no one wants to be called out.

Every day I receive urgent emails declaring the existence of government plots, alien encounters, astrological omens, and impending natural and sociological disasters. I'm never sure what I'm supposed to do about them. These pronouncements seldom come with instructions.

Some folks - strong-willed, quick-thinking types - have armed themselves, built bunkers, and stored up lots of powdered soup, thus assuming control by anticipating every possible contingency and making all of the necessary preparations to survive.

Unfortunately, I'm not handy with tools, and I can't see myself shooting anyone for trying to get at my soup. I can't even imagine wanting to survive a cataclysm. Rebuilding society from scratch would be a chore, and frankly, I fare much better in the later stages of civilization.

So if I see Armageddon comin' round the mountain, I'll probably just pay my tab and check out with the rest of the normal folks. Sometimes, you just gotta go with the flow. I think even Ephie could agree with that.

In the words of Master Po from the 1970's TV series "Kung Fu", "Control is an illusion, Grasshopper. Any attempt to wrestle steering wheel from hands of Higher Power only result in man holding steering wheel that no longer connected to car. Man then plunge off cliff - big explosion. Man can never be happy driving world, but can enjoy trip quite well riding shotgun. That will be twenty dollars, please."

Or, as Swami Tommy, my personal guru, once said to me at the Olive Garden, "Don't obsess over a fly in your soup, because that is exactly when your sun will explode. That will be fifty dollars, please."

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