I’ve found the secret. It was right in front of me all along.
Here, look at this:
Now, look at this:
How about this?
Got your attention yet?
One thing or the other — or maybe a combination of all three — provoked some deep response in you.
In many ways, we’re no better than animals–and that’s good. Our deep, reptilian consciousness is always on the job — always looking for things that might kill or feed the body that carries it around. Also, it’s always looking for ways to ensure and increase its footprint in the world–via reproduction.
Those are the marks of a successful organism. It got us where we are today–and by “us” I mean every somewhat sentient creature. If I were designing one from scratch, I wouldn’t do it any differently: gotta make sure it stays alive and wants to make more of itself. I don’t have the attention span to watch it constantly, and I won’t live forever. I want it to be here after I’m gone. Otherwise, why bother?
But see, when some of us encounter this basic goodness, there’s a strong resistance to appreciating the brilliance of these drives. They seem crass or “dirty” to us in some way. And yes, if all you’re able to talk about is burgers and boobs (and maybe guns) you’re probably going to find your social opportunities somewhat restricted — at least outside of Oklahoma. Most of us feel the culturally-imposed need to “elevate our discourse,” thus leaving the base animal inside somewhat starved.
But that’s what vacations are for.
On the best vacations we eat well. We fall in love with someone pretty and do stuff with them. Something potentially dangerous happens that makes for a good story when we return, more-or-less unscathed. It’s not like daily life. It’s something other. The essential otherness of all of this makes for a true “vacation,” which, if we interpret the word literally, should be a vacating of all the crap we usually have to deal with: The stuff that seems to have very little to do with really feeding our bodies, passing along our genes, or avoiding armed Guatemalan revolutionaries taking pot-shots at the tennis courts from the jungle near Club Med. We flush the cube-world off of us during vacation, and we connect with our essential selves.
At least we should.
It frequently occurs to me that whenever I have seen a really strikingly beautiful female, I preserve all details of the surroundings of that encounter: I remember where I was, what the wallpaper looked like, what I ate that day, what I was wearing, what she was wearing, her hair. Everything is frozen in a moment. Apparently there’s some deep coding telling me yes, it’s really that important. Thus, I feel a deep drive to one day return to Bishop, California along US395 near that bank where the pedestrian in the jeans and those sunglasses passed in front of my motorcycle that day in July of 2004. She filled out that shirt nicely.
So this is what’s come through to me: Reading is a vacation in a book. Or it should be. It should be an escape into another reality beyond email chains regarding the misuse of the coffee machine at the office. It’s the elevation of text beyond just “information” into something more resembling “world.” And one way to get the reader to that level of “world” is through those portals of the soul we know as food, sex, and danger.
Thus, sometime in the near future, you should look for a story from me (or someone who writes like me) about a beautiful female chef who travels the world assassinating the evil and/or the inconvenient. She’s hot–trust me. Looks like a cross between a young Linda Fiorentino and Bettie Page, and she knows the proper temperature at which to braise a grass-fed roast. Wears nice undies. Sometimes.
Knows how to use nun-chucks, too.
Have a sexy, well-fed day. And avoid the death-dealing biker gangs.