“l know you’re partial to convenience stores, but dammit, H.I., the sun don’t rise and set on the corner grocery… You gotta have a little bit of ambition.”-Raising Arizona
I worked delivery every meaningful hour this past weekend. As I do most weekends. I’m not complaining; I actually sort of enjoy it. I’m drawn to the starving artist lifestyle – serving customers by night, reaching for the eternal by day (You can reverse that). And yes at this point I do take my little self-published fan-fiction movies seriously enough to call them art. Not seriously enough to do them a 5.1 surround mix…Yet😈
Gotta strike a balance. This lifestyle suits my happiness. But, as John Goodman (and every meaningful person in my life) beseeches, “you gotta have a little bit of ambition.”
What’s funny about this quote is that every person in the scene is a convicted criminal, and they are plotting the next best american robbery. So what’s ambition if not that?
While I was driving this past weekend I kept hearing this ad on my car radio – the most depressing ad I’ve ever heard in my life. It was for a healthcare company called Tri-Health. A young woman’s soothing voice assuring us, and I’m paraphrasing heavily, ‘her’ company will be there (to reap the profits of our cancerous demise). She says, “you take care of the caffeination, we’ll take care of the vaccination$.”.. (You work yourself to a bloody pulp, we’ll clean up your grease $tain) (You succumb to crippling stress-induced depression, and we’ll prop you up with a cocktail of pharmaceutical$) (You keel over from heart failure and comorbid cancer, and we’ll collect the charges from your estate over your dead body!) Ughhh it just put me in the worst mood. So the next time it came on the radio I turned the channel. And the time after that, and after that.
Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect and appreciation for healthcare workers. But it’s our cultural dependence and worship of the system that saddens me. It is our inclination to work until we break, and let them fix us. We are misguided.
I gotta have a little bit of ambition. But this I do believe, that it should not be quite the same sort of ambition my parents had. They did nothing wrong. In fact they’ve done more right than I can hope to realistically. But this is 2021. The planet is in dire straits, and so is our health. Don’t make the mistake of believing this is just the way things are. Don’t believe that the body grows old and deteriorates simply as a matter of course. There are things we are doing as a culture that are detrimental to our health, and the health of the other 99.99% of Earth’s beautiful inhabitants. You know it, I know it. Let’s fix it.
Women used to die at an astonishing rate bearing children. Newsflash: they still do. But then even more so. One major cause was bacterial infections. From doctors refusing to wash their hands before delivery (bc it was somehow below them?) That was before a man by the name of Ignaz Semmelweis suggested they do so. This was around 1850. They called him crazy and dismissed him. So he did go insane. He couldn’t drop it, couldn’t ignore the injustice, the unknowing poor mothers dying. He was ordered to a barbaric mental asylum. Frustrated, he sliced his own hand with a dirty scalpel and died of blood poisoning very shortly after. How’s that for a poetic ending? Only after his death did other people figure it out. True story. True hero.
History shows us our mistakes of the past. What mistakes are we making today?
My next post will be about hope.