Friday, May 13, 2016

My Unpopular Notions

I have always been an out of step person, from infancy to now - to infinity and beyond - in virtually all matters. After I left service in the Navy, I became an anti war freak and a civil rights advocate. I was true to the principles, but not really in step with the other protesters. As in other matters. I became attached to a succession of women, most of whom were good marriage prospects, but I always broke it off, knowing I would never be in step with their goals, would not fulfill my part of the bargain. I worked every job less than a year, before leaving, because none of it fit. I recall a time, when I roved the country, by thumb and rail. Work was easy to come by. The Manpower operation was a source of quick money. In one instance, I came into Kansas City, broke. Another transient personality asked me where I was staying. I ended spending a few nights at his place. He told me, one day, that, "I could have a home and job, back where I came from. But I never fit in. I prefer to be alone." My preference was just the opposite to his, but a cure for my missteps seemed nonexistent.

After the Peace Movement collapsed, and most civil rights protests were no more, the world seemed to tighten and be less indulgent to ordinary Americans. Money was not as easy to come by. Nixon's war still raged, and the only movement left seemed to be Veterans Against the War. Kent State, instead of becoming a rallying cry, deflated for all time the counter revolution. Suddenly people were environmentalists, or totally non involved. A family tragedy sent me back to Texas. I was thrown into the rat race I had so long avoided. And finally, at thirty, took the plunge, to become married.

Though I have raised up four children, and I still love my wife and family, the fact of not fitting in stays a reality. I settled into a job that lasted twenty three years. They loved me for my devotion and hard labor and I am in touch, long after retiring. But I was never the best at my job. I overcame deficiencies by working harder than anybody else and by caring enough to see the recipients of my effort were well cared for.

One of my favorite works of literature is Faust, by Goethe, and I suppose I find my life justification in the ending of Part Two. Where Faust dies and God stops Mephistopheles from claiming that tortured soul. Though Faust was wayward in his ways, he never gave up, never ceased to struggle: for this he was saved. As long as I have the mental clarity to struggle, I will do the same. 

1 comment: