‘…out there in the shadow of the modern machine…’

One time at a summer camp, I believe it was after 7th grade, I was talking with a few of the counselors who were in charge of my little cabin. They were a rather crazy bunch: one huge guy from Slovenia, one guy with two scars on his back from where he was shot by another kid when he was 13, one crazy-ass English guy whose idea of fun was doing ‘about a pound of acid’ and watching the Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd on, and one relatively normal guitar virtuoso. For all this they were a lot of fun, and probably overestimated our level of conversational ability, but that’s all right.

At one point there was a comment made by one of them, and I don’t completely remember it, but an observation that was something to the effect of this: People from relatively disadvantaged families will often work hard and achieve success, provide good lives for their children, only to have their children tend to fall from that same level of success. Due, presumably, to being brought up not to work as hard, because it isn’t as necessary.

These are obviously gross generalizations, but when I think about it I guess it makes a certain amount of sense. Lately I’ve suddenly become aware, if not exactly afraid, that there’s a chance that I’ll follow a path that will prefer ease and comfort over success. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that, indeed one could argue against the importance of material wealth and that not caring about such things represents a freedom from worthless worldly obsessions. If I were to do so, however, it would be not for any lofty idealistic purposes but arise merely from sloth and indolence. On my fridge we have magnet poetry. Someone wrote there, and it remains, “never question comfort”. As much as I’d like to offer all sorts of complicated philosophical reasons for being such an epicurean, I’m afraid I’m just lazy. And it’s killing me.

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