Friday, September 26, 2008

I Watched Something Die

I watched something die today, while I worked. It was a massive stink
bug, something on another day and in another place I would have
happily squashed without a sudden thought.

I was sampling a rail car, and I had just pulled up my zone sampler
full of tar, thick and heavy and drizzling all over the outside of the
tool, when this bug flew right at it. right into it. Its wings stuck
grotesquely in the tar and they became immobile on its back as it
struggled, falling down onto the funnel but not down into my jar. From
this moment it was dead. The tar would kill it, and anything that
might wash the tar off would kill it. It was dead, it just didn't know
it, yet. Crawling about on my bucket and on my sampler and funnel. Two
or three rail cars later, it tried to climb the rope, and as I worked,
it's oil weighted body fell... catching on the side of the hatch to
the car.. the oil keeping it from falling even as it kept it from
holding on... slipping.. sliding horribly downward, slowly losing as
its limbs moved slowly.. as though pushing through water even in the

It finally fell. Landing on the dense tar, a heart wrenchingly slow
submersion into the semi liquid. Flailing legs and squirming, coating
itself ever more thoroughly as it sunk. The black ichor swallowed it
whole, and swallowed it slowly. Forced to stand still while my work
slowly drizzled the vile substance into my collection jar, I watched.
Fascinated, sympathetically, filled with a sort of sickness. How
watching this thing die in such a way made me feel... for something
that I might have squashed without a second thought.

How it occurs to me that it is the way it died that tore at my soul. Slowly.

Nothing should ever die slowly. What worse thing is there for a good
person than to watch the suffering of another being? I ought to have
crushed it when first it landed in my work. Crushed it and forgot it.
Better to have killed it quickly than to watch it drown, never to

I wonder what the dinosaurs that fell into tar looked like.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I realized something today. Psychiatrists are the greatest diplomats
that have ever walked the earth. If they ever turned their gaze from
individual patients who want treatment and faced it outward on the
world they could bring it tumbling to ruin in heartbeat. It has been
their challenge for as long as the profession has existed to change
people who believe very firmly that the whole world is wrong. The
world is subjective, any way that you see the world that allows you to
function is a good way to see the world. But the way we see the world
is so deeply personal, that even when we see it in a way that stops us
from living a life we want, even when we can identify that and we know
we want to change it, every fiber of our beings fights it.

Psychiatrists have developed and evolved the most brilliant and
coercive and subversive verbage the world has ever known. Every word
they use is carefully aimed like a precision cut to tiptoe around your
emotions and thoughts, passively avoiding questions till they need to
be asked. I was told by a therapist I knew once about the way working
with a schizophrenic goes. Say the schizophrenic has delusions that
the underside of their bed is plagued with snakes that will kill them
any time they try to leave it. As a given, they are convinced of this,
and no direct evidence could ever dispel it from their heads. Their
brain has convinced itself of the snakes' existence. This is an
unhealthy view, how can you live a fulfilling life if you never leave
your bed? You don't confront the delusion, you work around it. You ask
everything you can about the snakes. You find out if there are any
perceived ways that the person can use to get around the snakes
without them attacking. Would it help to tiptoe? Why are the snakes
there? What do the snakes want?

A person gets mad when you tell them that something they believe isn't
true. I think it's because you're challenging their world. I'd
certainly get mad if you tried hard enough to convince me that the
house I lived in wasn't mine. Everything in my universe consistently
supports that I live here, and that I have a tangible right to be
here. It is the same for a man who feels that way about a location
where he does not belong. The same for a stalker who believes that the
person he is chasing belongs with him.

I thought about this, because I was thinking about the verbage I use
to talk to people. I've never thought much about it before, but I
think that it is time that I began paying close attention to the way I
treat and talk to everyone so that I am more aware of my standings. On
some level, I can never understand people when I try to look at them
like a puzzle. They simply aren't puzzles, and it is confusing.

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