A middle aged millionaire adventurer finds out that he has a rare form of cancer and will die in 6 months, regardless of what the doctors do. He looks around at all his wealth and everything he's done and feels only emptiness. Having long rejected organized religion he's not sure what he can do to find peace and fulfillment during his final days. Desperately he asks around among his adventurer friends who have criss-crossed the globe many times between them. Finally, a few weeks after starting his pleas he hears a rumor of a hermit monk living high in the mountains of Tibet who has achieved full enlightenment and knows the meaning of life. The price for an audience with him is quite steep though, as one must donate all one's worldly possessions to charity and undergo a cleansing ritual before even being allowed to seek him out. The adventurer decided that he might as well go for at as his days are numbered anyway and he has no heirs to inherit his possessions. He gives away everything beyond what he'll need to mount the expedition, goes to Tibet, undergoes the ritual, and already starting to feel the effects of the cancer sets out to climb the mountain. He quite a bit of mountain climbing experience but he is weakened by his disease and this is a much more treacherous route than any he has attempted before. At the end of the first day his guides turn back, saying that to attempt to climb the mountain by this path is suicide. By the end of day 2 he is growing weak and frostbite is setting in but he presses onwards. At the end of the third day he can go no further and he collapses in the snow, breathing heavily and realizing that his life has come to an end. Just as he is about to give up entirely and let the darkness take him, he sees a lantern emerge from a crag in the rock, and a very old man gingerly climbs down to where he lies in the snow.
"Hello my son. Why have you come here?" The old man betrays no emotion on his time-worn face. His English is broken but understandable.
"I seek enlightenment. To know the meaning of life. I have given away all that I owned and I underwent the ceremony. I am dying now and I want to know why it is that I lived."
The monk nods in understanding, as if he has been through this before. "Very well. Life....is a fountain."
The adventurer waits for a few moments and realizes that the older man intends to say no more. He erupts in rage. "What do you mean life is a fountain? I come through all this hardship and climb all this way for that? To learn that life is a fucking fountain? That's bullshit!"
The old monk looks puzzled for a second then his features erupt in surprise. "Wait. You mean life's NOT a fountain?"
A man joins a Tibetan temple. He takes a vow of silence but is allowed to say two words every year.
After an arduous 12 months of eating rice, sleeping on a wooden bed with a raggedy blanket, and working 14-hour days in the field, the man goes to the head monk and says 'More blankets.'
Another year passes, and he visits the head monk and says 'more food.'
The man goes through one more year eating good meals and sleeping well, but he's drained by the long work days. He calls on the head monk and uses his two words to say 'I'm leaving.'
"Good" the head monk replies. "You've done nothing but bitch since you got here."
I'm not sure why I wanted to write down those two jokes but I just felt compelled to do so. I guess it's because they illustrate two important principals that I am striving to live by. One, nobody really knows as much more than you as you think or understands as much as they think. Two, everything's relative to your perspective and surroundings.
My computer broke down on friday and I'm not going to be able to get it fixed until spring break. I tried using my mom's laptop but ended up buying a new keyboard for my old rig, which is what I'm writing this on. Lack of high-speed internet access was a bigger blow than I thought it would be and I really can't handle not being able to write in my journal right now. It culminated tonight in what I'd describe as a small panic attack that was really just a burst of nervous energy making my mind race and compelling me to run out into the snow to search for a couple books and this very keyboard. It's a very strange thing that just a few months ago I was struggling to get ANYTHING written down and now I find myself going stir crazy if I'm denied the ability to express myself for just a few days. It's a positive development as far as I'm concerned. My dream is to be a writer, and it's a good thing that I feel the NEED to write. That's almost a requirement.
That segues nicely into talking about my recent man-date with Aaron. I've decided to call two heterosexual male friends going for dinner and a show together a man-date. There's a certain tension inherent in such an endeavour, at least when the two males are not currently seeing anybody. It's like sitting across the table from a handsome jewish reminder of your utter failure with women. Then there's questions of who picks up the check and sitting in the theater next to one another. It's not that it's uncomfortable it's more...chagrin inducing than anything else. Anyway, Aaron and I had a good time, saw a show called "Drowning Crow" which is a modernist play (based on a Chekov play)featuring everything from slam poetry to video projection and a main character who commits suicide 3-4 times during the course of the play (one time he's both live and on a video display.) Alfre Woodard has an impressive chest for a 50 year old and though the play's ending was pretty terrible it was at least an interesting process to get to that point. Oh, and the reason that my previous paragraph segued into this discussion is that one of the characters in the play is a famous novel/screenwriter who claims to be held prisoner by his need to write, cannibalizing his own life for the amusement of the decadent masses. Whether he actually is that is more questionable but at least he says it.
The "longhair saga" (I am refraining from refering to it by a gate suffix for the benefit of gentle Aaron) was revived over the weekend when she didn't get notes from other people and I offered my illegible scrawlings as a final resort. Ultimately nothing came of it but each email or lack just set my mind and emotions spinning no matter how much control I attempted to exert. Deleting them straight away seemed to help some, a good strategy to remember for future crushes. Strangely when she asked for notes today before class I had no real reaction. She didn't believe that my notes were an illegible scrawl (they are worse than my normal handwriting since they are done in the dark for the most part) but fortunately someone else was able to give her the notes so I didn't have to prove myself. During class I returned to the strategy of eyes on the TA or the window at all times and things went fine.
I've decided that I will try a film project for the class with an aquaintance from Spanish a couple summers ago. I really need to just get out there and try to shoot something, and he's a pretty nice guy who should be fun to work with. I will update if it actually works out.
Finally I have 2 (count them two) mid-terms on wednesday. One is a take-home and one is in class. Neither am I really prepared for. I'm freaking out a LITTLE but I still have time to pull my shit together and get it done. I think I'll be okay. The in class one isn't really that important since it gets cancelled out if your final is better.
I'm frustrated with myself for not having dieted earlier. I'm ready to be relatively fit NOW damn it, but I'll just have to wait. Very annoying. I've been feeling lonely again recently. Even thinking about dating and what that would be like. I have now progressed to the emotional maturity of a 14 year old boy, and only 8 years late. Bravo me!
I think I have the beginnings of something I can write over spring break. That's pretty exciting to me if regardless of what else is going on.