"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport."
Shakespeare, King Lear, Act IV, Scene 1
I usually do more reading in the winter months than other seasons of the year. For some reason, however, my reading has fallen away this winter despite the rain and winds in Lotusland. This has resulted in more time spent indoors, which has therefore provided, at least theoretically, more time available to devote myself to the turning of literature's pages.
It is not that I don't have several selections from which to choose. I'm currently dabbling with four fiction books and a couple of non-fiction books, along with a pile of magazines. My lack of engagement with the written word may be partly because none of the books on my table are riveting. The magazines are replete with the same old stories of hunger, war and climate change destruction. On a daily basis, I'm finding it easier, and more enjoyable, to ape the grape-swallowing Greek gawds and plop myself on Clobber's Landing, to watch TV. With all those channels, you really can find stuff of interest to watch, with no acknowledgment or apologies to King Bruce, from the State of New Jersey.
My main fiction book, when I do read, is "Don Quixote," by Cervantes. Quixote is about a Knight errant who tries to bring to life the chivalrous ideals touted in the books he has read about such knights. In that regard, he decides to take up his lance, sword, and helmet to, as one summary of the novel puts it, "defend the helpless and destroy the wicked."
Quixote is completely bonkers. He's ludicrous, akin to a convert to Scientology, spreading the gospel according to L. Ron Hubbard, in a Brazilian slum. Quixote does mean well.
Alas, at this point in the story, it appears that instead of doing good for people, his actions actually do more harm.
Moreover, in keeping with tradition, he gives up food, shelter and comfort, all in the name of a peasant woman, Dulcinea del Toboso, whom he envisions as a beautiful princess. His dedication, to Dulcinea, is indeed true to the fables of yore.
Of course, it's a complete fiction in real life. According to his traveling companion, Sancho Panza, the real Dulcinea is, in the modern lexicon, "nothing to write home about." He might do better.
Quixote means well. In all he does and despite his infamous tilting at windmills his heart is in the right place. A kind heart is always well placed.
Quixote remains a true hero and role model for mad romantics everywhere. How many of us have fallen on our own swords in pursuit of some noble but unattainable goal whether that be the end of nuclear weapons or the caressing of some fair 'princess's' breast?
It is, after-all, both the frailty and the conceit of Quixote's human condition that is operative here, as in all our lives. It is as simple as the story of the bumblebee on my rug last night. Where did he think he was? Where did he think he was going? What was he doing there at all, in the first place, in the dead of winter?
Was there some Dulcinea female bumblebee, fictional or otherwise, that stirred his bee-body onward to conquer, if not the world, at least Clobber's Den? This enterprising fury, small winged fellow certainly seemed to be going where no bumblebee dared go before.
Unlike Quixote however, Mr. Bee had no Sancho Panza to accompany him on his adventure. All alone, out on the savanna rug of Clobber's Den, his vision quest was unfolding before my eyes.
Like a Greek gawd watching from the heavens above, with shock and awe, I shouted down to him "Hello Mr. Bee... what are you up to here?"
Of course, Mr. Bee did not reply, at least not, as far as I know.
Could a mere bumblebee even hear what I was saying, and if he could, would he understand?
Alas, he merely continued his determined journey without pause, a
journey, to some unknown destination; perhaps, the open closet ahead - for some unknown mysterious reason; at least as it appeared to this attentive fascinated gawd.
Oh my, I must confess, the temptation to trample him was fierce within my momentary Mount Olympus bones. One crushing blow from Clobber's right slipper would end this little creature's 'flight'.
Fortunately for Mr. Bee, the Clobber is a gentle giant of a god, a
flippin' bleeding heart liberal in the world of bees and bugs.
Their lives so short, so, from our perspective, meaningless, it would almost be - it would be - a tremendous crime of the universe to end such a life.
I thus considered, as I often do with many resident non-rent-paying
spiders, putting it in a jar and throwing him out the kitchen window. Who am I to interrupt, to intervene against, what obviously was a mysterious tour de force.
This humble little bumble seemed to be on a mission of epic proportions. In the end, I deduced that Mr. Bee's adventure and its
outcome should be left to Fate, not Clobber's slipper or other means of intervention and/or sabotage.
Walk on Mr. Bee!
I did not give this bee life; it was therefore not for me to end it.
The Bee was simply here, as I am here, both of us treading water in
the same existential soup. For a brief moment, I had the power to end his life. I chose simply to laugh and let him bumble along, like I would do tomorrow and the next day, perhaps into my own mysterious open closets just to see what's there; maybe even to raise my feeble sword against injustice, maybe to do so in the name of some romanticized, fictionalized Dulcinea; hoping and praying the gawds above me do not stomp on me with their bedroom slippers; to hope and pray that while the gawds did not make us, they reach down sometimes, in pity, to collect us in a jar, and toss us out the kitchen window, to safety and health; and thus,
finally, to pray and hope that those same gawds are currently providing a helping hand in Haiti.
Keep buzzing, donate generously and, if you have not already done so.
Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.