When we were kids, it was fun running around trying to chase our own shadows. We thought we could do it catch our shadow. Even when we realized we could not catch our shadow, we still ran around until we were exhausted, laughing so much tears are streaming down our faces.
There are other ways to define "chasing shadows." I have a co-worker who was in Army Intelligence back in the 1980s. We agree that "army intelligence" is an oxymoron. Although he doesn't consider himself a spy, he did see himself, when he first started, as the next coming of James Bond. To keep his cover safe, we'll call him Arnold.
Arnold told me that most of the novels on the market today about spies, black operations, and the like are not 100% correct, or even close to it. He told me he could tell me in graphic detail about some of his missions, but then he'd have to kill me. We both laughed at that line, since that's what spies say in the movies. He still refused to tell me the good stuff, but he did tell me one story.
He was on a case in Mexico and had to infiltrate a home of a suspected drug lord. He was working with a local resident. We can call him Joe. Well, Joe could get Arnold over the fence and into the home. Arnold, being the smart fellow he is, didn't trust Joe, at all. He did a couple of smart things.
First, he did some recon of this home on his own before Joe was supposed to meet him. He found two entry points. One was unguarded, but a difficult entry; the other point was heavily guarded, but easy to enter. Guess which one Joe wanted to use?
The easy one of course, but Arnold was ready for him. Joe pulled a gun when they were up on wall and tried to push Arnold off the wall. Arnold was too fast. He not only knocked the gun from Joe, but also managed to get Joe in a chokehold. At that point, Arnold had only one choice to make, and that was to save his own life.
Arnold slit Joe's throat and left him on the wall. He then got away to his safe house and back to his home base. Please keep in mind this is only a sketch of one brief mission, and by no means is complete. I was shocked. I thought, could Arnold be telling the truth? Is he full of bullshit?
I'll have to think more about that, see if Arnold cares to spin some more tales before I make a final decision.
To me, chasing shadows is going after something you really want, but for one reason or another, it may remain just out of your grasp. It could be that job that you fell is perfect for you, or the girl you truly desire. It could even be a quest to create the perfect meal, or the next great invention to make our lives easier.
While I enjoy reading the daily radio trades about people getting jobs, too often it's at the expense of someone else losing a job. Hence, someone is always chasing a shadow or a new job to get her or him "off the beach."
As I've discussed in the past, jobs in radio are getting harder and harder to come by. It's not creating new jobs, but being recycled like soda bottles into carpeting.
The same goes for sales jobs. If you don't meet your quotas over a certain time, you won't have a job. Who's to say the next person hired is going to be better than the person fired. It's just a crapshoot, and I like the odds at a table game in Las Vegas better than I do for the new person I have to help train to replace the guy I really liked. Some resentment is always present when a friend is lost.
The shadows can also be figments of our imaginations, such as seeing dark shapes where none should be. Do you believe in ghosts?
Sometimes when I'm sitting in my basement, typing away as I am now, out of the corner of my eye I'll see a dark shape run past. I know it's not my cat Daphne, but my first cat Domino who passed away 9 years ago. Her ashes lie buried above me in the garden in the back yard. I know for a fact she is still with me.
In the recently canceled television series, "Ghost Whisperer," they wrote into the story line two types of ghosts without human form, the "shinies" and "shadows." The season, nay, series, finale, revealed that the shinies were the good spirits that had to cross over into the light, whereas the shadows were the evil spirits that had kept them from crossing over. This is another example of good versus evil, with good once again winning. Having Jennifer Love Hewitt help you can't hurt either.
So the next time you're walking alone on a very dark night, with not enough light to cast your own shadow, and you see one appear, be afraid. Be very afraid.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.