Monday, March 4, 2013

The Positive Power Of Negative No

"There's nothing more cruel than false hope." Sashial sat staring at the East River with an angry look on her face with me and Marley flanking her as she said that. She looked angry about, oh, I'd say two-thirds of the time, but this was different. There a lot more reflected in her consternation, as if there was something personal in her statement. I couldn't imagine over what, she rarely carried the frustration she felt driving humans towards their subconscious  goals. "It's fucking agonizing. I've never even experienced it but I can see it and it pisses me off.

I didn't want to, but I had to ask. "What is it? Why is it so personal?"

She shot me a look, that same look of disgust I saw so many times before that would make a normal man throw up his hands and quietly tiptoe in the other direction. I was used to it though, and I knew her well enough to know that it wasn't directed at me, it was just the way her face was and it happened to be facing my direction. "I just see the fucking agony. This guy's been working at this company for a year now. You should see this fucking place. I've been around thousands of years and this is one of the worst collections of fucktards, cocksuckers and bitches that I've ever seen, or at least in the last few centuries. This guy Don is working there. He's far too decent to be at that God forsaken place."

I shuddered at the thought. When an archangel calls something "God forsaken," you realize it might actually be true.

"He's miserable, he's been there a year now and all they've done is fucking mistreat him and make his life miserable. He's trying desperately to get out. So his friend invites him to a party at his office, Don meets a whole bunch of the guy's coworkers. And they love him! He hits it off with everybody, he meets his friend's boss, they tell him he's perfect for an opening there and to send his resume. So he calls to set up an interview, they say the supervisor's busy, try later in the week. Later in the week becomes next week, becomes week after that, becomes next month. And Don keeps calling, because his life is so miserable, he thinks it's the perfect opportunity, he thinks this is what he's been waiting for."

Marley started to shutter as he felt Sashial's anger and imagined Don's sadness. "What happened to him?"

"Nothing fucking happened!" Sashial barked at the river. "And you know what the worst part is? They won't fucking tell him no, they can't say the opening's filled or it turned out they don't need anyone. They've just been giving him excuses time and time again, like he still has a chance, and he keeps on trying. And you know what I had to fucking do today?"

"Help him through it?" I asked?

She shifted her body towards me. "What the fuck is wrong with you? You know I don't do that!"

I threw my hands up. "Well, you've been becoming more and more interested in human things. I thought maybe it was extending to how you work."

She smiled and caressed my cheek with the back of her hand. "You are such a sweetheart. And you know if you were anybody else I would rap you upside your head for saying that." I just nodded in a agreement. "No babe, I had to tell him to give it up. I had to make him lose all hope. I did it for his own sake, but he doesn't realize it. And he probably never will."

"So, does operating through tough love give you any fulfillment?" I asked.

"It does and it doesn't," she said. "Most people have a choice and need the right direction, or hesitating out of fear. But cases like this are different. I had to crush his dream. I had to tear him down to build him up. That kind of shit's not easy. This might be hard to believe, but I have feelings too you know."

I actually did know, I've seen her emotional side probably more than anyone in her history. But I think this is the first time I ever felt sorry for her. I'd never seen her vulnerable like that. She was specifically created for a purpose, and the one thing about her that was beyond me was she never fully explained what her purpose was, she just implied it was different that what she ended up being. Whatever it was, evidently it left her more human than I realized.

"The Yankees have a spring training game starting soon," I said. You wanna go watch?"

"YES," she said. "Let's get the fuck out of here."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Supersize The Sorrow

Marley can tell you a lot about addictive behavior; spending nearly half your life in a heroin induced haze will give you that kind of insight. But there are some things to realize when it comes to the circumstances surrounding her dependency. She was drawn to drugs as a result of personal tragedy. But many of us have our own addictions; they may not be as extreme has hard drugs, but by telling ourselves there’s no serious damage, it gives us license to dive deep in our vices without escaping, and usually they come from a place not nearly as damaging as what Marley went through. When I think about the guilt she faced every time she put that needle in her arm, I feel so petty thinking about my inability to give up candy or whatever.

But Marley has always said, everyone has a right to their own pain, and just like your values differ, so do the things we cling to when we can’t have what we treasure. Before I became an angel, I had trouble seeing that. Things change. They had to.

After my engagement broke up, I was in a McDonald’s when I saw an overweight man sitting at one of the tables. Well, he was more than overweight, he was morbidly obese. I’m not saying that to be mean, he was huge, like to the point where I wondered how he managed to move, and how close to a heard attack was he. And he wasn’t just having a snack, or even what you’d call a normal meal; had about four or five boxes of Chicken Selects lined up in a row on the table. Now, my first though was to look down on him. I thought about what a fool he was, how irrespoinsible he was to have such disregard for his own health, all for the sake indulging in a manufactured, artificially flavored fast food product. 

Then I took another look at him, and I realized he didn’t have any kind of look of indulgent satisfaction on his face, like the first time I saw Pete Roberts. He looked sad. He looked really, really sad. Almost as if he knew he was hurting himself and was powerless to stop it, and instead of wondering how he could be so careless, I was wondering what happened in his life that drove him to such a sad state. And it wasn’t even a sense of pity, I felt kind of comradery in sorrow, and I thought about a time not much before then, when I bought a bunch of boxes of my beloved Tagalong peanut butter and chocolate patty cookies. I opened the box and had one. I was resolved to save the rest for later, but before I knew it, I’d gone through almost the entire box in the space of about five minutes. I was all the way down to the last one, and then I stopped. I left one in the box, and I convinced myself that if I let one be, it would me I hadn’t gone through the entire box and I wouldn’t be as pathetic as I now believed I was. But it was a sham, a loophole that wouldn’t hold up in the court of basic psychology. I knew that by doing that, I wasn’t any different than the man at the Mickey D’s, the fact that I was thin didn’t change the truth that I’d just downed an ungodly about of sugar and saturated fat because there was something missing from my life

Being an angel, you see varying degrees of sorrow like this all the time, and you have to realize Marley was right; no body is more or less deserving of intervention because of  the severity of their troubles or emotional symptoms. It’s not our place to even measure them and make a judgment call; a human in need can’t be pushed aside because we’re setting priorities. They’re all a priority. Call it first come, first serve if you want, I call it a constant process. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be an angel