Wagers and Sights

An inverse relationship exists between the power of the individual and the population of the planet. In other words, as Earth’s population increases, the influence of the individual naturally shrinks. That reduction in individuals’ ability to exercise control or command leverage, though, tends to be mitigated through political manipulation. Obviously, political manipulation does not strengthen the power of all members of a population diluted by sheer numbers; only individuals capable of employing persuasive tactics—and willing to put them to use—can consolidate and amplify their power. Persuasive tactics need not be gentle; forceful methods of securing “consent” from the less powerful are, perhaps, at least as common as genial coaxing. The means of accumulating and retaining power involves a balance between influence and coercion. When coercive methods of holding onto power become intolerable to those whose “natural” power has been usurped by others skilled in manipulation, manipulators may lose control. Whether through force or other, less violent, means, the downtrodden may rise up to retrieve and retain the powers taken from them. If I could accurately predict how and when intolerance triggers irreversible reactions, I might be in a position to make extremely lucrative wagers. But who are the bookies who would take my bets…and pay when the odds come down clearly in my favor?


Today is my sister’s birthday. Yesterday was mi novia‘s birthday. A brother’s birthday will be three days hence, on Monday. Considering the number of people on the planet, having people in one’s close spheres with temporally close birthdays is not unusual. Still, it’s a little surprising to me. I suppose I am easily surprised, even when there is nothing surprising about the circumstances that surprise me. Another word for that kind of illogical surprise is gullibility. But gullible and surprised have very different meanings. I wonder whether my mind is twisting language and reality into unrelated pretzel shapes? Would a psychiatrist or psychologist, confronted with the way my mind works, assign uncomplimentary labels to my thought processes? At what point could I be involuntarily committed to a hospital’s psychiatric ward, simply for engaging in pretzel logic? How many people in years past—and even in modern times, today—have been robbed of their freedom simply because their minds do not function in ways the rest of society believes are “normal?” At what point is deviance from “normal” sufficiently “abnormal” to warrant assignment of “deviant” labels that can then be used justify “soft” incarceration? And what in the name of all that’s holy or logical or relevant does veering into a discussion about deviance have to do with birthdays? There must be something. There must be a reason my mind connected birthdays with social classifications of deviance. But…maybe not.


I woke at 1:00 a.m. with an upset stomach. I returned to bed after 20 minutes or so, but did not get back to sleep for at least a couple of hours, and then only in fits and starts. I awoke and got up, afterward, just as the sky was showing definite signs of daylight. I do not like waking in daylight; when that happens, I wonder what I missed in the pre-dawn darkness. I can never know what I missed, because I missed seeing whatever it was. I did not have an experience that I would have had, if only I had arisen before the sun began filling the sky with light. Those moments can never be recovered. Once they are gone—and once it’s clear I missed those pre-dawn minutes or hours—I realize I missed once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. That realization is a punch in the gut; it’s like sleeping through the moon landing and learning no one recorded the historic moment. But I did wake up during the night and I did experience an upset stomach; so, at least I have that memory to hold onto, if nothing else.


Once again, immediately after deciding I feel settled where I am and do not need to consider moving somewhere else, I feel intensely restless. Lexington, Kentucky. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Grand Island, Nebraska. Jackson, Mississippi. Holden Beach, North Carolina. Lynx, Ontario. Somewhere else. Just “away.” There are thousands of other possibilities. How can I stifle these recurring urges to go? And do I really want to stifle them? Or do I want to indulge them…explore what it is that keeps me longing to be in another place, a place no one knows me? I should retreat into my office and write myself into my imaginary town of Struggles. That would give me the opportunity to experience all the places I think I might want to go; all in my mind.


I will see what I will see.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.