Thursday, June 09, 2016


We once had the best neighbors, up the holler from here.  We saw each other several times a week, we were close in age, had similar enough interests and diverse enough skills, had families, had some fun and passion and joi de vivre.

But George was an alcoholic and eventually that took them both away, the way that will.  I don't think I ever saw him that he hadn't been drinking some.  He did things only people who drink all the time do, the funniest of which was to complain that the rest of us didn't "take naps", which meant we didn't pass out at odd times and wake up randomly.  The most dangerous of which was to practice his "fast draw" in the mirror with a loaded gun -- which went off leaving a hole in the mirror and the wall.

But that is not what this is about.  This is not even about George and his sawmill although that is my icon for this phenomenon.  You see, George was a mechanic and body shop guy by trade, and we had another neighbor who was a logger, and so it wasn't a big stretch for them to decide to buy a portable sawmill with which to gain some independence from the paycheck.  In fact, it seemed like a brilliant idea.  The sawmill was ordered.  The sawmill came in.  George got it set up in his basement, adjusted, cut a few things.  And then it sat there.  The logger came and talked to about bringing some logs and what the turn around into lumber would be, I mean, like trying to place an order, real business, get busy you don't even have to go look for it.  And nothing happened.  And nothing happened.  And nothing happened.

Now, I know something about procrastination because there are things I put off.  But I do get to them.  You know the saying, "Shit or get off the pot"?  Well, George passed that point right on by.  The rest of us talked to each other (probably while he was "napping"), speculating what was going on, and only concluding that it just was not going to happen.  Finally it got brought up directly to George, that he was pissing a very good opportunity away and it was already all but beyond his grasp to recover.

And George said, "Well, I'll tell ya something I've figured out.  It is a whole lot more fun to talk about cutting wood than it is to cut wood."

That reminds me, of course, of just about everything else in the world.  Just how many things in the world can you think of that that applies to?

When we moved out here, young and idealistic and full of plans and piss and vinegar, people would say, "I always wanted to do something like that," and I would say, "No you didn't because if you did want to you would have.  You just like the idea of it." 

How many people want to be "horsemen" but don't want to do the day in, day out work?  And I'm not talking about stalls, I'm talking about trying to do something and failing because you don't know how until you do know how.  How many people want to eat "healthy" but want to buy it instead of do it?  How many people want to BE healthy but simply won't move their bodies enough to be healthy?  How many people want to save the world so long as it doesn't affect the day to day way they live their luxurious lives?

So the real importance of this icon is to begin to see what it is we are giving lip service to.  What wood do we *talk* about sawing but never saw.  And probably it is ok to not saw it.  It is a good enough thing to find out you don't really want to do a thing.  It is a good thing to actually do something that you actually do want to do.

But make no mistake, faith without works is dead.

No comments: