But the thoughts of one young man may do nothing. Likely, it won’t. Yet some of the most profound discoveries in humanity were accidents. The pacemaker, the microwave oven and erectile dysfunction medication all have something in common. They all found existence while someone was trying to do something else. It sounds like the start of a ‘dad joke’ but it is very much true. And as a father, I will reserve, use and abuse my right to make as many ‘dad jokes’ as I see fit.
But back to the point. Lives have been saved, made and destroyed all by accident. By the thousands. Millions. Billions. Sure, intentions of good and bad and otherwise may have some influence, but let us give a little credit to chaos. It is so beautiful, after all. Horrific, but beautiful.
But we humans, we make plans. We fill ourselves with hope as though it was what we were born to do. And perhaps we do nothing but set ourselves up for disappointment. Yet we cannot help ourselves. We’re mad for it. Addicted. Fiending for a fix of formulated happenstance. And the withdrawal from that failure can be devastating. In a moment, optimism can be drained like blood from a slaughtered hog. Fast at first until it slows to a tedious drip. Drip. Drip. Until empty. Nothing.
Alas, my friends, things are not so simple. For if they were disappointment could be avoided. We would only need to steer our hearts steady away from hope. Expecting catastrophe could prevent it. Right?
But that is not how it works, is it? Because unintended consequences are not exclusive to disaster. I will even be as bold to claim that the inverse is far more powerful. Joy, glory, love, and so on- the most profound versions of these often happen when expecting something else. Or even expecting nothing at all.
I can say this certain for myself. And I do not think it insanity to claim that you could see that for yourself. In romance alone, the penultimate version on finding such occurrence is given a name very specific to a lack of preparedness. To be swept off your feet, as they say. And that is just one aspect of profound positive emotion. And as a young man, that version still has quite the appeal for me. Enough so to still be able to battle cynicism.
For there is a struggle with a vague dichotomy. Hoping for the best and yet expecting the worst. And even after damage is done and the fortifications of prevention are built, they do not always last. Even your narrator has succumbed. Attempts at protection by means of isolation have and may always fail. For without looking for anything, something may be found. Perhaps you just want to see the band. And yet, there you are. Watching someone dance. Not with anyone nor looking for anyone. And not for anyone, aside from herself. And despite your better judgement, you decide to say something once the music ends. And she says something back. With colossally wonderful eyes and an honest smile. And just like that, hope.
Just like that, tragedy. Because she cannot stay. For two lives were lived this whole time, never knowing each other. And those two lived had made plans and sculpted their paths without ever anticipating each other. And for all its grandness, it may never be again. And even if they try, life gets in the way. And maybe they say goodbye, at least. You would hope. But they may not. And so, it goes.
But would it be fair to argue that they would have been better off without ever crossing paths? Sure, that would be fair. You cannot hurt without hoping you won’t. So, if you cut the hope, no hurt, right?
But this is life. And we know about the complexity of all that. And a few moments can feed an army of thought. And in hands that are willing and/or able, something can be made from it. And living without hope isn’t life. It is only waiting around to die.
And from the darkest pits of the human soul can come some grand pearls of inspiration. Because sad or angry love songs always sound better than the happy ones. And if you disagree with that, you have no taste, my friend. And you have certainly never tried to write a song yourself. Not that the happy ones are bad. But happy people don’t need solace. But sad and angry people could always use a proper tune to validate their feelings.
So, what have I said here? What has been accomplished?
Nothing, likely. Other than me fulfilling an obligation I have set for myself.
Or maybe there is something in the effort alone. To try at something. To try the impossible. And to fail. To go down, burning bright and fevered with mad glory. The stuff of legends. That may inspire some other fool to give the nest effort at something great. And perhaps they will find something along the path to oblivion. Something they did not see coming.
Because you cannot be surprised if you know what will happen next. And you cannot enjoy the unexpected, if you always cling to how you thought things would be.