Bout: Fantasy vs. Reality
My topic: Fantasy
My Opponent: Merrie Greenfield, Reality
Charity competing on behalf of: Barrel of Monkeys
It is a necessary splinter of glass. Deliberately un-cleared-away, it sits on the worn barefoot floor of every human being’s life.
Its job: to remind us. To ground us. Keep us from floating too high. Dreaming too much. Hoping.
Working in real estate, I saw it.
I've seen that sliver rear up, and stab. Lease clauses. Loopholes. Late payments. Drowning. The closed mom & pop stores. The abandoned strip malls. The hollowed-out book shops, their windows bare as sunken cheeks. Empty-socketed eyes staring out onto the pock-marked parking lot that will soon be dotted with weeds pushing through the unrepaired cracks--it won't take long.
I try to expand my mind beyond these corner tragedies by turning on public radio every morning as I get ready for work. Keeping my reality more global, not crushed down to the hunt-and-kill morals of the day job. But by comparison? I can handle the gutting, cleaning and devouring of legalese.
There is so much to consume in the world as a responsible human being--AND IT IS A RESPONSIBILITY--and reality doesn't care if you think it is palatable. It doesn't care if it goes with your diet. It won't serve up dishes to you in an orderly fashion. It is a trough. And it is ALL mixed in there. Basketball, the snooze button, biopsies, CTA reroutes, persecution, neglect, stabbings, rights, schools, infringements, starvation, lack of aid, pledge drives, abuse, loss and 29 days of a kid with skittles in his pocket.
And at a certain point, none of it is ugly or beautiful anymore, it just "IS" and it shovels in and it hurts. Our bellies fill, and stretch, and our ribs groan and crack.
And we day dreamers, like children at the grown-ups table, gawk at those who so happily eat these unsweet dishes--and they tell us EAT! EAT! It is good for you!
And we have to, we need to, and we do. This burnt reality tumbling to ash in our mouths.
I don't think I could wake up, could stretch my ankles to the groined floor, could walk from my bed to my life-giving shower--
I don't think I could rouse one shivering heartbeat from my breast in these latter days without the promise, the plunge of fantasy.
You know what I mean? Dessert.
We need fantasy. Sweet. Scented. The great "I WISH" melting on our tongues.
I. Need. The. Impossible. To. Get. By.
I need the Ewoks!
I need Ozma!
I need the X-Men!
I need Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy and I fucking need Mr. Thomnas the Faun. Cause Narnia is my SHIT.
I need gelflings.
I need Tim Curry, painted red, with hooved feet, pointed teeth and a prosthetic chin.
I need Fairy Godmothers, sleeping potions, lucky breaks, magic horses, girls with switchblades who turn into crows, and yellow-eyed storytellers--
who run with coyote fur on their backs.
I need Dream AND Delirium of the Endless.
I'm not saying I believe in fairies, but if they show up, I'VE DONE MY HOMEWORK.
But I’m pigeonholing my own subject.
Fantasy isn't an elective procedure we choose to engage in.
We decide every day. The mind is capable of sifting through hundreds of probable outcomes on the regular. Survival (whether social, economic, physical or spiritual) hinges on our ability to measure possible outcomes and make informed decisions therefrom. Those possibilities play out in the cinema of our reasoning conscious, a whirly-gig of "if this, then that" spiraling, predicting assessing, guessing, calculating. These tiny vignettes of possibility aren't real--
But they could be. Depending. On what. We choose.
The ability to imagine, to fantasize, affects our decision-making. It is an innate requirement perceived as essential to survival. Every human being dreams. Hopes. Visualizes.
So when you choose between laundry detergents
When you decide what to have for dinner?
You’re in good company.
On the same team as Harold, poised with his Purple Crayon. As Max, prowling in his monster jim-jams. As Dorothy and Alice, in their boundless green worlds.
Because I can guarantee you, as long as we have no choice but to stuff our maws with bills, to-do lists, bad days, obligations and all the emotional potholes of our day-to-day lives that are just so many glass slivers snapping off between our toes---we will sigh.
We will tire.
And in the silent, soft, private, curve of our minds reserved for that momentary escape, we will hunker low. Hitch our shoulders to our ears, cover our mouths and whisper into our fingers: "I wish..."