Long Press The Start Button

Revolution or reformation? The question is a boot pressed to the neck of the distressed, the downtrodden, and the disenfranchised. Can the system be saved or is it so forgone it must be vanquished? Should our bricks be used to rebuild or hurled through windows? History does a remarkably poor job at exit interviews. The haze of war obfuscates our decision making. We are forced to act with imperfect information. And yet we must decide and own the consequences.

In pinball there is a sneaky escape hatch for a game gone wrong. As long as you have credits available, you can hold down the start button and begin a new game. Revolution. The slate is wiped clean and you can abandon your failed endeavors and begin anew. Looking over your shoulder, hoping no one notices your Irish Goodbye, you sneakily ask for a do over.  All it costs is a credit and your pride. 

It is an act of sheer cowardice, a stunning lack of faith. All one needs is a ball and a dream.  It offends me when people give up. Quitters. We have the untapped capacity for third-ball greatness. A righteous comeback for the ages. Right?    

As I've grown older (read: more of a coward), my sympathy for the do-over has increased. My existentialist island has turned into a peninsula. Sheer tenacity and will can only get you so far. Much as I begrudgingly admit, sometimes the world is larger than your ego. We exist not in a vacuous world under glass, but in an exceedingly complicated network of social, societal, and personal entanglements. Many, if not most, are beyond one's control. 

To ignore the soil a plant grows from is irresponsible. Tenacious roots are no match for an 11-year drought. Some years grow better crops. Some fellas just ain't out to make good wine.  And yet, what does this realization yield? 

What good does it do to recognize these limits? I prefer a reckless, youthful, and wholly unearned optimism. Believe in yourself. Never tell me the odds. I’m talking to you now. I’ve been failing lately. I’ve been a bad friend, a worse lover, and an absentee artist. I’ve  been the worst version of myself. It’s ball three and I’ve got nothing setup. I started this blog twelve years ago when I moved to Chicago, knew no one, and was cripplingly lonely. Fast forward a grade school education and I’m in the exact same place. I’ve made the same mistakes. Learned nothing. Hurt those worthy of love. 

Can I be saved? When people say, “Some of y’all need Jesus,” I’m y’all. But the big man left me on read so, I’m going it alone. Well, alone with some great friends, a therapist, regularly talking to my pops, and a well-used gym membership. I’ve made promises I intend to keep. If I’m going to fail, it’s going to be righteously. I’m going to be a better man. This hunk of junk can be repaired. I’m betting on me. 

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