Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What Are They Thinking?

BlogStar Tony Pierce writes in an elegantly terse, melancholy post that he's just been let go by his employer.

This resonates oddly with the elaborate window-washing apparatus I'm watching from my window as it hangs from a neighboring building. Perhaps in other cities it's common, but here it's not: a huge crane atop the building telescopes out and lowers a massive scaffold on which two men stand and do their jobs. The octagonal building tapers inward for a few stories toward its roof, and sometimes, when I look at the right moment, I can see the scaffold hanging free from the building, far away from any wall, pendulous over the street fifty stories below.

The image serves as an occasional reminder, as does Tony's unfortunate situation, that we're all always hanging over some gaping maw, or poised below some Damocleian sword hanging by a fraying thread. And that this is okay. It's just what we do, try not to look up or down, go about our business, smile around the lump in our throat borne of an instinctual terror so perpetual, so permanent that we no longer even notice. Because accepting this terror, and being afraid, are very different things; the former is immanent, ontological, while the latter is immediate, a sort of epistemic matter. And I'm confident that Tony isn't afraid; lord know's he shouldn't be.

Here's hoping that he takes this opportunity to do something more glam, more worthy of his considerable talents. Seriously, Tony: make it count; go bungee jumping, take a walking tour of Tibet, write (another) book, join the circus.

Just keep doing it right, Tony -- whatever "it" is -- and you'll be in fine shape.


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