Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bill Gates can't dance

In my previous life, I once found myself lounging on a raft in the middle of someone's very large swimming pool. Its owner stuck wires up the femoral arteries of babies, and got paid well to do that.

She sighed the deep sigh of the eternally malcontent before her pronouncement: My gardeners are so lucky! They look happy! They have so little to worry about....

Rich folk long for something, and, like all of us, often misplace their longings.

Back when I still played doctor in real life, I heard wealthy physicians complain over and over again:
I have so much responsibility. I care. I worry. I have something to lose.

Oh, look at those people [dancing/singing/drinking/tossing the shit/fishing/dawdling/rapping] like they don't have a care in the world.
Thank God for us responsible folk or they'd know real poverty.
The few docs I meet occasionally confess they're jealous that I escaped the profession. I tell them they could, too, if that's what they wanted. They continue practicing medicine, I continue to teach.
I am not particularly religious, but Genesis 2:7* resonates with me. It's a story, of course, but the stories we choose define who we are.

You lose something in the process of getting professionalized. Some call it soul, some call it "down to earth"--both come from the same idea.

God's breath mingled with dirt created us, living souls. When you turn away from God, whatever God is, you sin, no matter how powerful you are. I have no idea what the longterm price of sin is, though a lot of sleek folks will tell you wild tales while picking your pockets.

I know the immediate consequences, though--you lose a piece of nefesh, a few crumbs of your soul, this tangible mesh of clay and life's spirit. No need to toss in eternal damnation, this moment is all any of us ever have, and I prefer to keep nefesh as whole as I possibly can in a culure that would strip the clay out of my children if it could.

We are intimately tied to the earth. We cannot separate the soul from the shit.

The extreme rich are different. Their boundaries are human ones, cleansed of the clay that kept our link to the divine. The rich are the immortals. The rich have their own gods made of power and platinum. They lose touch with the earth.

Dancing doesn't cost anything, and anyone who has a higher opinion of life than he does of himself can learn to dance. I've never seen a normal toddler not dance well to the rhythm.

You don't learn rhythm, you're born with it. You have to beat it out of a normal H. sapiens. You can replace it with a series of complicated, coordinated steps that follow a prescribed pattern, but that's prancing, not dancing.

Education means a lot of things to a lot of people, but if being educated means knocking the dancing gene out of commission, save the sheepskin for the lambs. I'm going clamming on a patch of mud Bill Gates will never touch, and will wash them down with mead made by yeast fed honey and blueberries in my kitchen.

Teaching allows me to share a world Bill Gates does not know exists.  Until Bill Gates gets back in touch with the world that matters, what he thinks matters matters not.

I would never impose a hint of my religious beliefs in a public school classroom. I'd be much obliged if those in power would keep Mr. Gates' version of heaven out of my classroom as well.

*And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. KJV