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Burrito Wisdom

February 8, 2014

I cannot claim to be in the best shape for writing this email, having burned my mouth on a microwaved burrito. I thought the thick slice of Swiss cheese placed on top might mitigate its heat — I was wrong. Pockets of magmal bean and beef cloistered themselves in the interior, waited out the cool-down, then exploded upon the biting, reminding me again of who the true Master of this life is, the Whipholder, King of Trumps, Squelcher Victorious, Killjoy Excelsior, Fucker of Fuckers — I mean, in plain terms, Our Dread Lord Pain. Not ‘Pan,’ mind you, who has a whole funky cool thing going on and can be a lot of fun at parties, but ‘Pain.’ What is Art next to Pain? What can Imagination do in His company but wither? And how long can Love last under His Shadow?

Pain wins. Victory is always to Him and His Brothers: Grief, Loss, Fear, Despair, etc. (it is a large family) until at last Death shows up to call the game; He always calls it the same way. To these Dark Brothers belongs ultimate power. Not to us. Never to us. Not to our loves, hopes, joys, beauties, jokes, or charms. We lose.

So some will seek to make peace with the Brothers. They — we, for all of us succumb to this at times — will look to Them as allies, kiss-up, claim Their Power as our own.  We boast of our intimacy with Them, our smug knowledge, as if this offered protection. Our Enemies’ victory assured, we try to switch to Their side, to try to claim that victory, or at least not be crushed underneath it. But this cannot work. We may try to be friends to Them but They will never be friends to us. We may run from the fight, but the fight will find us. We will be crushed, our white flags and wisdom entirely ignored.

The way is otherwise. It lies in finding glory in the midst of defeat. In snatching the moments between the blows and turning them to loveliness. In secret spaces our gardens bloom briefly. We turn away from our fates and tend to the temporary and the small, heedless of the hurt about to fall and the damage done. Absurdly we play games of chance and laugh as the world burns, and that is our salvation. Dying, we live.

These are the teachings of the burrito.

–from “Restivo Watch Day Four: The Mysterious Tree Stump” (2/8/11)

I have since switched to frozen chimichangas. Same low, low price, but I find them tastier and, for some reason, less dangerously hot. But they never inspire me, and I wonder if I have made the right choice. The burrito is the microwavable Mexican snack that Nietzsche would have chosen. (Though given his delicate health and sensitive stomach, maybe not).

Regardless of diet, I think the point holds up, and is one that bears thinking about.

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