The last really serious post I made was about my sudden departure from public libraries into…drumroll please…another corner of the public library industry! For those of you wondering how this thrilling move has gone, suffice to say that I seem to have landed a job that I can do from home in the event of pandemic. I’m lucky. Very lucky. Boy howdy do I know it. To paraphrase my father, it’s better than winning the lottery.
So I sacrificed a goat to Baal in gratitude, like you do, and as I was sifting through its entrails with the ritual tuning fork I discovered a message. Unbelievably, it was for me. That’s right: I got a call on the spirit world’s red telephone! It said don’t fucking waste this.
That’s all it said.
No context. No nothing. Just don’t fucking waste this written in goat blood on my basement floor. I just sort of sat there for a moment, wondering what it meant and also thinking about whether it would be appropriate to mop it up and why it was in Comic Sans.
I decided to make a list of everything that I was grateful for. I started with the job, of course, and then the fact that the basement floor is sealed and easy to hose off. Then I got going on the condo and my wife and the relative availability of goats, and pretty soon I was just bragging. There’s a fine line between gratitude and gloating. Pretty soon, I felt like I was wallowing, except instead of being depressed and mopey, I was binging on my own positivity. Like a pig in chocolate, I was getting a high but it was also kind of wrong.
So I decided to just clean up the blood before it dried any more, because as bad as it is to pressure wash away an otherworldly message, it would be worse to have to scrape it up with an old spatula. Plus, pressure washing is so brainlessly satisfying. When I’d finished with the blood, I proceeded to de-grime the entire basement floor, humming sans tune, not a thought in my head. Keep in mind that this space is about as appealing as a moldy closet and there’s no need for it to be sparkly. It was a mindless task.
I was halfway through powerwashing the Sigil of Baphomet when an unwelcome thought intruded into the formerly pleasant nothing that had been my afternoon. What was I doing? This basement was about goat entrails and the neighbor’s cable box. I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I was killing time and avoiding productivity. I was wasting it!
Right there on the spot, I dropped the pressure washer to the floor and dashed up the stairs. I was in the grip of new motivation. I’d lose that ten pounds. I’d finish my yarn projects. Hell, I’d finish the yarn, then I’d buy some angora rabbits and make more! I’d sell it on Etsy. The shop would be called The Rabbit Habit. My pencil flew. Long into the night, I generated business plans and growth projections and logo ideas. Then things got weird and I made some recordings. I’ve included one at the end of this post. It’s not bad, to be honest. Recording it is the last thing I remember doing. The rest is a jumble of baking sprees and exercise fueled by gallons of coffee.
I woke up at three in the afternoon two days later, feeling like I’d been hit by a tractor trailer. My spirit was crushed and I was in a state of abject misery. I’d done everything I could think of to not fucking waste this. The harder I tried, the worse the result.
I decided it was time for another goat sacrifice. I had to get Baal back on the horn.
This time, he was a little more forthcoming. Baal isn’t much of a chatty Kathy at the best of times, but I’ve found that he’ll explain himself if I frustrate him enough. Here’s what he had to say:
This is your privilege.
You’re not sick. You’re in next to no danger of getting sick. Not because you’ve earned it, or because you keep making these disgusting sacrifices that I have told you explicitly to stop making, but because you’re privileged and lucky. You don’t even have to think about it. You just turned that one sentence into a bizarre, misguided, self-obsessed self-care regimen and meanwhile there are people risking their elderly parents’ lives to deliver fancy cheese to your doorstep at 8:30pm.
He had a point. I do like my fancy cheese and I’m not about to go get it myself. That could be dangerous!
I don’t care what you do with that privilege. Believe it or not, I have bigger things to worry about than you. But decide what you’re going to do with it and then act. Passivity is death. Just ask the French aristocracy.
At this point, the goat ran out of blood, which reminded me a lot of running out of quarters for the payphone when I was a kid. Maybe Baal would have had more to say. I’ll never know. I’m out of goats.