It was depressing, this real world. Living in it was not unlike being surrounded by Facebook friends. No honor. All for one but not one for all. Supposedly, playing sports had prepared Jerry Lennart for the real world. Nothing could’ve been further from the truth. Had Jerry really wanted to prepare himself for the real world as a kid, he would have sold weed. Nah, that might not have been ideal. It being illegal was nettlesome. The key would have been developing a knack for things that were unethical but not actually illegal. The wise man at least waited for the unethical to become legal. That almost always happened eventually. When the money was right.
“Virtue is its own reward.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
Hah! Either Cicero was bullshitting, or the Romans were like us, hypocrites. Their virtue was enslaving a hefty slice of the known world. Or maybe Cicero was idealistic. Idealists always beget hypocrites. Ask Jesus. Or, better yet, listen to what is said in His name. The tipoff is when they call it “His holy name.” Jesus was cool. Were He alive today, he wouldn’t stand a chance. He’d say, “On the whole, I’ll take my chance with the Romans.
It’s a good thing Jerry wasn’t bitter. Damn him, though. He was idealistic. Something about playing ball as a kid.
When I played ball / I played to win / We stuck it out together / Through thick and thin / Still I try / And comprehend / Standing up for truth / And justice in the end.
A man could make it by being true to himself, but it wasn’t the way to bet. Shakespeare supposedly died rich, though, so maybe there was hope for Jerry, who had played ball, chiefly the foot variety, without, it seemed, ever learning to play ball the way the real world prescribed. Profundity didn’t come as naturally, though, for Jerry as it had for Shakespeare, who was bad-ass.
Jerry got his thinking done riding down highways. A man needed a time to think, and it was hard to come by in a world of Facebook, Twitter and accompanying friends and followers.
Who knew Invasion of the Body Snatchers was symbolic? He pulled off the highway and parked briefly at a fast-food joint. He looked it up on his phone. The book was The Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney. According critic John Clute:
Horrifyingly depicts the invasion of a small town by interstellar spores that duplicate human beings, reducing them to dust in the process: the menacing spore-people who remain symbolize, it has been argued, the loss of freedom in contemporary society. …
There you go. Jerry realized he had spent most of his futile career working for spore-people. This realization was oddly comforting, so Jerry decided to reward himself with a McChicken from the Dollar Menu and return to the highway.
TO BE CONTINUED