I swear, you’d just be crazy all the time if you didn’t have other people to pull you back into Normal. I picture the lone ant blundering off without a mission, feeble feelers waving as his companions march along together cheerfully, bending now and then to lift the dead ones off for burial. Solidarity!
The point is, I felt pretty bleak Monday morning and so wrote that dismal limerick.
Even on Tuesday I had little to offer but mopey sheets of ‘sensitive wallpaper’ as Garrison Keillor calls most introspective writing.
Hmmm, well OK maybe it wasn’t ALL mopey. There were those high school girls hoisting their skirts up and me telling myself that sure, I worked out every day when in truth what I mostly did was sitting OUTSIDE the health club in y car reading and looking at the sky.
But mostly, it was like this: Two days, two downer posts.
Then in came a comment to the blog written by a reader named Chris N. plucked out 15 words from that 50 word limerick to show me what I had done. Here’s what he said:
Motivation and discipline are interesting. I’m starting to realize that a big part of both of them is visualizing the positive future benefits of the discipline in the here and now, and putting aside the visualization of the negative experiences of the discipline itself. So put the “dark”, “chill”, “summon the will”, “quit”, “bleak”, “rock”, “push it on back up the hill” and all those other downers in a tidy pile on the side of the road, say goodbye to them, and write a limerick full of positive images of where you will be after you got up early, did what needed to get done, and then are enjoying where it got you!
He was so right . My spirits shot up like mercury in a dog days’ thermometer from that point on.
I couldn’t call up the wit to write the cheery limerick he suggested, but here’s one by my old student Bill, someone I haven’t seen since Jimmy Carter took office, but who feels to me now as if the two of us are still in each other’s daily lives, every Fourth Period in a that sunny top-floor classroom with its big old windows that rattled in the wind.
Yes it’s true, it’s a morning to shiver,
Time to rise and to stand and deliver,
Pushing boulders up hill
May be wearisome, still,
It beats eagles consuming your liver.
“It could always be worse, he added. “You could be Prometheus,” he added.
Prometheus! Who stole not cookies but fire from the gods and got punished every day by having his liver plucked out by crows - only then it regenerated itself every night! A good one! So now I feel much better.