Monday, August 24, 2015

The Taste of Defeat

For what it's worth, getting the shit kicked out of you? Not to say you get used to it, but you do kinda get used to it.
-Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad "Open House" 

It is easy to dismiss Sly Stallone.  I know I have and, if I am honest, will again in the future.

The thing is, I don't think he cares, and there in is his virtue.

As I type, the taste of defeat is thick in my mouth: sick sheep, failed tracks with the dog, middle-age malaise, too much debt, and too many bills, loosing weight is getting harder, staying in shape as 40 turns into 50, will be harder, insert every other common middle-aged white guy complaint here.

Blah, blah, blah.  I even bore myself, but defeat still hurts.

Yes, I've been blessed but that doesn't lessen the taste of defeat.  Defeat, when it comes, tastes like manure and not even the well aged stuff on your garden.  Defeat tastes like runny manure straight out of the steer's anus.

Still, if you actually try to accomplish something, if you're really out there pushing yourself, pushing the system, pushing against ignorance and the ignorant, you're going to taste defeat.  In the parlance of Sly Stallone, life is going to punch you hard.

Think of Sylvester Stallone.  He really has earned what he's got.  He hit bottom trying to sell the Rocky film.  He's still an action star past the age of 65.  Is he using steroids? I don't see how he isn't.  Is he making great contributions to Western Civilization?  Not really.

Is he living his life without a concern about what some middle-aged, over-educated sheep-herding, dog-training, overpaid babysitter in Minneapolis thinks about how he talks or the quality of his movies?

Yep, and that is his virtue.  That is what he has contributed to those willing to learn from his example.

Sure, maybe Epictetus put it more eloquently but when it feels like your teeth have been kicked in, eloquence is not always the most healing balm.  Sometimes you need to remember the Italian Stallion.

If you wish to make progress, you must be content in external matters to seem a fool and a simpleton; do not wish men to think you know anything, and if any should think you to be somebody, distrust yourself. For know that it is not easy to keep your will in accord with nature and at the same time keep outward things; if you attend to one you must needs neglect the other.  

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