Avoid the llama

Three simple steps to equanimity and quiet joy

Credit: Scott Woyak & Fine Art America

Step 1. Procure a pet. Canines, felines, and even bovines are preferred (s/t w/ big eyes and fur will do the trick, though I’d advise against the llama — they spit).

Step 1a. Pet your new pet frequently.

Step 1b. Achieve ego-death by dint of a newfound selfless love for aforesaid pet. (This sub-step (1b) is everything really)

Step 2. Apply prenominate concept (1b (supra)) to each and every other aspect of your life, esp. those involving interpersonal relations; the acquisition and accumulation of material wealth; the oxymoronic (and really rather silly if you come to think of it) notion of personal ownership and, God forbid, permanent ownership; and, finally, to most of your political decisions, insomuch as they relate to fraternity and liberty (and of course there are the courts to think about).

Step 2a. Ferret out (of course ferrets too are to be avoided (q.v. their temperament and general disposition) but I can’t help myself when it comes to a pet-pun) an epiphanic realization: your aforesaid selfless love (which hopefully was not newfound) and the happiness derived from aforesaid aforesaid selfless love (which hopefully was not newfound), is indicative of your part in a whole, and that to think of yourself as a whole unto yourself is to die a death of frigid disappointment.

Step 2a(1). Calm yourself enough (I recommend turning the phone off for all three steps, but, if you feel an unremitting and anxious urge to clutch something shiny in that clammy palm, this is the key step for which to buckle down and disable it) to discover a second, deeper epiphanic realization: to circumflunetly expand this aforesaid aforesaid aforesaid selfless love (which hopefully was not newfound) until it encompasses each and every living thing would perhaps be the acme of all achievement. Only one (alleged) has ever seen this through.

Step 2a(1a). Next time you have a moment (which let’s face it is right now, this moment, because you apparently have time for three-step guides to equanimity and quiet joy and whatnot) give Christ’s Sermon on the Mount a Google. Even if untrue, the philosophy espoused there demands a certain respect, even in a country that has since become one long strip-mall.

Step 2a(1a(a)). I suspect you’ll be perplexed by His holy contempt for everything you’ve been told to love about our American ethos, esp. when you consider how often His words are adduced by the wealthy and/or hateful (queer how as often as not those feelings coincide) among us. (‘Easier to pass through the spit of a llama than to befriend Jeff Bezos.’ (Bernie, Ch. 4, Verse 20))

Step 2a(1b). If you need something more modern and less religious (which believe you me, you’ll find no eagerer empathies for such a preference than right here), try googling ‘Leopold Bloom.’ Your mind will go L Boom (sorry).

Step 2b. Steep then drink a cup of tea to provoke better apprehension of the notion of further implementation of these good feelings, the possibility of inveterate perpetuity for your (hopefully not newfound) good acts, and the implications inherent w/r/t the hope for benevolent intercourse between all beings and creatures. Have one last, tea-laden epiphany (I reckon it’d be more apt to call this particular one a back-pocket rejoinder, but then there’s the whole mock-the-scholarly-byway-of-bathos,-repetition,-and-pretentious-parenthetical-circumlocution thing I have going (n.b. this whole mock-the-scholarly-byway-of-bathos,-repetition,-and-pretentious-parenthetical-circumlocution thing I have going mainly serves to flatter the foolish busybody Americans whom I hope will read this; they must feel smart for ‘getting it,’ while also believing this is all their idea. Paradox, parallax)): that to anyone who would say these ideas are too romantic, too unrealistic, too quixotic, too tooey, you must reply with two questions: “Why would we not, at the lowest of leasts, strive to make life better for as many as we can? Isn’t that the idea at the nucleus of all and any effort?” (Maybe we could give it as much effort as we give the acquisition and accumulation of materials and/or money (q.v. Step 2. (supra)), which at present seems to your dear writer a puerile goal at best (because our economy should serve our people, not the other way round), single mothers notwithstanding)

Step 2b(1). You’ll typically encounter these types of responses amid the aforesaid wealthy and/or hateful (queer how as often as not those feelings coincide), who assert from their air-conditioned, iPad-addled, fruit snack fraught entertainment hubs that Darwin’s monkey-headed hierarchy should apply to anyone less fortunate than them — all while adducing the “natural order of things.” By their logic, we should refrain from taking medicine because it allows the unfit to survive. (Perhaps, in an effort to truly test their moxie, we could ask them to give up their insulin or their television or the daily delivery of some quickly forgotten product or God forbid the fruit snacks)

Step 3. Rest easy. Pet your imminently loveable cat,¹ to whom you owe so much.

¹ or any other pet of your choosing*

*unless of course you chose the llama in the aforesaid Step 1 (supra), who will boldly spit at even those who could cause him mortal harm…**

**I guess the llama is a respectable choice after all.***

***I may need to rethink this piece entirely.

Writer and rural poet.