OMG-D I might be Moses!
By David Arthur Walters
I think I was an Egyptian scribe in a previous life.
I managed to trade my blue collar for a white collar once and for all. My office career saved me from having to actually produce or sell things. I studied primers on management and discovered that managers are not supposed to actually do the dirty work but should get others to do it. Yet I was not fully committed to management given my inherited proletarian disposition. Mind you that my kind of proletariat had just learned to read and write; he likes to protest and does not plan on seizing the factories quite yet.
If only I had lived the life of the most middling bourgeois, steadily advancing to a middle management position while investing a portion of my income in a diversified portfolio, I would now be comfortably retired, free to write to my heart’s content or to go sailing instead. Yes, I might have a boat in my driveway, or perchance, by virtue of the Dot.com mania, a modest yacht in the harbor. Even a career in the military and the right Fidelity funds would have made me a more substantial man today in terms of waistline and wealth.
But I really did not want anything, not even that yacht some men would die for. Indeed, I saw such a man and yacht shortly after I took up double-entry bookkeeping in Honolulu. The gentleman had apparently retired to live his golden years in Hawaii. He was heading his craft towards Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in heavy seas, and the waves heaved the vessel into the boulders alongside Magic Island. He jumped overboard between the boulders and his vessel and tried to push it off the rocks; each wave threatened to pin him against the rocks. We kept yelling for him to climb out of there, offering him one end of a pole, but he persisted and was crushed by his beloved hulk. I did not admire his heroic effort at the time: I simply thought he was a foolish man, and observed a pair of large frigate birds circling overhead as if they were a sign of something or the other.
In retrospect that frustrated sailor has my deepest sympathy. I was indubitably a fool myself, perhaps even more foolish than he. Everyone must have something to live for besides life in itself; that is to say, they must have a way of living or living is for naught, and that way is of course limited to something or the other. That my thing is metaphysical and his thing was physical does not make me a better man than he nor any the wiser. Those of us who are so fond of the profound depth of our inner lives as we worship the vanities of our vanity should pause to consider the contents and reaches of the universe, in respect to which our inner profundity is exceedingly shallow or vapid.
Still, my favorite things are of the mind. I write therefore I exist, and I exist all the more when I write stories about myself, such as this one. I lived well below my means no matter how much I earned at a job, and for good reason: I wanted to buy time to write stories. Yes, I have perused and enjoyed the ocean-going literature, but I have never coveted a real yacht nor have I sailed let alone been on one. Suffice it to say that I wanted an ideal, a golden ark, if you please, that would carry soulful seeds for the implantation and evolution of my most grandiose dream – nothing less than the mental salvation of humankind, in which kind I mercifully included scribbling myself. I even wrote of writing myself to death to that altruistic end. Wherefore I did not cast my lot with the greedy bourgeoisie, whose mechanical institutions were efficiently and effectively grinding human beings to dust, leaving them to eat pig-ear sandwiches while their masters lived high off the hog – may Sacred Scripture forever forbid it with a pox on the swinish bourgeois if not an Armageddon!
Only bookworms can live on books alone. Today’s books are poisoned for preservation, the caretakers caring not for the Worm in their urge for property. Unable to live on the pages I read and wrote, I stooped to keeping books of account to support my spiritual calling. Yes, I confess: I was a lowly bookkeeper for my miserable keep. I mean I counted other people’s filthy lucre. Yet I was redeemed because I never really wanted their burdens. It simply was not my calling to grimace at a desk under florescent lights, as they habitually do in the infernal commercial quarry where they are crushed daily by the virtual rocks in their heads – Sisyphus never had it so badly in Hades. But whatever my calling is, an office job has been my lot.
Ironically, I have a knack for business, providing that I do not own it. I might have been Pharaoh’s scribe in a previous life, rising in the ranks from superintendent of tomb construction to chief keeper of seals. If the legendary Moses actually lived in Egypt, he might have been an ancestor of mine. I might be him reincarnated, ordained to become the greatest lawgiver the world will ever know if not a bestselling author. Shall I memorize the Decalogue and grow a long beard? Oh, no, it is too difficult to remember ten things and perchance divine why the injunction against murder is sixth on the list when one is distracted by the wonders of this wide world of ours. Ah, who knows how I will turn out? That my beard turns gray is no doing of mine!
David Arthur Walters
Miami Beach 2004