Canyon Fodder
What Now? A Man at the Crossroads
By Joe Dinki
Sep 1, 2003 - 12:45:00 PM




Okay. I have had my mid-life crisis. I have asked the big questions of the universe, stared fate right in the face and saw my own reflection! I have learned to laugh, love and accept. I have taken chances and failed, gotten back up and tried again. I have learned to "Keep my head, when all around me are losing theirs." I have started to do all there is to do just when I thought there was nothing left to do.


Now what?

That is a good question.

Franz Kafka is said to have stated that if a man can sit at his kitchen table, his palms laid out flat -- the world will reveal itself to him; so I have sat at that table, my palms flat, my breath calm and yes, the world seems at my feet.

But I still ask: What now?

I seem to be at a crossroads, the peak of my mental acuity, physically fit and full of ambition, but what to do with all this stuff seems a daunting task. So I have decided that the best way to discover what I should be doing is to rule out what I can't do things that would take too much time, too much effort or things that are daily being ruled out for me by the youth obsessed, terminally adolescent society that zings and zooms by my kitchen window.

Here is what I have come up with:

Classical Composer/Conductor. I know it would be great to be older and venerable and such, putting all those squiggles and dots on those, I think they are called, stanzas and hear them come to life as they skim and gleam across the arid landscape imbuing everything in their path with vivid color, passion and life. The common man would laud me, the lofty people in lofty places would applaud me. I could age gracefully attending fund raising parties in office parks, my graying mane flowing, my stoic yet provocative stare observing all with style and grace. Alas, the music in my soul won�t emerge in this lifetime because I don't have the time or the patience to allow it to flow and I have car payments to make.

Star in the Remake of The French Connection.You know it is coming, I mean they turned the mediocre TV show Swat into a film, why not one of the greatest cop chase films of all time? I would make the perfect 70s Cop-hero now, I am large, strong featured, angst riddled and can steer a '74 Caprice through the eye of a needle. But the car chase is in my mind. I am stuck in my '98 Toyota writing this essay instead of lounging on the set of my dreams ready to rough up a drug dealer from central casting or hound a local mob big shot as I stare at him through the window of a fancy upper Eastside restaurant, the street roped off, a gaggle of onlookers waiting for my autograph when the director shouts "cut."

Become a Boxer. I am almost 6 ft. tall and weigh in at 185 lbs. I think I am a cruiserweight by now. I have muscles sprouting where they were only a dream when I was 17. There seems to be all sorts of opportunity in the ring, it looks like boxing, the affordable sweet science (I mean how much could a pair of trunks and towel cost?). Is the life for me! I have the look too, I have shaved my head and my nose has been pudgy and flat since birth, I also can act crazy as a loon and hang out with Rappers. I know all this. But I also know that I am in my forties and one blow to the head, well my medical insurance has lapsed and darn it, all I can think of are those car payments.

Work at Burger King.I can't because well my specialty is salads and they dumped the salad bar during the first Bush administration. My area of expertise was bacon bits rotation, you have to keep those salty, fatty morsels fresh or they get hard and stale in the harsh lights of the store. See, I know this, this is something I know and now it is useless!

Gas station attendant. Well, I wanted to meet a lot of different people, get some exercise and that petroleum smell always brings me back to my youth. But we live in a self-serve world; my dreams of being a Gas Station Attendant in the new millennium are a moot point.

How about a guy who sits in his car writing essays about anything that comes to his mind while waiting for something to happen in all the phone calls he has made to prospective employers and former clients, all the e-mails he's sent to cyber job sites that have fallen on deaf-eyes; a terminal dreamer, coping by laughing at himself, liking himself and smiling because at this moment, he remembers something that he had forgotten. When he worked in a warehouse as a teenager, he was too ticky, too quirky and too much of a free spirit to last the summer loading trucks and hiding from his supervisor, a Mr.Hughes, who upon finding this young man asleep in a hamper, offered these words of encouragement: "Dinki, you better find a job that pays you to just be you because you won't make any other way."

So, here I am Mr. Hughes, and yes that is what I want. I want a job that simply pays me to be me. Any suggestions?

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