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Be Careful What You Wish For

I am in love with the story of Faust.

For those who don't know the tale, the ever-restless Faust enters into a bargain with Mephistopheles, selling his soul (basically - I am oversummarizing here) if Mephistopheles can provide him with a moment that he wishes would last forever. Faust settles on a young girl, Margarete, and seduces her with some supernatural help and, of course, all sorts of hellish consequences follow (the accidental murder of Margarete's father, her own killing of the baby she bears Faust, a capital conviction, etc.).

I like the idea of there being something in the world that you would pursue and take despite the knowledge that the taking of this thing, this diabolical gift, will undoubtedly lead to damnation. It defies common sense, and those who know me can attest, I am in a constant struggle against a world run by common sense.

I have my own Margarete. I believe most people do. Some people want fame. Some people want money. Some people want eternal youth. Some people want to walk through the back of a wardrobe and come out in a magical kingdom. Would you dismiss certain misery to ensure no more Yankee World Championships? Or to be Miss E. Bennet and find your very own Darcy?

I won't name my Margarete. The thought frightens me too much; I have never said it aloud, never breathed my heart's desire. We'll just pretend, for the sake of simple illustration, that my Margarete is a woman (how I wish it were so simple, and yet...). The very idea of her causes my stomach to plummet like a diving eagle and my heart to hammer like the tail of a humpback whale on a smooth ocean. It is the idea of perfection that burns through logic like homemade moonshine and I have no doubt that it would be the death of me.

Common sense does not allow for perfection. It settles instead and calls itself wise, looking down in judgment at the hysterical suffering and undoing of all those who refused its monotonous siren song. It is tempting; this stability. But let me ask, did the sailors who heeded the Sirens on ancient seas look out from their watery graves and mock the troubles of the living?

A better question is, is settling another quieter form of dying? Are the cautious just as doomed as the reckless? People speak to me a lot of balance these days, but I'm not buying. People who (so happy, so profound, so wise!) claim a share of this balance all seem to be teetering on the tip of a lightning rod of insecurity, afraid to admit that they are one storm away from being completely fried, shit on a shingle.

Here's what scares me...Let's say I am offered my Margarete, opportunity produces my heart's desire like a suitor produces a diamond ring, and knowing full well the price (damnation - pick your form: discontentment, flames, eternal curses passed down through the generations, etc. and whatever), I take it anyway. And where will that leave me? And (here's the scary part) would it still be better than where I'm at today?






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post #401
bio: blaine
perma-link
8/1/2006
14:27

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