For the most part, I’ve learned to settle Fear down as I prepare for bed. She’s always there under the blanket beside me, but I can usually manage to dope her up well enough that I avoid insomnia. Melatonin doesn’t particularly help, since it assists a good sleep only after one drops off. My evening meditation probably helps a little, since it forces things to withdraw into perspective. I reiterate my devotion to the God of transcending goodness who has no terminal objectives in this world—the God who doesn’t go crazy if every disease isn’t cured, every child fed, and every weather event mellowed out; the God for whom we do not HAVE to accomplish this, that, or the other, or all is lost; the true God. He doesn’t tell me that none of my family will die tomorrow, as some people claim of their supernatural wizard; but He assures me that what is truly alive in us doesn’t die when our bodies wear out amid the swirl of “things that must be done”.
Still, the compromise with Fear is none too stable. I’m not a mystic living on a Himalayan mountaintop: I’m an aging man nearing retirement with a son trying to start a career a thousand miles away. I worry about closing down my 501c3, which hasn’t enough money to operate and has become a millstone about my neck: I worry because the government documents necessary to terminate it seem to shift with each website I visit, and because I can’t afford a lawyer. I worry because the home my wife and I are building four states away has veered way outside its budget thanks to county regulations and is way behind schedule thanks to incompetent, uninterested employees at Georgia Power. I worry that the maneuvers I had to make in order to extract my son’s inherited investments from the corporations selected by his uncle may involve all kinds of penalty; and I worry that the kid can’t seem to sell an old car in Denver because local government requires so much paperwork and so many fees to produce a Colorado title in his name. I don’t really worry about Social Security. I’ve long since reconciled myself to the probability that nothing will remain for me there in a few short years.
One way and another, it strikes me that government at some level underlies virtually all of my worries. It’s intractable, arbitrary, incomprehensible, and very jealous of the power it enjoys over us. I hate living like a medieval peasant farmer just waiting to see what Visigoth or baron will come riding out of the forest next—for whether he speaks my language or some alien tongue, he’ll be waving a sword, and he’ll want my cow.
I’m a white male. I’m one of those who is supposed to have been born and raised in coddling privilege. I wonder if the incendiary Marxist/feminist professors who would like to see my kind shipped out to death camps ever see Fear sharing their bed when they gripe about my taxes not paying for their pills and condoms. They don’t have children, so there’s no source of worry from that quarter. They have cushy tenured jobs, so they seldom worry about next year’s contract; and if they participate in any extra-curricular organization, you can bet that it’s well funded and has a fleet of attorneys on staff. They don’t live on my planet.
Others who hate “my kind” because they see me as tapping into what’s rightfully theirs… do they have to lull Fear to sleep the day before they collect a government check? Do they worry that they may not have enough weed in the cookie jar to get through the week? If they don’t even have a driver’s license—and if their city forbids law enforcement from “harassing” them—then I don’t suppose they would fret over buying or selling a car without papers.
Being “privileged” sure does wear a man down. I don’t think I can stand the “royal treatment” much longer. My strange bedfellow is a light sleeper.