Sometimes, it seems that we all need a little extra coaxing. Even when we’re properly trained, resolved and strapped with a parachute, we just can’t bring ourselves to make that jump. Conquering our fears of the unknown, the uncertainty about what awaits us in our landing, or (if you’re a statistician) the probability that our second parachute will malfunction much like the first one. What’s the worst that could happen (aside from certain death)? Well, every now and again it feels like I’m the hesitant jumper and life is the S.O.B. that said, “Look over there!” and then gave a very spirited shove when it was least expected. It must happen to even the most seasoned jumpers, right? The excitement, the anticipation, the dainty arthropods fluttering about our insides–it’s what makes us feel alive, and quite frankly, keeps up coming back for more. It’s these perceived adversities that shape us. As we fine tune our reactions to the unforeseen and polish our most innate instinct of perseverance, we evolve into professionals. No, I don’t mean the big cheese that strokes your pay check, I mean professional survivors. Cunning and competent enough to survive with minor cuts and scrapes even when our equipment fails us or the first aid kit is empty…
As our avant-garde civilization gravitates toward communication at 4G speeds, travel at light speeds, and 30 minute lunch “hours” (if you’re lucky) one may find themselves trekking to the local drug store just to indulge their wants and satisfy their needs. On a recent excursion of mine, I managed to bypass the cosmetics without incident and B-line to the oral hygiene aisle, frozen food section, miscellaneous sand pit and impulse quagmire (unavoidable.) What I learned during my travels is a treasure trove of priceless information that I will gladly pass along to fellow survivalists.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the most fundamental level is the one where necessities such as food, water, sleep and sex (in no particular order) must be met before an individual can graduate to subsequent levels, eventually achieving “Self-actualization.” This apex is when a person realizes and achieves their full potential.
*Author’s note: If anyone has reached this level, please send me a step-by-step guide with illustrations and foot notes*
Now, there are five levels to this pyramid of needs and I only returned with 4 items, so clearly Self-actualization will need to be purchased at a later date.
In order to satisfy level one (physiological needs), a Lean Cuisine spaghetti with meatballs and mushrooms was procured for later consumption. What was gained from this? Vitamins, calories, protein and a level of contentment that only a lioness feels after she feasts upon the prey she stalked from across the pharmacy and cornered in the freezer section.
Moving up the pyramid we find safety needs: family, health, resources, employment, blah blah blah. This is where Crest Pro-Health Complete with “6 in 1” benefits comes in. I just simply swish 10mL of this enchanted formula and instantly I get: family, health, resources, employment, property and morality.
Well, it did say 6 benefits, but I’m guessing it refers to the reconstruction of enamel, prevention of cavities and an assortment of other mundane dental terminology.
Continue up the pyramid, we’re now at Love/belonging. I did manage to acquire a bag of Kettle Brand natural sea salt potato chips– and according to the back of this bag, and I quote, “simply great tasting, all natural potato chips made by a company that cares.” Bingo. I now instantly feel loved by this company that cares. Next.
Esteem; now this one is a little bit tricky (no pun intended, you’ll see.) In order to achieve a feeling of self-esteem, confidence and respect, there’s no telling how long it may take and whether I have the patience to wait that long. So instead, I picked up a deck of Bicycle playing cards (trusted since 1885) and accomplished esteem by diligently shuffling and bridging my crisp, virginal deck of cards before the eyes of my peers while they ooh-ed and ahh-ed at my sprightly and nimble fingers. Well, there really was no illusory feat here, but impressive none the less.
If you haven’t been keeping count, there’s only one level left: Self-actualization. Within the confines of this triangular concept of true potential we find the words: creativity, spontaneity, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts. Lacking in all of the above, I will concede that I have yet to reach the attainment of all these truths, but I will accept the fact that I could learn a thing or two from others.
Any of you feel you have achieved the ultimate Self-actualization? If you have, please refer to my author’s note.
After a day of obliterating paper entrails, downing black and tans and pondering the creative works of others- It was time to sit down and summarize what this day was truly about: the art of concealment. The military may or may not be the first to tell you that concealment is not a science, but an art; adapted from artists’ mastery of structure, perspective and a keen ability to manipulate the two into a separate dimension of deception. Camouflage grants us the ability to hide in plain sight. Used by the earliest inhabitants of this planet as the simple application of mud, its remained forever ingrained in human chromosomes to retain a semblance of dissimulation. A guise, or smokescreen that hides true ambitions and blurs the lines between chicanery and actuality. A tactic for survival. Like the stripes on a zebra that impede the lioness’ ability to determine which end is neck and which end is butt– In war, it’s the same. In love, no different.
See, I find meaning in everything. And a trip to Moe’s, where I can gorge on a neatly wrapped cornucopia of ingredients (of my choosing) actually does a lot more than satiate my hunger for a wholesome meal. Every bite is my escape. Every fresh jalapeno reminds me of a feat I’ve conquered or a checkmate I’ve circumvented. Every spicy morsel of freshly chopped green splendor reminds me of the delightfully challenging obligations I have ahead of me… Of which the muscle relaxer from the night prior lacked the moxie to subdue any pain derived from the stresses of facing such challenges.
However, inside this methodically sealed tortilla, lie even more ingredients–an endless pile of rice. Each grain representing a moment of despair. Have you got it all under control? You keep those grains tightly wrapped, tucking in the rogues, never letting them escape you. After all, just like that moment of melancholy, if you can keep from unraveling–the rest of the burrito will maintain its shape.
Sour cream. Despite its allusion to something ‘spoiled’, this is the saving grace. A soft, white retardant–cloaking the fires you may or may not have set yourself… Lessening the burn and neutralizing the acidity that keeps you up at night. This is the one ingredient that keeps you from reheating your burrito and reliving the heat that should only be experienced once, albeit necessary.
The nemesis. Chicken, beef or tofu? Figures mine would be the only one that could fly away when I’m finally closing in on it. Yes, my goddess of divine retribution. Resolved, accomplished and astute. All the things I wish I could be. As I devour every bit of this metaphor, I wonder if I can absorb its attributes–just by mere consumption.
The black bean is responsible for my mind’s flatulence. The idea I should have thought up first. The comeback I thought of an hour later, while laboriously recounting a picayune exchange from earlier that day. I lament over every minuscule bean.
This is my burrito of life—er, maybe of the week. Regardless, this aesthetically pleasing repository of a never ending Monday through Friday finds its home in the bowels that will digest and gain experience from every kilocalorie that plagued me the days before.
Then the question begs to be answered: At the end of the day, did you consume the burrito–or did the burrito consume you?