Imagine… a friend asks you to invest in their business. So… you grab a cold beer, sit back to listen to their pitch… and, it’s nothing short of astounding. They ask you for everything that you have and will ever have, and in return… they promise failure. Yes, that’s right… complete and total failure. At some unknown point… tomorrow… next week… thirty years down the road, the whole fucking thing is guaranteed to come crashing down on you, and you will lose everything.
Do you invest? Yeah… I thought not. And would you call someone who did a fool?
If that’s so… then the living of life is best suited to fools.
Because, you see, life is the same thing… an investment that will never pay off, not in the way most hope anyway. Ultimately, every one of us, and everything that we create, will grow old… fall apart… and die. Guaranteed.
Who could take such a thing seriously? Well… it turns out, pretty much everyone… except the fool… who dares to love completely what death will certainly take. And in so doing they show us that, paradoxically, living begins when you accept that death is included.
What most see as a game that can’t be won, the fool sees as a game that can’t be lost. When you know that losing is baked into the fabric of the thing, there’s no point in pretending otherwise. And this is when you’re free to do whatever the fuck you want.
The fool knows that if you survive this day all you’ve really done is postpone the inevitable? And if you don’t survive… well, since no one gets out alive anyway, what could it matter? Stretch the time horizon out far enough and… spoiler alert, our sun goes dark and no living thing makes it.
They show us what we’re capable of… once we get over our fear of losing. They eat sushi a thousand miles away from the ocean. Live without health insurance… or even a retirement plan. They treat every day like it’s extended play and challenge us to live that way.
And for this we label them as fools. I guess it’s either that or admit that we’re pussies.
In truth… we’re hosed without fools. Even the most tyrannical kings of the Middle Ages knew enough to embrace them. Because without them the conversation stagnates. The imagined possibilities become fewer. The range of life narrows. Inevitably causing us to fit less living into more years.
People like to think of life as a kind of just deserts scheme. Do dumb thing now, die of horrible consequence later. This is probably why we’re somehow surprised when smart, nice people die too. But the truth is that in every decision we face a choice between bad and possibly… probably, worse. Don’t want to die of heart disease? Fine, become a vegetarian and die of Alzheimer’s. If a car wreck sounds like a bad way to go… great… don’t drive and die of… oh I don’t know… how about cancer? Remember those wing suit dudes who died in Yosemite two or three years ago… they were only in their forties? Do you think they would have preferred to die in their eighties… while waiting for their diapers to be changed?
Yeah, you’re right… they might have died peacefully in their sleep (although I doubt they would have preferred it). But you’ve gotta admit that I’m right too… no matter what they did with their lives they were gonna die.
Like the great fool Red Fox said, “all you people worried about your health. You don’t smoke, won’t drink, won’t eat red meat, you’re exercising all the time. How you gonna feel when you’re laying in the hospital dying of nothin’?”
Perhaps you’re wondering about the picture? His name is Eduardo. Rarely do I meet people who enjoy the simplicity of just being alive more than I do. This guy blew me away… he is so happy just to wake up every day, you can’t help but smile when you’re around him. We all enjoyed his company greatly… shit, even Max loves the guy. In other words, he’s definitely a fool.
Eduardo had a friend named Luis from San Jose staying with him when we arrived. Luis heard that we were running low on propane and knew that the refilling station was more than an hours drive. Every morning he would bring me hot water to make coffee with. I never asked once. Obviously, we became great friends. The night before Luis returned to San Jose he invited us to a BBQ… where he provided EVERYTHING. Luis is not a wealthy man… and feeding Wyatt and Carson is now a task that can’t be taken lightly. Yet, he would accept neither money… or our contributions.
These are the kinds of people who live in the places that Americans are so afraid of.
Yesterday I found out that Luis was killed in a car accident.
This is life.