Sometimes I want to abandon any pretense of a normal life and live like a drifter. I could drop the burden of ordinary work, friends, relationships, property, and just go to unusual places, see unusual things, and exist on the margins of civilization where society doesn’t really make sense, but is never boring. I’d have to give up on safety, stability, and the traditional building blocks of happiness (family, structure, etc.), but I’d gain adventure, ruggedness, and assuredness born from being solely responsible for my safety. I’d live by my own rules.
In other words, sometimes I wish I could live like Ryszard Kapuscinski.
Continue reading “Shadow of the Sun”
The following is a true story. It is based on notes taken from a conversation with a former state representative from a Midwestern state who I’ll refer to as John Smith. He has asked to remain anonymous.
It was the early-2000s. With 6 months left in his third term as a state representative, John Smith was a lame duck. Other legislators gave Smith sad little nods in the hallways, and the “watchers” – the lobbyists who sat in on every vote – stopped inviting him to comped dinners at fancy restaurants. Without an opening available in the state Senate, Smith knew his political career was over, at least for a while.
Smith had seen many of his colleagues come close to mental breakdowns when they finally left office. They couldn’t comprehend why strangers stopped taking their phone calls and laughing at their jokes. Their sense of identity and self-worth was tied up in their title and modicum of power over their fellow citizens. But Smith didn’t care about all that. He was a libertarian, though he wasn’t super open about it. He hated the political machinations which stole money from the people to be dolled out by the aristocracy of pull. Smith never tired of mocking the self-righteous, self-important elected officials who revel in power so petty that their own constituents don’t even know what they do.
Continue reading “The Taiwan Junket: A Story of Political Farce & Fools”