Saturday, November 3, 2007

"It is what it is"

There's a new catch-phrase going around: "It is what it is" - usually accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders at the wacko ways of this wicked world we live in.

I like this expression. It's cool in a Buddhist sort of way; a zen-like diving into the moment, a peaceful acceptance of the immutable flow of the Tao and all that cosmic shit. I dig it.

But - I have to ask myself the next question, which goes something like this: "Sure, it is what it is (global warming, my mom needing round-the-clock care, my boyfriend going to Amsterdam without me, my increasing forgetfulness...) but -- does it suck?"

And the inevitable next question after that: "If it sucks, is there anything I can do about it?"

This is where that old AA prayer comes in handy. You know, the one about "the wisdom to know the difference" between the things I can actually change and the non-negotiable stuff I just have to hold my nose and swallow.

In dealing with my increasingly debilitated 82-year-old mother, "It is what it is" has become a most useful mantra. No matter how much I visualize, hope and pray, my mom is not going to get up and go bowling any time soon. Her bowling days are over. So are her driving days. Even her walking days are getting pretty shaky.

It's sad, but it is what it is. Old age, I believe it's called.

Time marches on. Or, in this case, time haltingly stumbles on, fuhrblunged and klutzy, leaning on its walker and barking out orders to intimidated care-givers. My mom will never be young again. It sucks, is what it is.

And my boyfriend -- despite how much more sensible it would be for him to simply do everything I want, exactly when I want it, exactly the way I want it - well, gosh durn it, he seems to have developed a mind of his own and frequently does his own thing with it.

It sucks...but it is what it is.

(Although, to his credit there are certain areas in which he has definitely mastered the art of doing exactly what I want, exactly where I want it, exactly etc etc. etc.)

Ahem. To continue.

Tigers are on the brink of extinction. Billions of dollars are spent on insane war games played by certifiable idiots that result in the deaths of innocent people, every one of whom is someone's son or daughter. It sucks...but it is what it is.

(And...what? Wasn't there another example I had, something else timely and relevant? I hate it when I can't remember what I was going to say next. It sucks, but it is what it is.)

Can't I do something to change any of this? Nope. Can't change my mom's inevitable aging process. Can't change my man's congenital roving nature. Can't change the process of climate change, species extinction, bozos driving the bus...

No, wait a minute. Wait just a gol-darned minute here. Who SEZ I/we/he/she/you can't change the changes that are coming at us faster than a speeding bullet of destruction?

No more tigers on planet earth? Just a few scraggly specimens drugged out in zoos? No more polar ice-caps, just a slushy mush of a mess on this once-fertile, but soon-to-be crispy bio-sphere?

No more freedom, just freedom from terrorists?

No, nope, no way, no thanks, no sir, no ma'm, no more.

It is what it is, but it ain't what you think.

God has granted me the courage to accept that I can't change certain things (my boyfriend's hair cut, my mom's arteries.)

But God has also granted me the chutzpah to believe that I can change other things. It's my planet and I'll cry "FOUL!" if I wanna.

And guess what, my dear blog-ophiles out there in cyberland?

It's your planet, too. "You say it's your planet, well it's my planet too, yeah..."

It is what it is – but what exactly is that? It’s time to wake up and take a stand - that’s what it is.

Tiger habitat can be preserved, protected and enhanced. Tigers don't HAVE to go extinct. The bozos can be voted off the bus. All of them. Off all the buses.

War can actually be outgrown like the obsolete technology it is, and replaced with less barbaric, less medieval conflict resolution strategies. Climate change can be...acknowledged, addressed, and with a hellacious amount of work maybe, possibly, reversed or mitigated.

Some people don't think so. Some people are pessimists. Some people are apathetic. Some people live only for today and don't give a flying fig what happens to the next generation.

But some people are cock-eyed optimists who refuse to go down with a sinking planet. Some people, like you, and like me, are gonna turn this baby around and do whatever it takes to repair the damage and continue the groove on planet earth.

It's a dirty job, and it won't be easy, and it might be messy, smelly, sweaty and scary. But someone's gotta do it. Me and you.

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