Roger Marolt: A prayer before typing
Dear Lord, please help me not to become a curmudgeon.
When my belief in Aspen’s awesomeness unravels like the rubber band in an old golf ball when it’s struck by a lawnmower blade after I hear that the city spent $50,000 on a new logo, how firmly do I really believe that this earthly paradise is as great as I post it is on Instagram? Could it be true that I am staging the reality of my life and then posing in it because I envy everything it actually isn’t?
The sun will rise tomorrow, the sky may be as blue as I have ever seen, but an orange cone forcing me to cross the street because the sidewalk along the path of my life’s journey is being repaired, spurs thoughts of scathing letters to the editor about our elected officials spending other people’s money to ruin my life, following secret plans they have drawn up in the catacombs I imagine below the old Armory Building. Does wondering if that is why the Historical Preservation Committee is so keen on protecting that old building mean I am past the point of no return? Grant me wisdom.
I must consider how close I am to a life of continual irritable despair born of perpetual nit-picking and constructing mental proofs of the foolishness of lousy drivers as I angrily jockey with them for position at the merge point on Main Street. Grant me understanding.
How distant is this ugly fate of a killjoy when I start to believe everyone who disagrees with me is flawed by comparison? I make a reasonable presentation about the perfect solution to bringing the new Lift 1A loading station down to Dean Street by tunneling it underground, and it is completely ignored. I’m a citizen! They must listen! You would think they at least have the decency to let me know what the heck their problem is. Grant me counsel.
Ah, I’m sorry, Lord. There I go again. You see how hard it is for me to contain my skepticism, my sarcasm, my resentment, my bitterness? Am I bitter? No, no, no; say it isn’t so. You have given me such a sweet life. Yes, I could try to do something about world hunger, but I pathetically find complaining about third-floor penthouses and an art museum more meaningful. Grant me fortitude.
You know that thing you said about how, if your right hand causes you to sin, you should cut it off? I used to think maybe I should consider chopping off my fingers so I wouldn’t type caustic remarks in this column. But, after mulling it over, I see the “if” you threw in there is a big one, and I think I get your drift about this. Grant me knowledge.
If my fingers were the cause of the poison I sometimes put on paper, then I should cut them off. It should be so easy, though. The problem is that they don’t. If I cut my fingers off, I would dictate a critique, then I’d have to slice my tongue out, too. If I still thought I had all the answers, my determination would push me to peck out this column with my toes. Where there’s a will, there’s a way to sow the seeds of discontent, and cultivate them into a healthy crop, too! To really dry the poison pen, I’d have to cut out my heart — or change it, which is even harder. Grant me piety.
Nobody has to look into the eyes of a columnist to see what is in their heart. We create a paper trail to lead you there! One of my growing fears, Lord, is that in this digital age where everything we say in print stays in print, is that, when I pass from this world, somebody, most likely somebody who loved me, will go back and really read some of the things I wrote and think something along the lines of, “Wow! Dad was a jerk!” Help me to fear you always.
As you well know, Lord, I could go on, but I am coming up on deadline, so I need to finish. I think maybe the key to not becoming a grumpy old man through this writing gig you’ve thrown my way is to remind myself that you put me behind the keyboard to help me gain wisdom rather than to assume it flows from my fingertips. And, if I can’t manage to turn this thing around, please, at least let me become a charming old cuss.
Roger Marolt is assuming good intentions by the folks bringing us the Castle Creek Bridge redo. firstname.lastname@example.org
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