WEEK OF FEBRUARY 5, 2005
Opening pages of WALDEN
cause brief epiphany,
resumption of mindless wage-slavery.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A chance perusal of the opening passages of "WALDEN, Or, Life in the Woods" by Henry David Thoreau
lead to a short-lived epiphany for Ben Deily today, according to reports.
Deily--a "senior freelance Creative" at McCann Worldgroup, and former member of several obscure indie bands--reportedly
stumbled across the seminal text by New England transcendentalist (and fellow Harvard-alum) Thoreau during a desultory search
"for something to, like, read on the subway." Flipping through the opening pages, the erstwhile punk-rocker was
gripped by a feeling of pained recognition of his own materialistically-encumbered, spiritually barren existence.
"That WALDEN dude pretty much has my number, man," asserted Deily, glumly. "When he says:
It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.
...well, I was just about ready to bust out crying at my own trite, commonplace but nevertheless painful plight. Damn."
Deily read aloud further:
|WALDEN author, complacency-ruiner. (CORBIS)
Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious
cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them...Actually, the laboring man
has not leisure for a true integrity day by day...He has no time to be anything but a machine.
"Did I mention I write marketing bullsh*t for Microsoft in a cubicle all day?" Deily murmured, putting down the
text. "Well, I do. It's a living, y'know?"
Deily heaved a heavy sigh. "And yeah...I'm so wiped and demoralized at the end of the day, I can scarcely find the
time or energy to pick up a guitar. And writing music? HAH! Forget about it. All just to pay rent, and buy food, and have
a few bucks left over. That's what adult life is like, I guess."
"Just listen to me bitching," Deily added with a mirthless laugh. "Obviously, I have it better than 98
percent of the people on the planet. I mean, heck, I could be a Cambodian peasant or a 12-year-old kid working in a Nike plant.
Still...I have to believe...there's gotta be a better way to survive in this world..."
Leaping suddenly to his feet, Deily shook his fist and cried out (altogether too loudly, judging by the uncomfortable
stares of passers-by). "Damn it all, I'm going to change my life. I've...I've GOT to change my life...Jesus H. Christ..."
he added before falling silent, and staring vacantly into space.
By 11:46 AM--scant hours after his "revelatory" reading experience--Deily was reported to be at his desk, crafting
the text of an 84-characters-including-spaces "web link" advertising Microsoft's OneNote software. Queried about
his plans for an imminent "radical lifestyle simplification" inspired by Thoreau's text, the aging musician merely
sighed and continued to fix his glassy-eyed gaze on his computer screen.
No word of any actual plan for "soul-healing transformation" was available as of press time. Deily was, however,
"seriously starting to think about lunch."
* * * *
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tragically, based on an average male life expectancy of 74.5 years, Deily can look forward to as much as
37.33 more years of "quiet desperation." (Source: US CDC statistics, 2002.)
Millions feared dead as earth is struck by controversial "planet-killer" cartoon, launched from Dutch newspaper.
International scientific community: "Cartoons are so deadly--we always knew this day might come."