Dust Your Own Pedestal

Posted: November 23, 2009 in Rant, Writing

Ask yourself this question:

Do you put yourself on a pedestal?

Yeah, now that I think about it, touching that soul-searching apparatus that has been gathering dust in the basement for a while. Dust your own pedestal. Take the marble bust of yourself off of the Doric column you have in your mind, and while you’re at it: move the papier mache it is levitating on and vaccuum under that. You’ll find some interesting dust bunnies; I guarantee it.

I am not saying after [insert years of life on earth since birth] years you don’t deserve your own statue on some sort of fancy plinth, but you can’t rest on your laurels (or laurel wreath). You have to keep swimming, like a shark, to breathe that stuff of imagination and innovation, the basic H2O that is the 98% of my human body and 96% of this Budweiser here at my elbow that I am consuming. Sure, there is a certain amount of complacency-to-years-lived ratio that you are owed, but if you really do a good job at dusting, you’ll be shocked by the amount of taking-yourself-for-granted buildup there really is on your little monument to yourself.

Metaphor clear? I can’t recognize who that is in my own personal cleanup on aisle five. Time for some gritty cleaner, like Bar Keeper’s Friend, to get in there and scrub that grout. Note how cheezily you chiseled this sculpture out in the first place. You start looking around and flushing to the face as you clean house as you know full well how to clean house. What took you so long?

I’ll tell you why: trophies are easier to earn than the upkeep to keep them on display and dust-free. And prizes don’t mean shit to me. Neither does this bust on this pedestal, the ultimate Caesarian nod to your own ego. If you had your 15 minutes of fame, then sit down and shut up when your timer is at zero. At some point, when the spotlight is dead, you’ll be the one that will be dusting your collection of whatevers and muttering to yourself that you aren’t appreciated. That’s pathetic.

The lesson is embedded in the hard work of dusting; cleaning house; polishing the things you have so that you appreciate them again; lifting your eyes to the horizon rather than the task at hand, even if you are a filthy animal while you get the job done. The reward is tangible: you approve of your job at cleaning, if not that artifact in your museum, and you move on. Perhaps to dust the next dinosaur bone in your closet. But you do a good job of it at your own thorough pace, nonetheless.

Clean on.

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