They say one can’t have cake and eat it too. Well, goddammit, I want my cake, and I want to eat it too. Isn’t that the point of having a cake? Isn’t the purpose of the cake consumption? If I wanted something to admire for its aesthetic value, I would buy a sculpture, or a painting, or a Bluray of Life (narrated by David Attenborough – screw Oprah). But the purpose of the cake is to eat it, and I’ll be damned if I’ll sit and watch the cake, perched atop the kitchen counter, while it tempts me with its sweet frosting and (possible) fruit filling. I’m going to eat it. With impudence.
This applies to many aspects of life in fact.
I want to win, always. But I don’t want there to be any losers. I want everyone to be a winner. I just want to be the biggest winner. I don’t want to win at the expense of others. Maybe that’s the point of winning – to gloat, waving around a giant, suspiciously phallic, trophy in the losers faces, effectively bragging about its overbearing size. Maybe the trophy is simply a metaphysical representation of phallic superiority over other men. I have theories about how far human social behaviour has progressed since the days of pack hunting, but that’s not the point. The point is, I don’t want to wave my dick in other men’s (or women’s, for that matter) faces, neither metaphorically nor literally. I just want to win, but leave everyone feeling pretty okay about themselves.
I want to have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and the comfort of friends and loved ones around me, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of a starving South African child. I want children and, indeed, adults of all geographic locations to be well-fed and comfortable. I want everyone to eat from Life’s cake, though I suspect many would settle for a bowl of rice and some fresh green vegetables. I could do without things. I don’t need a memory foam mattress, high-quality nickel-plated headphones, a Lightning-fast carbon-injected condensed-core snowboard, or localized air conditioning in my car. I don’t even need, dare I say it, the computer on which I tap-out this glib text, if it means that twenty Indonesian children with bellies protruding and flies a-buzzing have to slave away at toxic workstations to provide me with these useful but ultimately unnecessary amenities. The world is a lottery, and I’m lucky that I was brought to the sinkhole of capital that is the Western “civilized” world to live out my years, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea that someone, even one person, must live in discomfort to make it possible.
I want to do what I want precisely when I want without letting anybody down. I don’t want to compromise. I want my desires to sync up perfectly with the desires of those around me. If I feel like eating sushi, I want the idea implanted in the heads of only those with whom I would like to share a meal that sushi would, just then, makes their lives complete. If I want to leave work for a few months and live in an igloo in the Canadian Arctic, I want my boss to spontaneously suggest that, for my professional development , it would be advisable if I took a few months off to life in an igloo in the Canadian Arctic. Somehow, my boss would decide that the ability to build an Inukshuk and to skin a still-living seal is vital to the success of the company. Full pay and benefits, of course, would be included; however, fresh seal meat would be required as proof of skill acquisition.
Is all this too much to ask? Probably.
Photo credit: Rolf Hicker