As many of you know, Summer Fun Run season is fast approaching. Only, to me this is a bit of a misnomer, because these summer races are not exactly fun. The fun may be in being done with them, but I always felt a little conned by this idea that these races are actually, or might be called, fun. I was 10 when I first became cognizant of this community-to-community tradition. I saw an ad, made mention to my mother, and thought nothing would come of it. But I did run. And many other times, too. But still, I cannot come to terms with the terminology of calling any of these summertime races Fun Runs. There may be pleasure at certain times, like outkicking three other guys in the last 400 meters of a 5-kilometer race and outkicking a neighbor guy in a 10K after spending two miles to regain a quarter-mile I had lost on him. These would be pleasurable, but certainly not Fun.
I asked my mother one time when I called her after her church meetings, “Did you have fun at church?” She said, “That is not exactly the term I would use to describe it.” Now I think about it, I wouldn’t, either, for all the hours upon hours that I have spent in church meetings in my lifetime trying to understand the meaning of religiosity. But coming right down to it, I don’t find it that important. I was always told in my mother’s religion that life is about joy, NOT PLEASURE!! The female creature who looked human who raised me made especially adept strides toward maintaining the latter part of this motto, that LIFE IS NOT ABOUT PLEASURE! I don’t know if, maybe, she just never had pleasure or maybe at one point had had TOO MUCH and had just decided that any more was not good, at least for her children, for whatever reason…
Since I was taught that life is not about pleasure, I searched long and hard to find out what life is about. I guess I searched a little bit for myself in the midst of that, somewhat, too, for a spouse or companion, I suppose, also, from time to time. Nevertheless, I can only be most certain that of all things LIFE IS ONLY ABOUT PLEASURE. After all my searching, I finally drew this conclusion. I remember to have read in Biblical studies, that, “What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Seems the soul is lost as soon as there is no pleasure in life.
There were times as a child I tried to derive pleasure from something. Ya know, like from an ice cream cone, and so on. But I would get a little taste and want more. More. MORE!! I guess I just have a ravenous appetite for pleasure. The Werewolf Anaconda who raised me and posed as my mother was especially adept at denying me any of these pleasures I so sought. “I want that Hot Wheels toy.” –“NO” “I want those animal crackers.” “NO!” And so the story went. I was totally befuddled that the werewolf anaconda ever acquiesced to this strange idea of chasing through the streets of those Fun Runs…Still, I gotta give her credit. Her supernatural werewolf instincts would sniff out my approach to pleasure and just as quickly super anaconda strangle strength would would drown it before it ever had a chance to grow. (Except in these Fun Runs of course, but as I was always angry as a child–she continuously needled me to “run around the house a few times, until [I] cool[ed] down” and so…–but I never did it.)
So glad for all that training in the ascetic life now. Because after time dragged its dirty, musky course, I learned to defy the werewolf anaconda. One time I was 10, I pulled out $20 whole dollars and bought a toy car. It was of the Mask collection, a sportscar. The two doors opened wide to make wings so the car could fly. My mother said, no, in the moment, but I did it, anyway. “You buy that car, you’ll have to put the same amount of money in savings,” she said to me. The double-loss would be worth it, I convinced myself. And the car was worth it. But I still lost. Werewolf anacondas are wily, and if they don’t catch their prey in the moment, they lay seeds for further victories. And I soon discovered that life is not about pleasure, but displeasure. According to the rules I can best summarize from this terrible creature-teacher:
- All money earned should be put in the bank, immediately.
- If there is any work to be done, all play should be foregone.
- Religion should consume one’s life from waking moments until retiring at night.
- Punishments to any or all of these rules will somehow involve a most terrible death
In other words, I learned that life is not AT ALL about pleasure. Academics. Study. Work. These, yes. Pleasure, no. As a youngster, probably not yet ten years of age, two hours of weeding the garden with the Anaconda beside me in the hot sun seemed to necessitate a brief recess. Nope. My mother retorted, “If you can’t learn to work eight hours in the garden now, how are you EVER going to hold a full-time job someday?!” I shoulda said something like, “I dunno, maybe I’ll wing it, get by on my good looks or WHO THE HELL CARES!?# I’M EIGHT YEARS OLD!!!”
Most people know what the work “strict” means. But I refer to a word so deathly terrifying in referring to the Werewolf Anaconda who raised me that the mere thought of disobeying any pleasure of hers would bring high blood pressure and nearly a heart attack even to a youngster. I don’t want to describe what happened when she happened to find a Playboy magazine in the kitchen garbage can. I don’t want to elucidate the torture methods that were employed for any or all displeasures caused to her. I’ll just refer myself to the topic at hand, pleasure, and maybe forget about that past that was.
So…pleasure…Pleasure is the strength to thrash an enemy. To have the proper words, the moment, the decision, and the value to push and push … I think I better end at that. Have a nice day. I’m losing all sense of pleasure by trying to type this.