Cross My Heart and Hope to Write
INCLUDING ORIGINAL POETRY, SHORT STORIES, ESSAYS, AND NOVELLAS, ALONGSIDE ARTWORK AND PHOTOGRAPHY
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Friday, February 8, 2013
Self-Preservation: The Cafone
Pride gets a bad rep. Sure, there are instances where we need to set aside our pride, but pride is a healthy means of self-preservation. To some, the pride is easily bruised, while others take pride in the fact that they can laugh at themselves. Pride is a good way to gauge your sense of identity; take pride in your uniqueness, your strength, your experiences, and your positivity. When we sense our pride being threatened or offended, that is a good opportunity to step back and evaluate the situation. What has caused this sense to arise? Is my sense of self under fire or am I merely taking myself too seriously? It is a delicate balance that takes skill and confidence to consider.
In certain instances, however, when the pride calls for your aid or recognition, your sense of self may be threatened by the situation at hand. In such situations, we need to make a choice: Preserve the self (ala pride) or modify the self. Such situations often represent moral dilemmas or call our values into question. Through it all, we must remember that the self - a self that is loved, above all else, - must be kept in a constant state of becoming. It is a perpetual fixer-upper. When such situations assert themselves, we must ask: What is right for me? What do i stand to lose? Never ignore the call of your pride and never throw your sense of identity under the bus.
He served me a generous platter of oily pigs’ feet. The garcon was adorned in a glaucous vest with vertical gray lines, a cerulean bowtie, pleated pants, and a button up, starched and bleached, long sleeved dress shirt with silver cuff links. There was an orange grease stain on his wrist.
The man across from me was dredging his dirty fingers in a mound of pig appendages he too had been awarded, piling them without hesitation into his snapping jaws. Transfixed by the popping suction sound of his chewing, with wide, oscillating jowls as the meat was imbedded deep between his uneven, gnashing teeth, I watched his thick eyebrows thrash with jubilation. The mixture of liquefied fat and saliva dribbled down each of his multiple chins and seeped into the napkin he had pinched between his thick neck and taught collar. He laughed maniacally.
I watched a piece of meat, formerly perched on the back of his tongue, fly across the table and land beside the saltshaker. Droplets splattered all across the tablecloth. He undid his tie and frustratingly flung it onto the tabletop, while loosening the jacket of his $2,000 suit. As he did, his elbow grazed a pile of naked knucklebones in a hors d’oeuvre plate beside the dwindling entre, fossils left in the wake of his gluttony. One of them rolled off like a die and approached the edge of the table, tumbling off and onto the toe of his polished leather shoe with a tap. He inhaled sharply. Choking, he coughed up still more particulates to span the space between us.
“Enjoy!” he said, gargling protein and gesturing with his pruned hand toward my untouched plate.
I swallowed loudly against the clatter of colliding dishes and glasses in the half-empty bistro, the sound of its closing creeping in from all directions. I wondered then, wallowing in my disgust and eating only doubt, just how much I was willing to sacrifice at the expense of my ambitions.