8 INCHES TO THE LEFT

stilllife2.jpg

Looking for a subject to play in Painter with (okay, Mom: with which to play in Painter,) I shifted my gaze to the left side of my desk. I'm a big believer in the conservation of energy. You never know when you'll be confronted with a pack of wild mastodons, and a proper execution of either fight or flight requires a substantial store of energy. I'm also a big believer in flight. But flight, even if it's only the mental version, requires energy, and to that end, I consume potato chips. What puzzles me is that common sense tells me that natural selection favors flighters over fighters, but if that's the case, why do men keep rising to the top of the reeking political heap who believe in fighting? Oh right, I forgot: they believe in other people fighting, which is a very sophisticated and disguised version of flight. It's no coincidence, I think, that most of these brave fighter-leaders of ours were resourceful enough to avoid turning over their own particular bodies to the armed services, either by seeking loopholes or by simply deciding not to show up. Underlying the whole Republican mindset is an unspoken (most times) belief in "survival of the fittest"--if you don't have the sheer gumption to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, then you deserve to be hungry, or out of work, or poor, or sick. What they conveniently overlook is that survival favors those who practice judicious running-away, or daddy-bailing-out, or the enlistment of others to be brave for you.