SELF PORTRAIT AS MEGALOMANIAC

Click on picture to see it in all its toothsome glory.

Every Saturday morning, NPR trots out a feature called This I Believe, in which people present essays infused with sanctimonious uplifting optimism, which usually make me feel guilty, but which this morning got me to thinking about Belief.

Life is like that annoying person who, as soon as you assert belief in a principle, eagerly pounces with "Oh yeah? What if….?" followed by a searing exception that exposes your belief as a tattered limp flag with which to charge into the fray, only to be flayed to within an inch of your life, such as it is. Which image reminds me of a tangential, maybe, incident that occurred when I was eight or nine. Around that time, incidents were occurring to me with a depressing regularity, but this one stands out. It was Halloween, and my Cub Scout troop was having a party, and our assignment to make our own costumes without the help of any tyrannical adults. My big idea was to construct a suit of armor out of cardboard and masking tape. A suit of armor! This would, in later life, toss up a softball for my therapist to hit out of the park, but I’m not going there today. So! I had barely made my grand entrance when the suit of armor began to deconstruct itself, revealing that in my over-confidence in my armoring skills I hadn’t gotten fully dressed. Burning with embarrassment, I turned my face to the heavens and cried "Why?" although even at that tender age I had begun to suspect I was hollering into a cold, uncaring Universe. You know, kind of like making a proposal to House Republicans.

Oh yeah, belief. Knowledge is the enemy of Belief. That’s what I believe.