Can happen to anyone. You wave back with all the enthusiasm you can muster, your heart flying out to the smiling face. Only to discover the smile and the wave were for somebody else. Oops. Pick yourself up, and try not to look too idiotic.
Eight years old. He’s smart and he knows it. Except, the best he’s found to do with his smarts is to make adults look bad. Adults always look bad when they lose their cool and yell at helpless little children of barely eight small years of experience. God forbid the adult should lose it bad enough to strike the little one on the bottom. This little boy is smart enough to leave the adult dangling with frustration. In conversation with the mother after the session, I learn the little boy gets high fives from his dad, every time he manages to send his mother into orbit. What the dad does in response to lip from his boy, I can well guess. We’re back to dreams of planes crashing in the back yard.
Frustration. Even the word feels like a walk through nettles. Bad starts. Wrong turns. The person doesn’t live there anymore. Worse yet, the person still lives there, but doesn’t remember you; or gives you a cold look that makes you wish you’d never, ever taken a chance on anything. Wrong, says the buzzer. Your Reality Principle, invalidated. Next candidate, please.
From the lousy sidewalk outside the one-way steel door exit, you make your way down the street, feeling like a squished worm. Your job to sort out those pieces of Reality you can now make into something good enough to fool everybody into thinking you really are the cat’s miaow. More important: good enough to fool yourself.
For the record. What serves as the sustaining element over here this morning is the following paragraph : “As Jeremy Adelman shows in his astonishing and moving biography, Hirschman sought, in his early twenties and long before becoming a writer, to ‘prove Hamlet wrong.’ In Shakespeare’s account, Hamlet is immobilized and defeated by doubt. Hirschman was a great believer in doubt – he never doubted it – and he certainly doubted his own convictions… In seeking to prove Hamlet wrong, Hirschman was suggesting that doubt could be a source not of paralysis and death but of creativity and self-renewal.” (An Original Thinker of Our Time, by Cass R. Sunstein, in The New York Review of Books, May 23-June 5, 2013, Volume LX, Number 9)