Author Archives: abclarke

About abclarke

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The Plan v. The Goal

Do not mourn discarded plans
To ride your camel a thousand miles to Mecca,
Once you know you must climb Everest instead.

The plan is not the goal.
The plan was never the goal.
The goal was the goal.

If the goal changes,
No matter how good the plan,
Change the plan.

So rejoice, grab your mule and climb your mountain.
It matters not whether you wade through camel shit
Or mule shit to get there.

Was It God?

Ant on blade of grass.

Each night Ant leaves the colony, treks through the field, finds a blade of grass, and climbs, climbs, climbs. 

Ant’s work for the day has passed, his burden lowered, the others sleep, and Ant is done, done, done.

In spiritual ecstasy, atop the spike, mandibles clamped tight, Ant waves his legs to pray, pray, pray.

Deep inside Ant knows he is part of something larger.
Deep inside Ant knows he serves a higher purpose.
Deep inside Ant knows he has been touched by God.
Deep, deep, deep.

Yet a small part of Ant niggles.
A small part of Ant nags.
A small part of Ant needles.
Burrowing doubt. Pernicious doubt. Malevolent doubt.

Was that moment when Ant felt one with everything truly God; or was it just a fluke?

Three Kings

Three kings entered the armory.

The first surveyed the room and alighted upon the Sword of Beauty. Picking up the jeweled hilt, and admiring the calligraphy on the blade, he proclaimed, “here is a sword worthy of my reign! The people will see it and rejoice.” And with that, he entered the arena.

The second surveyed the room and found the Sword of Humility. Grasping the wooden hilt, with its simple cross for a guard, he knelt and prayed, “Lord, may this sword represent that I am but a servant of my people.” And with that, he entered the arena.

The last surveyed the room, and went from sword to sword. Grasping each, he tossed it in his hand, swung once, swung twice, and put it down before moving to the next. Then silently selecting the one that killed best, he entered the arena and became king of them all.

A Laughing Matter

“You dare laugh at me,” snarled Lion at Hyena. “Your death is assured!”

“Of course, of course,” laughed Hyena. “Kill the critic, while meanwhile the gazelle romp free and mock you.”

So Lion hunted all the gazelle, and bringing Hyena to the killing fields, he proclaimed, “Look now Hyena. I am Lion, king of all I see. As surely as I can do this, your death is assured!”

“Of course, of course,” laughed Hyena. “Kill the critic, while the elephant titter behind your back.”

So Lion slaughtered the elephants, the bison and the rhinos. He eviscerated the zebras, the wildebeests, and the giraffes. He massacred the cheetahs, the vultures, and even the other lions. All fell before his roar. 

And crushing Hyena beneath his giant paw, he said, “see now, none stand before me. Your death is assured. How can you still laugh?”

“Of course, of course,” giggled Hyena. “You are strong, and you are powerful, and I will most assuredly die. But  tomorrow you will find no food, and the day after my brothers will find you. And laugh.”

True Story

One Thanksgiving, my grandmother-in-law was appalled that we were going to throw away the bones of our turkey. So she wrapped the carcass in a plastic bag and took it with her on her airplane journey home, where she assured us she would make soup.

She carried-on the carrion.

The Statistician’s Lament

To a reasonable degree of uncertainty, I am the pinnacle of perfection.

From an evolutionary perspective, from the bacteria to the trees to the fishes to the dinosaurs to the monkeys, when sampled from the whole universe and history of potential candidates, I am (within acceptable error bars) probabilistically the ultimate specimen of life . When viewed over the billions (or is it quadrillions (or is it quadrateintillions?)?) of cell-divisions, I am the best life can offer. Darwin’s champion.

And when I run the odds, amongst the possible matches in the world today, I know the chances that you are the most perfect for me asymptotically approaches zero. The mathematics show me that any person picked at random from any place in the world has a statistically similar or better prospect of being right for me.

All of this I know to be true – the numbers do not lie.

Yet, as I watch you walk away, the pain the perfect-me feels at the loss of the imperfect-you … it does not compute.

True Strength

tajSome crumple beneath a bundle of feathers, blind to anything but the load.

Others strap the mountain effortlessly upon their shoulders and march, strengthened by the view of the palace they build on the plains below.

And a small few carry the others, ignoring all strain, for in their minds the palace is already built. They must merely dance their steps to make the towers shine in an eternity of future sunrises.

Branding Matters

Given his fearsome rooster-like war cry that matched his costume’s red mohawk, and his super magical strength as a Germanic demon, the fact that his archenemy Spiderman always tittered when he attacked confused and confounded the Cockgoblin.

Let Chaos Reign

Who is more powerful, the lion or the bee?
Who is more important, the lion or the bee?
Without the lion, we will have chaos.
Without the bee, we will have annihilation.
If slaughtering the lion can save the bees,
Let chaos reign.

Tom, Dick, & Harry

Tom was respected because he cared for people, and he was loved because he cared for people.

Dick was respected because he told people the truth, and he was hated because he told people the truth.

Harry was respected because, while he was no Tom, he wasn’t a Dick.

But Not Too Much

Work, but not too much.
Rest, but not too much.
Dance, laugh, revel and party,
Cry, howl, grieve and be somber,
But not too much.

Dote on your child, boast and be proud.
Admonish and discipline to teach.
Show them the beauty and joy in the world.
Point out the horrors, the evils, the dark.
But not too much.

And love.
Love until your heart explodes,
Until your body collapses,
Until the earth claws you back into her body.
Love until every part of you forgets what is to not love.
Love until exhaustion.
Love past exhaustion.
Love until the limit,
And you will find no limit.