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Cell Phones and Flowers

Before I started working for Russell Cellular, I went out to my land every day to tend my gardens and work on the house. I went out there yesterday for the first time in two weeks. I found my flower gardens completely overgrown with grass and weeds, but I also found some 10-foot tall sun flowers, brilliant zinnias, and gladiolus. I cut some of each and brought them home to liven up the house. I've never been a fan of fresh cut flowers. I didn't have anything against them, but even at my most spendy, it would never have occurred to me to spend money in order to have fresh cut flowers on my table.

When I'm at work and keeping busy, I feel good about my job, but...

I catch the occasional specter of resentment creeping in. "I'm better than this. This job is a waste of my time, energy, and intelligence." Of course that's silly. Given that I've just taken a six-year vacation from job-ville, I have no room for complaint. I could have stayed away longer if I'd made it my top priority, but I didn't.

Had I made it my aim to ration my Amazon money to ensure that I'd never have to work again, I would now still have the time to work on my house and my gardens, but at the time I wanted to grab my share of celebrity as a cartoonist, and, confident that someone of my intelligence, dedication, and means couldn't help but succeed, I spent freely. I made the following quote my guiding principle:
commit yourself to a life in which
you constantly consume your own security
-forcing yourself to seek a higher
security, which you attain and then destroy
in order to go higher still-
it sounds unbearably painful
but it's just growing pains
didn't you say you wanted freedom?
freedom is not a tv set and bank account
convenience, security, won't get you high
won't even keep you safe
they'll consume you
and you know it

-Paul Williams

I always had plants on my desk at work at Amazon.com and in my tiny studio apartment in downtown Seattle. I loved to go to the garden center in the Pike Place market. When we lived in Port Ludlow, I would put off writing and drawing by spending time landscaping our property. And yet it never occurred to me that I would do well to explore opportunities for making a career for myself around those kinds of activities. No, I wanted to use my brain. I wanted to make my name and fortune with my smarts. Of course, having a "green thumb" certainly counts as a kind of intelligence, but not the kind I admired in others or for which I hoped other people might admire me. Live and learn.

As long as we cling to life as we understand it, we cling to a pinched
and deadly image of things, an image heavily conditioned by our egos,
our social programming, our limited knowledge of the options. But when
we are willing to let go of life as we want it to be and allow the
larger reality to live in and through us instead, then in our dying we
come alive.

-Parker J. Palmer

I can think of several scenarios in which the skills I develop and the relationships I establish in the performance of this "menial" sales job lead to lasting prosperity for me and my family as well as the long-term satisfaction that comes from finding the life path that weds one's passion to the necessary task of earning money. I won't spell out any particular scenario, as I realize that the best path for me is not one I'll dream up in advance and achieve through self-discipline (not to disparage self-discipline).

It is this faith (or phaith as I used to put it) and the intrusion of doubt that motivated the text of today's comic.

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August 2017


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