the sloth

written on 06.june.2003:

He catches you, then binds you up with harsh, prickly rope, pulling so tightly that your blood pauses in its circulation. You sweat beneath the bonds. That furry sloth calls himself your blanket. “I’m keeping you warm!” he insists. “You’re cold, overworked, and you deserve me!” You believe him, for a few minutes, until he swallows you up in murmurings of deceit. Oh, that cold deceit!

He takes your mind, wrapping it up in fluffy webs, wisps of dreams. They come in, clouding, fogging, until your mentality is crushed, powdered, diluted, utterly gone. Your will, your energy – that little scrap left – like the food of a beggar has been snatched away. And you are so weak you hardly notice. Was that a small gust of wind just rushing over your fingertips that held onto that last scrap of bread, that last slice of liveliness? Oh, yes. A small gust of wind. Small and sinister and black and cruel and scorching and monstrously ugly. But you don’t notice. You sit down, and the breeze blowing across appeases your hunger for life. You’re sitting there, oh-so-comfortable, though the crick in your neck will only get worse and worse because the pillow your head is resting on is filled with gravel in the shape of feathers.

The consciousness is gone! The tired eyes — gone! You sink into the stupidity of nothingness. You didn’t have a choice, though, really. It snuck up on you. You had plans – other plans – plans of life and hope and a future. But there was that little furry sloth that talked so smoothly to you, bound your feet in fetters when you weren’t paying attention. But you didn’t have a choice! He wanted to visit with you, after all. And you couldn’t be rude, of course. Even a sloth deserves a little sympathy. Just one more day of sympathy. Just one more visit with the poor little guy. Yes, he steals your bread. Yes, he takes up your time. Yes, he lies. But tomorrow you’ll warn him. Tomorrow you’ll tell him that you have things you must be about doing. But today, today he just wouldn’t understand. Tomorrow he would. After all, he’s a sensible guy. You can tell it, deep down, that he’s sensible, even though you’ve never seen it when you look into his eyes. But his voice! He TELLS you he’s sensible! And to not believe him… that would just be utterly unfair.

You like to be fair. You like to have compassion. And that sloth, he’s that perfect candidate, poor guy. Not always. You have a life to live. Tomorrow you’ll tell him no. Maybe he won’t be around tomorrow. Maybe he’ll find someone else to chat with. Maybe he’ll find another hand from which to beg his bread. You hope.

But if he comes, if he knocks at your door, if he begs your hand, only to pull you into his death clutches, you’ll submit, won’t you? Because you know the wonderful result of having compassion on him. They’re restfulness, and joy, and an I-feel-good-because-I-helped-out-a-poor-little-… no? Those aren’t the results? But I thought you said…

You say there are different results? You say you feel physically drained? You say the future gets cloudy? You say that the sloth doesn’t appreciate your kindness? He keeps begging? Begging more? But that’s not even fair! You’ve been so compassionate! So kind! And he STILL wants more of your time? More of your bread? Without paying you any favors? What… he said he was going to pay you in gold? He said he was going to pay you in joy? In restfulness? And he filled your pockets full of rocks? What a scoundrel! How could he be so cruel? Well, you surely won’t listen to his lies tomorrow. I know you. You’re bright. You won’t fall for his tricks again.

Will you?

    • Ashley
    • February 3rd, 2005

    Wow. Pretty much all I have to say about that.

    • Dan
    • March 2nd, 2005

    A friend sent me a link to your blog and I have to say that you are quite the writer. More personally, I have fallen into the comfort of sloth on too many occasions. I often think to myself, “I’ve worked hard all day and have earned the rest” but the rest is never as satisfying as I often imagine it should be (not that I’m saying anything that you haven’t said more elegantly).

    This is great and definitely something I will remember next time I just want to collapse unto the couch and turn on the TV. Thank you~

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