PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, August 04, 2006

 

Are you square?


Are you square? What’s square to you?

Are you polite? Respectful of authority? A contended part of the status quo? Aspire for the good, the true and the beautiful? Go to church on Sundays? Keep tabs of what’s in and what’s out? Hold down a “decent,” “respectable” nine-to-five job? Come on time and wear the company uniform? Take the bus or drive a car? Have a healthy, happy, close-knit family? Go out of town or bar-hop on weekends? Visit the malls for shopping and movies? Live in the good side of town?

If that’s square to you, then you are as square as the rest of us.

You blend with the crowd. Your taste in fashion and music may be called 'popular.' Security guards are never alarmed at your presence. Establishments don’t haul you out bodily or strip you naked on account of your clothes or haircut or shoes or features or scent. You can claim to be a cool guy. A regulation guy from polite society, with a sheltered childhood and conventional education, born of non-hippie folks for parents, and sprung from people of the Old School, the Old Guard. So mainstream as mainstream can get.

Is it really hip to be square? Do you sometimes get bored by it all? Do you feel you’re just like anybody, a plain Jane, a face in the crowd, a wallflower on a wallpaper? Are you just one of the boys, accepted for who you are because everybody thinks you’re one of them?

Comfortable but feeling unfulfilled? Secure yet unchallenged? Do you feel like a useless fat cat, a bored matron on the dance-floor longing to be of service to humanity? Have you ever felt your existence to be vacuous, meaningless? Don’t you have a sense of purpose, a sense of mission, a higher calling? Do you 'hear voices' and 'see things' even while you’re at your sanest moment?

Do you feel dictated to like a robot by a powerful commander you don’t actually see but have always resented? Do you feel trapped in a cul-de-sac, a glass ceiling, a straitjacket, a cage – or worse, tortured inside the Iron Maiden? Are you annoyed that you’re a seamless part of the assembly line? Is there a longing in your heart to be different, that you’re a bird of a different feather, a pop singer humming to a jazz tune, a player who refuses to be part of the team? Do you yearn to think out of the box, to fly, to dream, to reach outer space? Are you the proverbial round hole in a square peg?

Are you so unbearably nice that you cannot possibly have an enemy, even just one? Are you so pleasant and perfect and admirable yet you’ve never known peace of mind? Are you assured of love but not respect?

A past recollection puts it this way: There are only three questions worth asking:

1. “Are you you?”
2. “Are you here?”
3. “Now?”

So you think square? I thought so, too.

10.13.2001


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