Friday, November 20, 2009

The Tao of Wu? How about the Tao of Me?

Sure, we all know the Tao of Lao Tzu, the Tao of Steve, the Tao of Pooh and the Tao of goodness knows who else, but now the “abbot” of Wu-Tang Clan and awesome nickname owner Robert “The RZA” Diggs (The RZA? Yes, I believe a nickname pronounced “Rizz-a” is pretty awesome.) has offered us the Tao of Wu. Really. Well that’s just fine but I think it’s high time I stood up and shared the Tao of Me.

So what are my qualifications for flaunting my own, unique Tao? Well, mostly that I’m anything but unique, really. That is to say that basically I’m a young-ish guy who’s a husband, father of two and all around regular guy. And unlike Mr. Diggs who is, apparently, chock full of Tao, I’ve never had to overcome any great obstacles such as race, gender or disability. Everything in my life has, quite frankly, come pretty easily.

To put a finer point on it, I’ve never had to work very hard. Well... I did spend twenty years in the trenches of the food service industry, but I hardly think the difficulty of my career trajectory matches, say, coal miners, single moms, factory workers in South America, child laborers in Asia or even Victorian waifs selling pencils on snowy street corners. So in the scheme of things, working a job where I catered to cranky old people who liked to pretend they were still in the Catskills was, in short, a cake walk. Sometime literally, but that’s a different story.

Anyway, to summarize what otherwise might be an unnecessarily long winded treatise, the Tao of Me pretty much boils down to these two things:

1: Be nice to people. It’s not that hard and even if you don’t believe in Karma, you will, over the long term, feel better. (Except of course if you’re a douche bag, in which case never mind.)

2: Share. Or, put much less simply: even if you’re tempted to feel like an entitled libertarian because you don’t think your tax dollars should go to undeserving people or be used to light streets you don’t drive on… just stop. Stop feeling all persecuted because some government services are inefficient and there are some people who take advantage of them. And just because you don’t personally use a particular service doesn’t mean that it’s unnecessary or has nothing to do with you, because it does.

And how is that, exactly? Because even if you’re the sort of dismissive jerk that’s frightened by anything you think is liberal or touchy-feely… bear in mind that we’re all connected. How? What do you think happens if no one with dark skin can get a loan for a car, house or business? What happens if kids in struggling families can’t get access to meaningful higher education? What happens if everyone who’s born into a crummy neighborhood is allowed to fail? Chaos, that’s what. It’s the recipe for the creation and preservation of a permanent underclass. Remember the Watts riots? Sure you do. And if you don’t, look it up. ‘Nuff said.

Anyhow, I once again seem to have gotten far enough afield that there’s no obvious way to turn this little intellectual safari around. And that’s fine, really, because I actually like it here and it’s time for lunch anyway. Tao out.