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We make our own world.

We make our own world.

We make our own world and then sleep in it.

We stew in the juice of our own concocting.

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One part of my job now is to handle citizen complaints and take phone calls from the crazy, convoluted, and pissed off. It is a wonderful way to get into people’s heads and to inject yourself into their dramas. So many angry, angry people. They want the cops to come fix their problems. One thing I always tell them is that we can’t do that. We can write down everybody’s name. We can say what you told us and say what the other person told us, and we can sometimes take one or two folks to jail for a few hours or even a few weeks sometimes, but we can’t fix the real problem.

Sometimes I’ll let them ramble on and on to get it out of their system, then ask them to boil down the problem to a single sentence. Tell me what’s wrong like I am a little kid. Simple words. Then when they get it down to that form, I’ll ask them to keep repeating it to me.

Sometimes after ten or twelve repetitions, they stop and sort of shake their heads. “Huh,” they say. “I guess maybe I should do something about that myself.”

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Ah-ha.

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Okay, so they never really do that.

But wouldn’t it be nice?

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The real lesson in these kinds of interactions is always a personal one. It is all just a mirror that I hold up to my own dark soul and peer into. Am I any less blind? Any less willful and petulant? Don’t I want a mommy and a daddy to come unfuck the big mess I created? On some level?

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Sometimes you get to help someone who is really just getting screwed by a situation or a person through seemingly no fault of their own. Then the job feels pretty good.

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Shouldn’t everyone who carries a stick to hit people with be a poet or an artist?

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Shouldn’t every poet and artist carry a big stick with which to hit people?

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