July 7: the stage-hands of the mind

Most people have a number of basic back-drops against which their lives are played out. These are the leitmotifs that surface automatically, constantly, unavoidably. For a sick person it is their sickness; for a short person it is their height; for a poor person it is their financial plight; for someone with a big nose it might even be that. We all have a number of these. For me, issues with my back come to mind. Even the most handsome, cleverest and healthiest amongst us will have them. He or she will have weaved it into his sub-conscious out of nothing: an ancient, minor failing or deficiency spun into complexity by a secret spider. Sometimes over the period of a life time we manage to wash the back-drop clean of its florid markings, but even as the stage-hands of the mind are busy hoisting this out of sight, others will be lowering another back-drop into place, equally lurid, equally ghoulish. As we get older insecurities are replaced by illnesses, anxieties by scars, fears by traumas. There is no escaping; it’s part of our mechanics. The young fear the old but then the old fear the young; the have-nots envy the haves but then the haves envy the have-nots. Even a former hunchback looks fondly back to his hump as it sits quivvering and bloody on the edge of the operation table.


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