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You Must Be This High To Ride

I want to tell you the story of two men I know.

The first, we'll call him, in the best heavy-handed manner, Galahad. Now Galahad is a nice enough fellow. He's sweet, he's honest and he's a terrificly understanding kind of man. Despite his own strong sense of morals and conviction to doing what he thinks is the right thing, he never holds it against someone when they fuck up. He understands that everyone is human and while some crimes are worse than others, when it all comes down to it, we all make mistakes.

Yet in spite of his good spirit, he wasn't the happiest man I ever knew. He worked in a low-end industry--something involved with the manufacture of stationary or some such--dreaded going to work, dreaded coming home knowing that he'd just have to go back to work and dreaded having nothing left to enjoy when all the bills were paid at the end of the week. His soul cried out for something more. So, after hmm'ing and hah'ing for a few months, he did something about it.

He'd always wanted to work for Microsoft. He loved computers and knew others who worked there and when they spoke of their jobs to him, he listened. He thought of the fifty hours a week he'd spend watching his hands dry up and dry out and wither away a little more each day, and then he'd think about the interesting, involving world of working with computers, and he knew his world could get better. So he started studying. On his own. Sure he got outside help from his friends in the industry. Sure, he borrowed a little money in order to take the tests. But when it all came down to it, he was the one sitting at his desk after work every day with his nose in a book There was no one there come test day and no amount of borrowed money could bribe the examiner.

He's now working for Microsoft, albeit for one of their vendors, but his goal is in sight. He just took aim and did something about it. And although he'd assuredly say that he couldn't have done it without the help of his friends, I would like to remind him that it was, indeed, HE who did it.

His life was a ferris wheel, and he didn't like the ride. He's now on the roller coaster. I'd like to state publicly that he's one of the bravest men I know and he's what I consider an example of what we all can be as human beings.

There's this other friend I have. He's one of the most talented, terrific, compassionate men I've ever met. He has a talent for writing that I don't even think he's realized and has a voice that makes girls go goo-goo. Oh, and there's the fact that he's a fantastically handsome man.

His life is not what he wants it to be. And while it's true that there are underlying emotional factors involved, he cannot seem to get a grip on happiness. It's like he's trying to catch fish with greased hands.

The only difference between the two of them is that one could look out and see the rest of the amusement park while one can only see the roller-coaster finishing its course, only to start over once again.

He doesn't realize that he can raise his hand, stop the car, and get off. He can't even see the operator. And let's face it, friends. Who wants to get on a ride with a screaming, terrified person in the front seat?

I'm here to tell him that life is just a ride. You can get off and change rides whenever you like. You just have to be strong enough to raise your hand, stop the car, and tell the operator enough is enough. With two strong legs, you can walk to whatever ride you wish. Don't be discouraged if the line is long. Don't let the fact that it takes three tickets instead of one, or if you have to be "this high," to ride. Steal the extra tickets if you must. Wear lifts. Do whatever it is you have to do, and get the fuck on the ride of your choosing.

After all, you're the one who designed the park. You're the one who purchased the tickets.

It's time to let others stop deciding which ride is best for you.

After all, the ride will eventually end. Don't spend all your tickets on one that you hate.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of The Abyss.

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