Just a Thought, Just Because – A Run in the Maze

So, it’s just another day.
It’s another day in the maze.
Get up. Get dressed.
Wash your face.
Dust off the sleep that you didn’t get.
Go to work. Punch in.
Pull your share and finish your shift.

There’s more to it than this.
There’s a world out there too . . .
There’s a great big industry
There’s money. There are positions.
There’s stock prices and crashing markets.
There’s a war going on too,
which is not the war you think it is.

There are the internal dilemmas
on how to act, how to be,
how to win friends and influence people.
But wait . . .
There’s more to the mountain of success
than working hard or doing
“the right thing.”

Maybe appearances are easier for some
than they are for others.
Maybe some have better talents for the game
And yes, I swear, it’s like high school all over again.
It’s all about the “cool kids” table
It’s about who you know
or where you went to school.

What’s that?
Talent, you say?
Who needs talent
when you have an ace up your sleeve?

Or what about this . . .
What about those who
came from humble origins?
Or, what about us?
What about those with an unfortunate past?

For example: You say you have a past, huh?
That’s okay.
Your secret’s safe with me.
Besides, we all have something behind us.
Even the ivory walls have secrets
but don’t worry, they use a better bleach
to hide the stains . . .

Trust me –
Everyone has something in their background
and in one way or another,
everyone is recovering from something –

You say you have a past, right? 
Well . . .
Me too

I can say that yes. I see the struggles.
I can say that I have met people
who gave their all to overcome.
I’ve seen people from the street level
who worked their way to board members
and above and beyond;
I have watched the holy fall from grace
to fall down to so-called
bottom feeders, which they used to detest.

I’ve seen this firsthand
In fact, just to let you know . . .
I’ve fallen quite a few times myself

I can say that yes,
I have seen through the bullshit
and passed the screens
that people put up to hide their truths.
I’ve heard the talk through the paper-thin walls and yes,
I’ve seen my share of people in small groups,
recounting their sins
and weeping with a court mandate
that’s been draped above their heads. 

I’ve seen the loud ones.
I’ve heard from the “rich ones”
I’ve noticed the quiet ones too
and, to them, I say bless them.
Bless their souls because, out of anyone,
they are the ones
who truly know how to play the game.

I’ve seen the pecking order
and the social echelons of “better” or “worse”
or should I say “privileged” or not
because privileged is a word
that’s been tossed around lately
perhaps it’s been tossed around
more than it should. 

Oh, who am I, you ask?
I’m me . . .
I’m the working class.
I’m the ordinary with extraordinary dreams.
I’m the one
looking to get a shot passed the goalie
by any means necessary.

I didn’t come from ivory walls
I don’t have that perfect background,
which is exemplary,
or worthy of records.
The only record I have is called a rap sheet
But hey, I managed to pull off a trick
or two.
I might not have much. And I get that too.

What I have is this – a dream.
That’s all. And mind you, yes,
there are people in this world
who will act like goaltenders
and they’ll do this
for no other reason
than to keep you from scoring. 

I was told to relax about this . . .
I was told that “People rain on your parade
because they’re jealous of your sunshine
and tired of their shade.”
That’s a nice little quote you got there.
But I don’t need any flowers
or pictures on my desk.
I get this is a great thing to say
but hey, let’s be honest here,
a slap to the face is still painful . . .

So is a publicized trip and fall.
So is the production
from the gossip mills
and the rumor factories which are,
above all things, intended to keep you down
just because . . .

I’m telling you
it’s okay to be honest about this.
I’m telling you this because
they don’t teach this in Business 101

They may teach a lot of things in school,
but these lessons?
These are the lessons
we learn outside of the classroom.
So, pay attention because, believe me,
There will be a test.

I’ve seen the so-called posture
from those who pose,
as if to be unafraid or unwavering,
but in our inability to hide from the inevitable
and in our worry that someone
might see behind the true curtains
which, by the way, we all have this and also,
the truth is, – everyone falls,
everyone has a scar or two;
we all have “Something” hiding in the closet –
with some more hidden than others;
but still, the fact remains that no matter
what your bank account says,
this is life
and nobody gets out of this one alive. 

But we act though. Don’t we?
We try to put up this front – for protection of course.
To keep the world an arm’s distance
To keep anyone from getting to close
Or to keep anyone from betraying us.

I remember a threat.
This was from someone who wanted me to know how tough they were.
They wanted me to know how influential they are.
They told me: I have low friends in high places.

I thought to myself, “Oh yeah?”
Well, I have high friends in low places.
I liked my odds better.
I’d take my bets with your people any day of the week.
I say this because my people have less to lose.
We don’t need to look cool
or wear a club’s tie.

I’m not sure if this was the response that was expected
but ah, the truth is, we’re all in this maze, so-to-speak.
Everyone’s running around
Everyone’s just looking to protect themselves.
No one wants to be that kid
who was bullied on the playground

It is funny to me how we act “as if”
or try to seem impenetrable, as if for some reason,
we have to carry this façade
as if nothing is wrong and nothing hurts.
No one can know what’s on the inside and certainly,
no one can see us humbled or vulnerable.
Certainly not in the real world
or in the corporate world
or in any world where competition is key.

Otherwise, the wolves look for weakness.
They look for those who “behold,
were sent out as sheep amongst the wolves.”
and, therefore, you are taught and shown
and you have seen proof
of the sharpened smiles
or the knives in vests of the three-piece suits.
You’ve been warned about
the flashy eyes which, without delay,
as soon as it gets cold,
They’ll use you for firewood.
Toss you under the bus.

It’s true. We live in a “Me First!” world.
I know. I’ve seen it.
I have proof too
it’s called the tire-treads on my back

We chase these silly lies
about perfection or should I say
the proposed idea of what perfection is
which, of course,
this is why we hide our faults
and our flaws.
This is why we keep our cards close to the vest.
Besides, you don’t want anyone to know
what’s in your hand.
Don’t show anyone what you’re holding.
You want to act as if your cards are full of aces,
but in reality, at best, maybe you have a low pair
or a busted flush
which means if we were playing poker,
either you keep your poker face
and learn how to bluff
or you fold and accept your losses. 

By the way . . .
Bluffing is a talent.
Trust me when I tell you,
the world is filled with talented people.

Don’t worry though . . .
About your past, I mean.
Don’t worry about your truths.
As far as I can tell, everyone else
is looking to hide theirs too.

I go back to that idea
when I was told that I had to “grow up”
I was told that I had to “get honest”
and learn to make an honest living.
I was told about this thing we call Corporate America
and, by the way,
I can say this now
and I can say this without any uncertainty –
Corporate America is a lot of things
but of all things
the last thing is honest. 

No, I’ve seen more honor amongst thieves.
I’ve seen more integrity
in holding cells
or in the bullpens before the arrested
become the convicted.

I’ve seen more truth
in crack houses or in dope dens
than in boardrooms or on the corporate ladder. 

I have been to homeless shelters, jails, psych-wards,
rehabs and other mental health establishments.
I have seen people from across all walks of life.
I have spoken with people from nearly all backgrounds,
races, religions, creeds
and orientations and of all things I’ve realized, I’ve realized this the most . . .

The world is alive.
We are all living and breathing
Anything that lives has to learn,
grow, eat, drink, breathe and seek shelter.

Shelter . . .
As in shelter from the storm
as in safety which is something
that no one wants to lose

I suppose that the fears of loss
are bigger than we think.
I suppose the idea of being left out
or unwanted are more impactful
than we realize.

And the idea of being human?
The idea that perhaps we are not perfect
or that regardless of our façade,
deep beneath us all is a truth
and an emotion
or a historical event
that we desperately try to hide –

(or run from)

Everybody’s got something going on

So . . .
you say you have a past, huh?
Don’t worry.
You’re not the only one.
Besides . . . 
My life’s an open book
(Or at least I hope so)
Plus, I have a past too.
Either way,
Don’t worry –

your secret’s safe with me. 

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