Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Snowblower & A Man's Existential Priorities

(Thanks J.C. for this photo.)

I just got inside from firing up my snowblower. I had not used it since last winter. It was slow starting. It's a manual, not electric, start-thing, so I have to pull the cord. I pulled and I pulled and pulled... until I began to remember stories of old and young shapeless men who go out on that first snowy day and clear their sidewalks and driveways even if they are not going anywhere (just because men, being what they are, must do this) and have heart attacks.

How many times did I pull the cord? I didn't count, but can tell you that my right bicep is now twice as large as my left one. My heart is still beating, but asking me, "Just what the heck was that all about anyway?!"

What's it about? Power, that's what it's about. Men must have power, exhibit power, exert power. Men must move things, lift things, and those things must be heavy. For me this is the snowblower-as-an-extension-of-my-being. I am the snowblower. I and the snowblower are one. Men made such machines to do two things: 1) to help them with their labors; and 2) to adrenaline-rush their souls. I am not sure which comes first in terms of existential priority.

So here I now am at my computer, with the sense of having accomplished something I could not have done in my own strength but did with my power-filled snowblower. I got a big, sudden cardio-workout, and blew a lot of snow, a significant portion of which got on me. In the aftermath of my great accomplishment a sense of personal well-being settles in, and all is well with this world once again.