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49 Questions

By Atticus Hart

WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE? Who's running this show? Why is the customer service so bad? Do none of us take pride in our in our work anymore? Is God dead or just jaded? If life is so precious, why doesn't it come with a warranty? Why are the finance charges so steep?

Where is the operating manual?

What are we trying to live up to? Why is it so hard to give ourselves permission to succeed? To fail? Are successful people really smarter than the rest of us? Are they really better looking? Are they happier? Or are they just more vain? More driven? More ruthless?

What is social Darwinism and where can I get some?

Is there really a hell? Is it big enough to contain all the people--my boss, my high school gym teacher, my ex, my snotty neighbors--who annoy me? Is it hot enough to burn away the pain of existence? Do you suffer alone? Where are the angels? Do you burn in your own private hell of your own making? If so many people are so miserable, why don't we all do something about it? Do you ever lie awake in the dead of the night and wonder how many other sleepless souls share your plight?

Why does your boss treat you like a soulless automaton? Why are you willing to sell out for a good dental plan, an overpriced house made of plastic and pressboard, and a $350-a-month lease on a Lexus?

Do you ever take the time to think about the feelings of others? To see yourself the way they see you? To humble yourself? To drop that facade of righteousness? That pretense of purpose? That veneer of authority?

What stops you from expressing your love?

If you had imagined this life when your were 9, how would your choices have been different? What's keeping you from being the person you thought you could be back then? Was life really simpler in those days or did we all just have our head stuck in the sand? Do you delude yourself into thinking that you're in control of your destiny? What does your boss say about that? Your landlord? Your spouse? The government? Do you ever try to cut through the illusions? Or have you just packed it in?

Why can't we be happy in the moment?

Who's in charge here?


Atticus Hart lives in Bodega Bay. He used to believe in a master plan. Now he spends his time avoiding the pitfalls of his making.

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From the May 24-30, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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