I figured it out! The answer to the central question of my existence: Why write? All my life people have told me, “You have a really unusual way of looking at things.” A pretty cool trait, if you’re a writer — at the very least, it’s quirky. If you don’t write, however, this could be taken as a sign of psychosis. So, to preserve my mental standing in the community, I must write fiction. As this is Thursday and I am giddy with boardroom-battle fatigue, I find this highly clever reasoning. Well, it’s as good of a motivator as “money,” “fame,” or that other worn-out chestnut, “to bring peace and love to the entire universe.”
When I was in grammar school, the new school year couldn’t begin without at least one classmate bringing a spastic imitation-coffee bean in a small, clear plastic box because he didn’t have seashells or a pair of moccasins to exhibit for show-and-tell. Maybe it’s because I’m over 10 (way, way, way, way over 10) that I’m not privvy to the phenomenon of Mexican jumping beans, but then again, I don’t recall my niece and nephew ever playing with them. Are they politically incorrect? Bad for the environment? Toxic? I guess the answer is more obvious: They simply are low-tech. You hold one in your palm and it rolls around a couple of times. Big deal. A little brown bean containing a moth larvae jouncing in its final birth throes. Ugh, kinda gross, too. Come to think of it, Mexican jumping beans didn’t really hold my attention for more than five, six seconds when I was a kid. Maybe Mexican jumping beans were only a temporary rite of passage even then, a phase that passed faster than jawbreakers and Slinkys. They sure didn’t hold a candle to Barbie dolls.