Everything I own is broken. I am not exaggerating. When I say everything I own is broken, I mean EVERYTHING I OWN IS BROKEN, including the eternally clogged drain, the blitzed-out light over the upstairs toilet and the malfunctioning Dwight Schrute bobblehead that wouldn’t actually bobble, just flop sadly over in existential despair, until I wadded up paper and crammed it into his head. So I guess it technically isn’t broken any longer.
But my cars. Holy shit. You know how I hate them suckers, right? How they just break down uninvited, get into accidents for the heck of it and poop out muffler insulation that resembles cheapo wigs? Well, let it be known that that’s been happening again. In a big way. A big, big way. Involving THE IMPENETRABLE KAFKAESQUE NETHER-ZONE OF INSURANCE-COMPANY CONVERSATIONS.
Plus I just paid, like, a million dollars to replace every last bit of one entire Honda after it threatened to kill me on the drive to work. I’m serious. I brought it in immediately to the nearest possible shop, and now it’s like a whoooole new vehicle. You know that Richard Scarry book where Mr. Frumble takes his pickle car in for repairs and it comes back a hot dog, or something? This is like that. Exactly. I swear.
Also, my dryer broke. And my piano needs fixing. I could go on (NO! NO! NO! howl all six of my readers) but won’t, mainly because it’s an endless list, and I could be here all night, and I still need to exercise and shower and practice the violin and watch the first “X-Files” movie with my son. But also because, well, isn’t this how it works, this complicated gizmo of life? There are too many moving parts to it, too much occasion for cosmic chance. At some point — at most points, actually — it’s sure to break down.
So am I. I’m broken, too. I don’t just mean the mess in my knees or the ever-increasing hyperopia of my eyeballs. I mean I’m broken inside, but I don’t know who isn’t. As a person of faith, I believe we’re born with a sense of order, a yearning for perfection, that amounts, I think, to a kind of metaphysical homing signal. On some level we KNOW things are better somewhere else, more seamless and loving and less prone to breakdown, and we try like crazy to replicate that here.
Of course we can’t. Of course we can’t stop trying, either. That’s what plumbers are for.