‘When you’re always falling behind, all you get to see is the butt end of other people’s progress.’ ~ EON
Wake: the trail one leaves in a body of water.
Also: the trail one leaves behind as he or she or it proceeds across any surface.
Dictionarisms aside, a wake is a path involving action and progress, a track occupied at its front end by the runner making it, at the back by the chasers occupying its trail. Inside this wake the chasers advance, feeling comfortable, happy not to have to carve out their own path. They feel secure and guided, some do anyway, at ease with the experience of riding coattails.
Others have a diametrically opposite experience. Trailing someone else’s advance is not something they enjoy. It makes them feel like laggards, dispossessed and left behind, experiencing the full effect of not being in control of their own destiny, the choices that affect their lives. They have surrendered everything to the trailblazer up front, getting to live inside a shadow. The forerunner pushes ahead, leaving them behind, making inroads while they sweat to catch up, to no avail.
It’s a tough position to be in, eating the dust of trailblazers, the fumes of wakemakers, the shit and piss frontrunners excrete, the ooze and filth and waste associated with one’s progress, which the non-frontrunners get to breathe in, day in, day out.
With the wakemaker’s trail fresh in our minds, its effects spelled out for all to see, we are now free to define Living Death as the act of breathing, eating and sucking up the active trail i.e. the wake of a more advanced life form, be it an organism, a group of organisms, an organization, a nation, or any intelligence and layout smart enough to move forward in ways that create a track for others to trail.
The truth is, those who make inroads, they do so at the risk of their own safety and welfare, risking their lives and longevity as they tread the wilderness, avant-garde style, but the air they breathe is at least clean. They often crack their skulls against a wall, or fall off the edge of the world and are never seen again, or get shot in the back, as pioneers tend to go, but they at least don’t get to advance in the wake of other people’s discharges.
Those who choose to stay put, on the other hand, advancing in short, whimsical bursts, if that, trailing other people’s choices all the time, they’re left to float in the marginal space of the same old world, enjoying the vistas left over for them, breathing in the air freshly spewed out of the frontrunner’s backside, which they have been staring at for so long and with such ignorance, they no longer remember what it feels like to constantly and forever be trailing an asshole.
Hard to swallow, I know. But people do it willingly, proudly even, calling it modesty, reserve, contention, zen. Self-important terms. They deem it a life choice, this state of being, taking it easy, letting others do the hard work. The path ahead, let someone else open it, we’ll just follow through, enjoy the benefits of their sacrifice.
Indeed, and the price to pay for this setup? A big dollop of asshole from beginning to end.
Get it now, how it works?
Such is life. Brilliant and punishing to those who brave it, deceptive and choleric to those who waste it, almost vicious, siren-like, with a sharp sense of humor and irony to boot, reminding everyone that a little fuck-you irony is part of the process, keeping things interesting.
Tickled? Vexed? Watch this space for more.
From the collection of writings EON: THE ANGRY COMING OF AGE