The Soapbox: Requiem

Have you heard this story? A man injures his leg during the hunt. He's in the middle of the savannah, with no means to treat the wound. The leg rots and death approaches. The last minute he's picked up by an airplane. He looks down and sees a land of pure white below him, glistening in the light. It's the summit of a snow-capped mountain, the mountain is Kilimanjaro. As he gazes down he feels the life flowing out of him and he thinks, 'That's where I was headed...'I hate stories like that. Men only think about the past right before their death. As if they were searching frantically for proof that they were alive.

-Cowboy Bebop, The Real Folk Blues Part 1

And so it is that we find ourselves searching.

For when the natural law of the world has dictated to us that we are without something, be it life, or leadership, or identity, we search to replace it. For some, there is no rebirth. The hunter, the head coach... In the symbiotic flow of things they have been ordered to be taken, and those left in their wake must be reborn to a strange world without them.

We are reduced to such pitiful lows at times like these, devoid of identity, that we are diminished, reduced to a hopeless state akin to spirits not yet passed on to other worlds... Wailing, miserable agony pierces our very souls, mangles them. Something taken away must be replaced, and it is our nature to pursue a means of replacement, whatever the cost of that thing might be. Perchance for us, there is hope for the future. For the spirits we so convincingly imitate, however, and for the dying, hope only exists as a fleeting form of sustenance that blinds them to the ominous inevitability that looms in front of their very faces.

Josh McDaniels offered no words the last time he left the Dove Valley complex. He merely honked the horn of his SUV once and drove away.

He remembered the pride filled glow that had swamped Gyoko's face and he wondered again at the bewildering gullibility of people. How baffling it was that even the most cunning and clever people would frequently see only what they wanted to see, and would rarely look beyond the thinnest of facades. Or they would ignore reality, dismissing it as the facade. And then, when their whole world fell to pieces and they were on their knees slitting their bellies or cutting their throats, or cast out into the freezing world, they would tear their topknots or rend their clothes and bewail their karma, blaming gods or kami or luck or their lords or husbands or vassals—anything or anyone—but never themselves."

James Clavell's Shogun

Is it possible to convince oneself of untruth? To so daringly defy the face of reality with unbound expectation, to dream so wildly as to destroy the very construct of reality upon which rational thought is founded? Perhaps that thought which we create for ourselves is true, and we believe based on our ethics what is true and good and moral, and we do so intrinsically. Perhaps our first impression was right...

But perhaps the opposite holds true, and we are mere puppets of our own minds. That they control and contort us into something much more insignificant than we lead ourselves to be. And like spiders entangled in their own webs, eventually the untruth cannot hold and the facade breaks and we are again at an impasse and void of identity. From whence these fabrications, then? Perhaps we seek only to destroy, and in the process of destruction create for ourselves a frail shadow of justification for it. We create for ourselves the most tenuous of veneers to justify our actions. There is greener grass, we say.

Tempted we are always with a more verdant meadow. Is it not why we float along this stream we call life? The omnipresence of the promise is the form of the hand stretched out to us, promising us that over the next hill or valley there is paradise, and we are only to run in that direction and we will arrive, exhausted, but in a better place. But when we run and run and do not reach the paradise over the hill, we grow jaded with our quest. Disdain fills us, and our disdain grows into boiling anger which proliferates until we throw it all back into the face of our promiser, destroying him, until another comes to take his place. And so we run on, toward a new paradise, repeating the process again and again until we grow cold, beaten and weary, carrying the weight of a thousand unfilled promises.

There are still others who live by an ethic, the first promise, that they believe guides them to their own personal heaven. They spend all their lives running to the first hill, crawling, scratching, kniving their way inch by inch until they too collapse upon the weight of their shattered dreams...

So if both schools of thought are wrong, then which is the more remunerative choice? Do we succumb to what destiny has decided for us or do we create our own doom?

And if you listen very hard

The tune will come to you at last

When all is one and one is all

To be a rock and not to roll

-Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

Who are we? It is a very simple question, and yet the most pertinent question we can ever ask. We stand now, huddled together in a mass confusion, having been tried, tested, hardened, questioned, let down, beat up and as a collective so monumentally demoralized that some of us have felt our very souls go numb, and still others have abdicated that around which they once structured their very lives.

There must always remain hope, however. For when one is beaten and destroyed to the point that he calls the purpose of his existence into question, it is his natural instinct to renounce everything. What becomes of him, though? Does he better himself by taking this plan of action? Nay, it is rather that in the process of casting off his perceivéd burdens of belief, he becomes a miserable pessimist, leeching onto the prophecies of those around him to become something of a doomsayer. His jaded soul cries out for attention because he was not strong enough to overcome this world-rapturing state.

And it is not to be asked of him. On the contrary, it is a laudable achievement in and of itself not to fall victim to this common vice, but rather stand in its face holding that which one holds dear on his arm, shouting his intention clearly for all the world to hear, and charging forth with the zeal of a man who is broken but will not give way.

We stand at a crossroads, comrades. We are a beaten, broken mass, our collective visage stained with the blood of another loss of identity. I propose that it is time we forged one for ourselves, out of the ashes of that of our forefathers'. We are Broncos fans, nay? It is the common bond we share that keeps us standing here even when all the world around us is in turmoil. We have an opportunity now to come together, to conciliate the various coteries of a fanbase divided. We have the unique opportunity at a time like this to reconcile all that belongs to those who bleed orange, and announce to the world who we are.

We are Denver Broncos fans. Period. For too long has our home-field advantage been receding. Far too many have become satiated with the success of a regime that so recently took us to the highest peak to which we have ever been. Ridiculously we demand perfection from that which we cannot control.

Those highs will come again, gentlemen. The valleys in between will be trying and difficult, but we will brace them with unparalleled vigor until our skin is hardened, our hearts weary, and our souls better for the journey, because that is what we do. We will stand on our feet and wear orange and bellow loudly enough to awaken the gods themselves because we are Broncos fans united, and never again will our brethren be treated as slime.

Look at your fellow fan and embrace him as you would a brother, for your bond to him is as strong as that which ties you to the team. Embrace your individuality and provide unique insight, yes, but do not dogmatize the oeuvre of any man, be him John Bena or your very self. Remember that we are merely spectators in the game, and embrace that role. Remember that it is our duty to stand behind our team no matter what, because we are the only ones who have that privilege.

We have an opportunity, gentlemen. It is up to us.

If you still feel like crap, listen to this Queen song and you'll feel better.


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