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The Metaphorical Hammer

As laziness gets the best of me, my lack of posting these vaguely philosophical views has surely left the public in a state of general disarray and professing chaos… which feels strangely like I’m copying somebody else’s idea here.  It’s as if characters in my imagination have taken the shape of a fairly minimalist cartoon involving snow, crude humor, and a puffy cheesy snack.  Whatever.  This is all probably nothing more than routine Chipotle burrito gas.  It’ll pass with a fiery intensity.

Anyways, while on the topic of unoriginal ideas, I wanted to supply my gracious audience with a lesson about the metaphorical hammer (in my pants?  No, we’ll discuss that in another Q/A session).  Terry Pratchett, best-selling author in the UK, brought to mind the concept of acting according to your own will without expecting any negative consequence as avoiding the “metaphorical hammer.”  This may be nothing more than another reference to our conscious, or lack there of, but to a degree it may be the key many of us need to break away from our fears or whatever holds us back from achieving the unknown.

On the other hand, this hammer hurts like hell when it comes down hard.

We have a natural tendency to believe that some level of punishment or absolute prevention will be served for almost anything we do outside of our own property.  Imagine, if you will, being self-restricted from an adult cookie jar because in the back of your mind there’s the disciplinary parenting voice you’re sure you’ll hear as you reach up to the counter to take just one extra sweet treat.  The average person will go great lengths to avoid conflict.  This may provide ample opportunities to truly be yourself; be that “wild child” in the most tame of forms.

Would you go to your nearest downtown spot and walk around with your shirt off on a nippy Autumn night?  It doesn’t have to be an extreme display of vigilantism, but simply something that may turn heads in your act that’s not necessarily to gain attention.  You don’t have to live your life imagining that the hammer will be poised to strike above your head the second you cross out of the typical behavioral bounds.  Break through embarrassment.

Take your first step towards freedom.  Walk into the reserve stock aisles of a warehouse where it clearly states Employees Only.  If someone approaches you and questioningly brings to your attention, “Sorry, this area is for employees only,” what reaction do you think they’d exhibit if you calmly replied, “I know,” and continued exploring?  There’ll surely be a moment’s pause because who in their right mind openly admits that they’re doing something that’s been informally agreed to be against the ambiguous rules?  There’s an endless amount of harmless (note, Harmless) scenarios and situations in which you wish you weren’t stopped or didn’t stop yourself.  It all goes back to avoiding conflict.  Even the person catching you moseying around in the back of the store will almost be too timid to ask what you’re doing.

Kids growing up nowadays won't ever get the heart-pumping adrenaline experience of sneaking behind the forbidden adult section curtain of a Blockbuster.

I walked right into a bank yesterday while three ladies standing near the front all held quizzical expressions on their faces as I passed on through up to the empty counter.  Nobody said anything until I finally turned around and addressed them directly, assuming they must work there, and asked if the bank was already closed.  She said, “Yes, we closed 30 minutes ago… can we do something for you quickly though?”  These after-hours, loitering tellers let me make my way inside without so much as an, “Umm… hello?”

If you rode a majestic horse into the cubical den of your standard business, you’d get to enjoy at least a few minutes of pin-drop silent peace as all of your coworkers stare in bewilderment; pinching themselves to check the dream state.  Nobody does that.  Nobody would do that.  But why?  Sounds fun to me.  Create a little excitement.

“Tide’s turning,” she told the crustacean, “so we’re going to take a little walk.”  She dropped it into her shopping bag and headed across the university lawns.
A couple of graduate wizards were working in the university boatyard nearby.  One looked at her and said, “Are you supposed to be walking on the university lawns, madam?”
“No, it is absolutely forbidden to kitchen staff,” said Glenda.
The students looked at one another.  “Oh, right,” said one of them.
And that was it.
As easy as that.
It was only a metaphorical hammer.  It only hit you if you allowed it to be there.
Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett
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