Frederick who?

I’m starting to think I have more lives than whiskers. Once more I’ve managed to escape a situation of extreme peril by the barest of margins, and only by the now familiar combination of humility and veiled threat. Hang in there I tell myself every time, it can turn. Nothing’s turned, nothing is final. it’s not over, not by a longshot, but I’ve bought myself time again and live to fight another day.

As it stands I’ve got till the end of the month to sell the shop and extract my balls from the vise. Reckon when the date clicks over I can still do a deal if I need to, but hoping I wont. Now for the ATO.

That seems my life of the last few years, rushing from one imminent disaster to the next. There’s no doubt there’s been a lot of disaster going on, but fact is it could have been a whole lot worse. I’m yet to win anything, but I’ve managed to battle my way to stalemate on many different fronts. And where there’s life, there’s hope.

At my darkest I sometimes think of Job and feel some kinship to him. I did a study of him years back never knowing it might be something more than academic. If you remember Job was a decent and devout dude going about his business when the devil taps God (or Yahweh, as he’s known back in the day) on the shoulder and says, I bet I could turn Job. God being the arrogant god that he is takes the devil up on the bet, to poor old Job’s cost.

What follows is God testing Job’s faith in a series of calamities that leave him ruined and destitute. What the fuck have I done to deserve this Job wonders, quite understandably, and even asks God the same question.

If you read the Old Testament you quickly find that God is a thunderous blowhard who thinks well of himself. Who are you to question me he demands of Job, sounding very godly, though perhaps not the bearded, benign version that Sunday school teaches us. Ok, fair call, Job assents, and his torment continues until he has nothing, and for no good reason but a bet between a couple of rich dudes (sounds a bit like Trading Places without the switch).

In the end God wins his bet and collects from the devil when, despite all the unreasonable treatment of him, Job remains true to the big fella. In gratitude God slips him a fiver from his winnings with a wink – or, as they put it in the book, Job gets everything back, and a little more to.

So anyway at my self-indulgent worst I’ve felt a bit like Job as one fucking thing after another has come at me, and for no decent or fair reason. But what do you do? You can imprecate against God but that won’t help. All you can hope for is that there’s some pay-off at the end of it.

Thankfully those moments of supreme self-indulgence are rare. It is what it fucking is , and I don’t have time to pontificate (despite evidence to the contrary) or feel sorry for myself. Besides, strange as it is, there’s some aspect of the struggle that rouses something powerful in me – though, truth be known, it could be the same kind of dim-witted defiance the Black Knight displayed in the Holy Grail as he gets his limbs hacked off and is spouting blood everywhere (“it’s only a flesh wound”).

I hesitate to say this, but right for the moment, touch wood, things are once more under control. It won’t last long.

As the dust settled from the latest stoush – I got an email yesterday morning accepting my proposal – it was Frederick the Great who came to mind. I doubt there are many Gen Y out there who know of any Frederick, great or otherwise, but bear with me.

Frederick was a Prussian king who ruled around the middle of the 18th century. He was actually a very erudite man of culture, but somehow found himself at war with most of Europe. Fortunately for him he had the best army on the continent, but it was hard going as he rushed from one battlefield to the next, knocking off the Swedes, the Austrians, Russians, and the French in a feat of great military endurance, as well as skill. In the end, way against the odds, he fought them all to a standstill. Many times during the 7 years of war he was on the cusp of defeat, but each time managed to survive and take up the fight, again and again.

Sure, that’s another indulgence, but it resonates with my own martial spirit. I just hope I don’t have to endure this for 7 years.


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