活着的滋味 The Flavor of Living
The Flavor of Living
The first one says: life is such a drag… a round of self justifying explanations, a ceaseless tiptoeing around, of living for the sake of other people, as somebody’s son, somebody’s husband, somebody’s father, somebody’s colleague, somebody’s buddy, somebody’s underdog, somebody’s boss. You’re always on the watch for somebody else’s change of mood, always trying to please, careful not to step on toes, chanting other people’s slogans, laughing and crying on cue…I’m tired, oh so tired.
The second one chimes in: I’m sick of it all. I’ve loved, I’ve hated, I’ve cried and I’ve laughed, I’ve enjoyed myself and I’ve suffered. What’s gold and silver? Mere dross. What’s position and privilege? Passing clouds that come and go. Dining off crispy chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or Daokou braised chicken, what’s the difference? The Great Wall Hotel, the Kunlun Hotel, the Jianguo Holiday Inn, they just repeat each other. Playing billiards, golf or bowling, isn’t it just pushing balls around? So much for the game of life. It’s time to call a stop. I’ve had enough. You guys go on playing, but count me out.
A third protests: how can you treat life like that! How can you say you’re tired, that you’re sick of life! Nowadays in such a time of change, where’s your sense of social commitment? Do you mean to say that one lives for self alone? Have you thought of the price our country has paid to be where it is today? Comrades, each and everyone of us is responsible for the Strengthening of China. The burden of Opening-Up and Reform is on our shoulders, yours and mine and his. We must fulfill our duty to the country, and to the next generation. Anything less is criminal negligence. Pick yourself up! March onward!
The fourth steps in: now by what right do you lecture us? Of course your life is a piece of cake, living in government villas, riding in official cars, banqueting at government expense, making weekly TV appearances and taking monthly trips abroad. Of course you preach social commitment. But you yourself, what social commitments are you making?
The fifth expostulates: why get all worked up? An official’s life is not a bed of roses! Steering through official waters, placating right and left, attending to the high and the low. It’s no joke, I’m telling you! Get rid of one thorny problem and another crops up. It’s not any diamond that can work on such delicate china. Don’t pick on officials, don’t snort at their preachings. They have their problems too. Take, for instance, this “social commitment” business, now who is going to preach it if not their sort?
The sixth one said: well, well, why don’t you all drop the subject. It takes all kinds to make a world. How can you expect everybody to be the same? There are those who don’t parade theirs sense of social responsibility, yet it doesn’t follow that they are totally devoid of the civic virtues, though some of them might indeed be totally devoid. And then there are those who spew all that cant about social commitment, but it doesn’t follow that they are paragons of civic virtues, though you can’t rule out that there may be some among their number who are indeed public-minded.
The seventh one sums it all up: let’s not worry our head over it. When everything’s said and done, we all must live. To live, we’ve to eat. Eating is consumption, and consumption stimulates production, not to mention the fact that eating and drinking also stimulates shitting an pissing, and shitting and pissing is accumulating fertilizers for the society at large. Come on, let’s go and have a drink on it.
The eighth was going to say…