Compensating Leaders

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We worship our leaders forgiving their failures as our own. That’s their currency, and together with visions to fill galleries emptied by previous pretenders’ dreams, this is how they pay us; it colors their command to be the change, conceals their smug satisfaction so well we miss the tell. Observe your own future resume, if you will, taking account of your near-sighted vision with a nod to burned out legacies, their vacuum-pack long since filled, and re-filled again before acceding back to the dust of a past. What organization lives to tell of change? Not even one. What passes is past. It’s called transformation, a phenomenon that chokes as it must.

Kodachrome might be an analog, so might the first arrogant utterance over a cellular phone, and vacuum tubes too, and of course the buggy whip people could share pictures led to naught. Made up stories of leaders soothe us with hope? Some rely on fear to have us accept their bid? Other burn the ships that sailed us to the dance to prove as fact we cannot go back? Some oil us with charm, politely pretending to care? Others trust our learned complacence to take the bit from their hand?

Call these leadership acumens and take the test, convince the void you are worthy to take others where they can not go. That’s the way it works if you are somehow wanting, lacking what it takes to make your own bank. Pick a pawn, make any move. Try charisma, someone to make you stronger than your heart. Or choose an expert with a dream makes you smarter than you are. Fall for one or choose both and take their cleavage for a ride. Surrender the day to these demons, and tomorrow too, they will let you know when they are through. And then you can tell your shattered family if they, and you, wish to look back.

Seeing the future from this vantage point, the past comes focused into view with headstones marking the dead, their payrolls long since spent. There was the smart one, so he told us, recording secretly the lies he told to make us his prey; some would lean in with breath to turn your head; another shaved his eyebrows off to give his wife a thrill; some claimed castles in the sky to a board packed chock full of sycophants paid in advance to ignore; the whining disco boy cannot be forgot, his skin-tight pants and  pointy goatee dyed to fish for boys his mother would like; best of all was the regale of the siren’s torch lit by her old jinx with a cackle breaking wind announcing yet another paean to the wonders of the wonder bra.

Call it what it is, or maybe isn’t, these vacant incompetents; telling tales of fraud, or spinning yarns to keep the dead air warm, faking chants of mantras making darkness of light, poaching their eggs, the whites but not the yoke, imagine that and ideation too, with lie after lie to cover the checks. Honesty has no truck with that. These explanations, each a hint, a sign of things to come when their legacies have cracked and hatched, delivered by their DNA stillborn. Leadership promises life yet is cursed to obsess a flame betrothed to death.  Hope somehow survives in the coals of their brood, where weakness can thrive and revive, and pretend not to know.

This emptiness, a void, our destiny to fill, though no one has offered any good reason. We breathe the air, drink the water, take our nourish for granted from the manifold blessings each day. In time we learn and love, pursuing pleasures and delight like creatures meant to live. Still soon enough, it’s assured beyond our capacity, no chance to ignore, we are taken in by tales, and fear and make-believe, these empty vessels of our want. We drop our guard and follow, blinded by our lack of will.

So easily enthralled are we, even empty words without deeds are somehow bewitched by our dizzy zeal to be found worthy, so we make these deals with the devils of our habits’ desire. We make a list and guilt it with scripted interviews and beauty contests designed to show us the mirror. Shining back brightly, the specter of our fright gifts us false security filled with fantasy mesmerized by the inclination to adore. So much so we cannot see our worship comes at a price.

Worth every penny, conjuring up dismal images of infinity, the weight of all the coin in the world hardly explains our fealty to kings and queens of various stations to whom we surrender our sovereign right by god without prayer. This is who we are and why we compensate. Even with the gifts of god’s creation we must yield to those we anoint to enslave us as master.

Something must be missing and yes something is missing. What is it makes us give up our blessings in exchange for toil in vain? Leaders toy with the fear we cannot do it alone, fooling us their savvy is worth the cost no matter, predicting doom for us if not for them. Even pretending they could do it themselves, without us, leaving us to wonder how much is it we owe? Together their claims distract from the meat of the nut, the very germ infecting all life. For what is missing has a name, yes a name known since ancient times. Hale, hale compensation. How you magically transform us to forswear whatever it is might be missing, is truly one of life’s puzzles.



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