The 6:00 P.M. Peace


“Dr. Olson, How Can I Spot Your Trail Marker In This?” 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 16″

A.m. early morning woods walk with a friend. Unfortunately for him, he has hair, and the ticks leaped for it. He picked two off his scalp before noon. I secretly hoped to find one in a similar spot, but ticks are more sophisticated these days. They expect better quality for their risk investment. Not only are there fewer places to hide on my head than the day before, but ticks can sense a cynic. Always scratching his head. “Why? Why do it that way? Or any way for that matter?” Too much poking around on an already very thin area of follicle flora, and chance for engorgement is slim. Ticks know this. I am passed by for better coverage.

The woods were quiet. The world outside was getting busy. I think philosophers, as a job requirement, must spend a lot of thought-time seeking a path to contentment. All paths expect a destination, but few want to track one journey and end it there, living by its demands day in and day out unto death. Human life is never a market strategy, yet is often planned this way—as if the supreme judge is some stuffy bank president marking your application for the small business loan. On the last uphill climb of our walk my friend talked about a friend of his who, after being poor most of his life, has reached a point of economic security. Yet now he is persuading himself to go into another business for only he knows what reasons. Just then the idea of the 6:00 p.m. peace popped in my mind. If you are at a point in life where enough money can be made, and no matter if you lose or win a little bit, a box of shredded wheat and rent is achievable, then count every success (both short and long-term) at the 6:00 p.m. marker (2nd and 3rd shift humanity can move the time to fit the individual situation). For instance, one wakes every day doing what is absolutely necessary to get to the after-dinner hour with total serenity. Food is digesting. Children are loved. Tomorrow is a long time. No worries to carry over to the morning. The appointment to have your teeth removed on Monday can always be canceled before 6:00 p.m. if you cannot stop thinking of your teeth ripped out. The meeting at the institution needs assets you don’t have because your daughter had a parasite in her stomach early this morning… Then it is time to cancel any employment that demanded you give up your peace at 6:00 p.m. Union organizing didn’t realize it a hundred years ago, but all it desired was the path toward the six o’clock in the evening wellness. Today, if poor people stopped trying to be poor people with smartphones, KFC counter work could very happily reward them with the 6:00 p.m. peace.

Success is subjective. To me failure is always an easy mark. Call anyone up a minute after 6:00 p.m. Oh, he answered? Ah-ha, you’re both failures! But that’s okay. See what you can do with tomorrow. It is such a very long time away.


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