Tale Told to a Soul Saver TraineebyTournado©
I'm at the Celestial Energy Bar awaiting my trainee. I need a tall Liquid Sunshine before I tell the newbie the introductory tale. We Soul Saver (SS) Training Troopers (TT) own up to some professional failure at the first meeting with a new recruit. At induction, they hear all the good news—the personal satisfaction, the benefits, the camaraderie, the flexibility, the immortality. Before boot camp, the newbie hears a story of a failure. This is how we explain the numbers. Because humans have free will, they can thwart our efforts to right their wrong turns, and we must accept a 35% success rate, at best. Today, I tell of a fresh failure, still sore as hell.
My charge was a 51 year old woman who was losing her life path. What's her human name? Sarafine or Angela—something or other religious. I don't pay much attention to names, because a human is easier to recognize by the aura, which never deceives. This one had been part of my case load since she was a teenager. Her childhood protector, a sibling, had been killed. After the heinous murder, she needed special care, because the coverage that had been set up for her in "The Big Picture" had been disrupted.
Once I got on the case, it didn't look like this life was going to be too rough. True, she was a precocious brat in the hippie protest era, and I had to carry her through high school while she cut class and got stoned, but she walked through college on her own. She was smart. I thought my job was over once she got that bachelor's degree. I'm not supposed to be a lifer on any one assignment. In grad school, she stumbled a little, but no biggie. Everybody's not cut out for the academic life, and she had the brains to make it on her merits and not have to wrap herself in sheepskins.
She didn't have much luck with men. The love of her life was unrequited. She was sexually humiliated once by a kid who thought it was ok to bring his friends along to watch. And, of course, there was that one lover that every woman seems to have who turns out gay. Then she met Paul. He was nice looking and intelligent, but a depressive under-achiever who encumbered her spirit. He was almost a saint, though, compared to the men with whom she would become enmeshed. She married Paul before she was 30, and her life seemed to be manageable.
The warning signals from her tracking device began to come on louder and more often when she was about 35. The signals were faint, and, like other humans, she was always setting herself off with simple negative thinking. It was part of entering middle age, so I let her be. But, I thought it best to set a reminder to check her status on her 40th birthday.
When 40 came, I found that my girl had 2 kids! She had had none on her 35th birthday. She wasn't that maternal. At first, I thought she was doing great for an elderly primapara. Two kids would usually have kept those alarms jangling 24/7. The alarm system was not making so fierce a racket around the life room at HQ because she was ignoring the kids, and, for that matter, Paul and the home, too.
"What the hell is she doing?" I wondered.
I scrolled through her whole file, and it turned out she was working super hard on her career. That much must be conceded. And she was really the bread winner in the family. The husband was an emotional vacuum to her. However positive she tried to be, he was unwilling or unable to buoy himself up. He inhaled her love, encouragement, humor—everything!—and always looked at her with starving eyes. Naturally, that is also the essence of small children. They suck the marrow from parents' bones. Still, this was par for the course, and women come with the standard equipment to survive this kind of thing. I wondered why she wanted kids at her advanced age when the exertion of washing a dish or taking out a bag of trash was a challenge to her.
Some of us discussed what to do about her, and it was decided, based on the CEO's policy and on her demonstrated ability to pull it together after a time, that this kid had to go it alone for a while. We saw that her friends were loyal and indulgent, and Paul was faithful and loved the kids. There was one glitch coming for my girl, and it was her health. She was going to have a chronic illness resurfacing after she turned 45, so we kept her case in the pending file and turned up the volume on her alarms so as not to miss any important developments.
Then came her 50th birthday. When I logged on and brought up her file, the Internet was all over her life! What was up? When the 21st century arrived, and the Y2K "threat" fizzled, everybody with a few hundred bucks to rub together was online. No problem. Every generation had some silliness going on—bathtub gin, hallucinogenic drugs, pyramid schemes—why not hers? This was off the charts, though. She had lost her job, and she was bedded down most of the days on a saggy old mattress using her health problem as a reason to atrophy mentally and physically. I had known that this chronic illness was going to be bad, and it was, but this was not really about illness of the body. It was mental and spiritual illness.
Scanning her house was horrifying. What a disaster! The filth! It was a downright health hazard, no kidding! We're not talking clutter that makes it hard to keep organized. I mean grunge, leaks, stink, mildew, spoiled food, and pet waste. My mind raced to discover if I had been at fault here. How did everything get so out of control? I had underestimated this fad, the Internet. This was like putting nuclear defense systems into the hands of 7th grade boys, 30-ish women with PMS, and 45 year-old balding men. This catastrophe was an unguided missile launched from the Net.
Her kids were suffering, and she did not realize it was happening. Or at least, she was not willing to move her ass off that bed to stop it. Her husband was still something of a wooden plank, but he was starting to look like Benjamin Spock compared to her.
Just like drugs, gambling, and everything else intoxicating, the Internet was potentially dangerous in its power over souls in pain. My girl had been seduced online by her huge need for approval. She found herself a little den of egomania online in a writers' forum, and she was using her impressive repertoire of manipulations to get her payoff. Her mediocrity as a writer would have been apparent to anyone who wrote for a living, but the hobbyists online mistook her somewhat respectable education for a force majeure. They flattered and fawned over her. True, she could out-write a lot of them on her worst day, but some of them couldn't write at all. Then there were those kindly folks who humored her and kept a sense of proportion. After all, they thought, "We all know that if we were professional authors, we wouldn't be here in this circle jerk. Why hurt anybody's feelings?"
Ah, and then there were the human raptors who fronted for the wickedest evil and the darkest masters. Their eyes were always peeled, and they had seen her. She was a wounded one, and that means tender meat to a predatory bird. They had not set their plans into action yet, but it was coming. I had to get a plan, too. After 9/11/01, our staff was spread thin. The terrorism and the war kept everyone on double and triple caseloads. The Executive branch of the US government took up many of our staff members all the time. It was goofier over there than it was on the Internet! There were only so many SS troops. We were tired and punchy. Alarms were going off all over HQ due to increased anxiety on a global scale. Sadness dragged souls down, and some were swept under and swirled down the drain. In emergency scenarios for short term goals, we were somewhat able to utilize humans to work our plans. Of course, our human "helpers" never knew that we operated through them. I checked out who we could use for the girl of mine who was slipping out of her mind and being targetted by the hungry predators.
Pickings were slim. She was remarkably self-centered, a fact she never suspected. Her majesty took everyone's largesse as if she had a birthright to it. She was the type who accepted invitations to spent holidays at the homes of friends, but never invited back. Always keenly aware of her own pain and angst, she never empathized with that of others. It was natural for her to refuse a request. "No." came so easily to her. Her ego was big enough to convince her that everyone she knew was transfigured by the glow coming off of her halo. She was clever, funny and entertaining, to be sure, but as years went by, her self absorption eclipsed those attributes, so that when she withdrew from her real life friends, they let her go. Many broken and starved friendships marked her wake.
The adoration she received in cyber-space convinced her that she was ready to accept beatification. I researched how this cyber-shit was impacting other people, because she was way too smart to actually believe that these strangers—e-friends and e-mates and e-partners—really loved her. But, people need so little to feed their fantasies! On the net, they got even less than they did back in letter writing days. Relationships online consisted mostly of a few hastily misspelled words and a little vocabulary of emoticons to tell readers what they were supposed to feel about the words. What percent of communications skills were at work on the Net? Five. Maybe. Eighty five percent of communications information is lost on phone calls. Take away the voice, and there goes another 5%. Restrict even the range of verbal integers, and little is left. "Luv u J "Miss u L" "Fuk u!"
So, my girl turns 50 (which is only 30-something in cyberspace) and stars on the Net as some kind of Emily Bronte wannabe. The character she's invented and played is a widely read, enormously diverse, fair minded, even tempered, much published, big hearted, and NICE person.
Meanwhile, the filth at home accrued drawing interest in the form of bugs and mice, and her children suffered neglect, anxiety and shame. On the Internet, the birds of prey formed a pack. We SS troops influenced one friend to get back in there and try to reach her. My girl rebuffed her old friend who had been loyal and reliable for decades. She preferred her "real" internet friends to the people who had grown up with her. She even suggested that the people she knew most of her life were plotting to destroy her. She posted a short story about the friend whom we were inspiring. It was a cruel little rant against someone who never did her any harm. It was written from her nasty bed in her filthy house where her kids reclined on piles of trash to watch tv. The fan club applauded her.
A love affair grew, fertilized by the horseshit everyone was spreading. The internet forum buzzed with the romance of these two winged creatures in love. Nobody seemed to see the contrast of her wings and his. Nobody noticed that this communal cluster fuck was a mob mentality monstrosity.
On the homefront, the husband was still wooden, but he was looking relatively apple-cheeked compared to her cold blue computer screen pallor, and he seemed to have become a relatively warm and doting as a father compared to her tout froid visage and disgusting denial of obligation to the two lives she allowed herself to create.
My girl knew something was terribly wrong, but she blamed the husband and the kids and the old circle of friends. No, it could not be her and her new friends. They loved her! They knew her heart. After all, they, too, were artists! Her orbit decayed. She sought advice from people who did not even know her. I looked into the minds of her online buddies, and the innocents among them thought she was a well-heeled professional woman of substance with a natural flair for fashion and whose youthful face didn't even need make up. They saw her sipping herbal tea from a mug with a witty saying on it as the sun streamed in on her, further illuminating her bright thoughts. She lied to them, and they advised her based on these lies and on their own. People had no clue that their idol was writing her glittering literary gems from a home where the rats gagged.
The time for intervention was fast being lost. She was going to leave her children in the rats' nest and go off with her predatory lover. They had shared fantasies and emoticons. What more could a person need? We moved a different friend to step in near the end. He sent some offerings onto the website in the guise of a fellow writer hoping to get her attention. No go. We convinced yet another friend to take her in hand and give her some straight talk. A few inklings got through, but the "Netters" came on strong with the suggestion that she go to her internet lover and "get it out of her system." Like this was some sort of snack craving. Like she could have a "do over" later. Like her children could ever forgive her. She smashed the pedestal on which she stood as "Mommy" for all time when she took the arrogant and ignorant advice of some know-nothing who didn't have the sense to say, "Get some help. Don't buy this hype. You'll regret it forever." I was angry with my charge, but what about these strangers who didn't have the grounding in reality to realize that they were changing the lives of a whole family they had never met?
Her case went to the top. The General Overseeing Director absorbed the case and decreed, "These people named themselves 'wicked'and 'dark.' They said they were predators. She chose them freely. She surrendered to them."
She left her husband and kids and got on that plane, her fate sealed. Those who seek salvation in fantasy land will pay a dear price. My girl's protector had done the same thing decades back. Against all advice, the one who was born to be my girl's champion left her life to find a new one out in the jungle. My girl had begged her protector not to go as now there were those who beseeched her in the same manner. Why didn't she remember the outcome?
As for me, failure hurts.
"Make that a double, barkeep!" Ah, here comes my trainee...