THE ADAPTIVE RACE
I found it very hard sometimes,
When living out there in those sheds,
Or sleeping on park benches,
Or in the seats of trucks as they rolled along.
Standing out in the rain, thumb in the air,
Or in the desert sun,
being harassed by flies.
Out there on the road,
I found it very hard,
Not to just give up.
Give up the traveling,
Give up the writing,
Hell, even give up the living.
It all just seemed so goddamn hard at times.
But it really wasn’t.
It really wasn’t that hard at all.
An ex con picked me up outside of Perth.
He snorted a little rock as we drove along,
And told me about robbing banks, shooting cops,
and the many horrors of Fremantle Prison.
“jesus,” I said. “that sounds like hell.”
“it was hell. but man is highly adaptive, see?
being caged in a cell,
shitting in a tin can,
being herded into a tiny courtyard
to pass the days with fifty other guys
in steady 130 degree heat...”
“see, you hear about something,
and you think you could never handle it,
but then it happens to you
and you do handle it. you get used to it.”
I gave it some thought.
The man had a point.
And that’s how it went with cons and free men alike.
People got used to their cells,
Just like they got used to their day jobs,
Their fifty weeks of work
For their two weeks of vacation.
They got used to their wealth,
And then when it went away,
They got used to their poverty.
They got used to their comfortable lives,
Their kids and their cats and dogs,
Making the money and then paying the bills.
Everything coming and going.
Then they died and got used to death.
Me, I just got used to change.