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Michael Benedikt

The Adventures of Resentment

Resentment, you remember reading somewhere once, spreads like a stain. But somehow today it feels more like a point of light in the brain—a dot at the far end of a long dark tunnel which turns into a train with its bright front headlight glaring and streaking toward you at top speed. It pulls up at some picturesque little station in your brain and you get on. The train pulls out of the station, the station recedes into the distance & you ride for 10,000 miles. Soon you become the world’s most celebrated modern traveler—the Jules Verne of resentment, resentment’s Tienzing, resentment’s Admiral Byrd, Richard Halliburton & John Glenn combined. Crowds gather at crossings to see you passing by—men cheer, women weep, & laughing children throw flowers in your direction. Endless rounds of applause, stompings of feet in unison, loud wild chantings of your name, even vast multitudes of hats thrown into the air with abandon! Chugging along, sitting in the window of your railway car, ignoring everybody or else sticking your tongue out & making faces & giving everybody The Finger, soon you become almost as popular as Lincoln’s Coffin! Finally, contracts with fine print arrive; also gifts & grants, offers to appear on local cable TV & even prizes from Cracker-Jack boxes. You even begin to question the necessity for further adventures. That’s exactly when, for some strange reason, somewhere in the back of your mind like a flashbulb suddenly flashing on & then fading, you see a point of light beginning to pull slowly away back down the track. The train disappears into thin air & you find yourself standing in some stupefying station in Idaho with all the home folks, eyes glazed & with a blank look on your face—loving everything and finally cleansed of resentment.

(1976 & 2006)

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