The fall of Barnaby Joyce has taught me something. At no point, should you ever get what you think you want.
Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.
The above words are attributed to Paul Kelly, but their meaning can easily be transposed to the current juncture we really can’t/won’t stop blathering about. Yes, Barnaby Joyce. But Barn is merely the conduit of a larger issue: Do we really want what we want?
I say no.
Using Barnaby as a rule, he did what few of us accomplish. He wanted something, and got it, even though he really shouldn’t have. Barnaby exhibited the final sum of the above equation. Gaining his mistress lost him his wife, the remainder of his credibility and even his BFF in politics. Even if he manages to hold on to his job, the megawatt glare of public exposure will forever sizzle the back of his neck, flaming both his home and work life, as the treatment suffered by both women, browbeaten by the bold headline font will assure that this new love of his will never be perfect, while the old one will forever remain toxic. You put us all through that, Barnaby.
He is, as Gomer Pyle once said, in a world of doggy doo-doo.
Happy now, Barnaby? Probably not.
Noted uber-philosopher Slavoj Žižek has a hot take on this social condition, as he believes that we don’t need happiness at all, and only losers follow through with their impulses.
“Happiness was never important. The problem is that we don’t know what we really want. What makes us happy is not to get what we want. But to dream about it.”
Which, to be honest, is the reason why I’m still writing my book seven years after starting it (I’m still on page 67), because I like the idea of being a writer, but I’m not entirely ready for the world that happens beyond that last page. Perhaps things won’t be as good as I assumed. Maybe I won’t be lauded as a genius after I’m dead as I always hoped. Maybe I’m actually shit. However, forever choosing this stasis I’m afforded a wonderful dream I can live every day. All I need is a goal to chase, while making no effort whatsoever in attaining it.
But I’m nowhere near unique. We all possess that gaudy one day plan where we ditch our dour ho-hummery and flee to Havana to rent jet skis to drunk gringos. It sounds wonderful on morning trains, and it gets us through the work day, but the realities halt our progress, because we really don’t want to do it. I mean, who wants to engage in the rigamarole of learning Spanish, getting your visa stamped by the Cuban Ministry of the Interior, and/or running a small business/picking up basic jet ski repair. It just seems like work.
In the final analysis, we should probably view Barnaby as a cautionary tale and nothing more. Like a thrusting Icarus, he frictioned his way toward the sun of possibilities that eventually burned him, sending him tumbling down to earth, as all that left is endless ignominy and a baby on the way.
Perhaps the whole thing is best summed by Sheriff Buford T. Justice: