Mixed Metaphors: Of Cowboys and Kings; and Tigers

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies 5
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

William Blake, “The Tiger”

A long damn time ago, there was a conversation between a girl and me. I can recall it like it  was just the other night. she was gloating that she had finally “caught” me. (Yes, there have been times I was hard to get.)

“I’ve got you, you’re mine!”

“Really? So, what’s your plan?”

“Plan? I don’t need a plan.”

“Are you sure about that? I know that if *I* were trying to catch a tiger, I’d have pretty darn good idea about what I was going to do with it. Would I let it go? Try to tame it? Or just kill it? Tigers are are unpredictable and dangerous. We don’t make good pets.”

“I’m going grab on to your ears, hold on,  and ride you for dear life.”

“Good luck with that. Please note that I didn’t compare you to a dog chasing a car….”

This conversation has been on mind lately. I have been chasing a specific tiger since 2002 and it looks like I am about to catch it. I am now questioning if I am going to be able to wrestle it into submission and tame it. It won’t be easy. I hope to hell I haven’t made a mistake.

Isn’t that the way it goes sometimes? You want something badly, work to get it, and when it comes to you…you become afraid that it is not quite what you dreamt. There is more work, more complexity, more of something needed.  In other words, you get what you want and so what comes next?

I got a small query for yooouu
What comes next?
You’ve been freed
Do you know how hard it is to lead?
You’re on your own
Do you have a clue what happens now?
Oceans rise
Empires fall
It’s much harder when it’s all your call

Lin-Manuel Miranda, “What Comes Next” from Hamilton.

So, you buckle up, and you go for it. Grab the tiger’s ears and hold on for dear life and ride him till he tires.

I’m not positive, but I *think* we are all watching someone in DC who caught a tiger, grabbed on, and then realized “What the fuck! This is not what I want.” Yep. Tigers are beautiful, powerful, and indolently dangerous. A careless swipe of the paw can drive a person to their knees, or worse. That same paw would certainly pulverize a semi-sentient Cheetoh.

I think the Cheetoh might know this.

Reminds me of another song. Sometimes, you just stumble upon someone or something that seems kind of cool. Intriguing and exciting, perhaps that takes your breath away. However, remember to breathe. Catch your breath. Think about the implications of what comes next. It’s not all skittles and beer.

‘Cause what’cha gonna do with a cowboy
When that old rooster crows at dawn
When he’s lyin’ there instead of getttin’ out of bed
And puttin’ on his boots and gettin’ gone
What you gonna do when he says honey
I’ve got half a mind to stay
What’cha gonna do with a cowboy
When he don’t saddle up and ride away

Chris LeDoux, “Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy”

Of course, that’s my advice to others. I’m just going to go all in. “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.