Friday, June 15, 2007


I have this coffee cup -- well, I have several, but one of them has W-W-B-D on it in bold black letters. One of my students asked, the other day in class, smirking, "Does that mean What Would Buddha Do?"

"Why, yes," I said. "It does. Now sit down and shut up."

Which ain't what Buddha would do, of course.

Those of you who read this here blog might have noticed that I have tiny anger issues. As in I brood and sulk and hold grudges for, well, decades. And get so furious at people who tailgate me that I daydream about developing rear-action bazooka launchers (no, seriously: don't you think we could make MILLIONS marketing those? Or, okay, not bazookas, maybe that's harsh, but what about a device that launches, say, a bucket of semi-liquid tar in a parabola that intersected with the grill and hood of the offending vehicle? Or -- ooo! -- artificial skunk juice! Deer stank! Can we? Can we? Pleeeeze?)

Well, clearly this is not healthy.

So I've been working, Buddha-like, on a thought experiment. When someone does something that riles me, like tailgating, or cutting me off in traffic, or driving while having offensive car decoration, or in an offensive vehicle (giant bright yellow Hummers with Where Will YOU Spend Eternity? on their fucking bumpers, for instance, right next to the I Support The Troops and W-2004 and Condi 2008 stickers), or when I read some vicious ignorant patronizing comment on some blog I like, instead of getting my hate on, I breathe carefully, and I make myself picture, behind the wheel of that vehicle, or writing that comment, not, as I used to picture, some squat white-haired small-eyed rich Rethug, but someone I love.

Like: my best student.

Like: my brother.

Like: my favorite nephew.

Now granted this is difficult to do, on occasion, as my nephew would not be caught dead driving a bright yellow Hummer of any sort, much less one with a Condi 2008 bumper sticker on it, but I pretend to myself that perhaps he knows a guy who knows a guy and maybe he has borrowed it just to run out for some white wine and that is why he cut me off, it was an accident, he doesn't know how to control such a hideous vehicle very well, I need to cut him a break: wouldn't I want someone to cut me a break in that situation? Wouldn't I want the other drivers to cut my nephew a break if he were driving in such perilous need?

Or, with the blog post, I know my student means well. Why does it sound like she doesn't? What's happening here, why is it coming off so angry? Hmm, let me read again and try to understand...

At the very least, I'm having fun with the game. And it does seem like something Buddha might do.

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