From Top On Down Below

Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

–Lemon Tree by Peter, Paul & Mary

Have you ever tasted a grapefruit? What about lemons or sour grapes? Your taste buds cringe while becoming ripe with repugnancy from the very first moment your tongue makes contact. What of the less than delectable taste or sour milk or even a sour orange? That unmistakeable burning sensation from the back of your throat that honey cannot lesson. Certainly, nothing beats nausea along with the gagging reflex that sends you scampering to the bathroom when you lean over the toilet to violently expel the contents of your stomach.

Imagine pulling up to a used car dealer where your eyes become transfixed on the sight of row after row of shiny cars glistening in the sunshine. Upon close inspection, not a scratch or dent is to be seen. The whitewall tires are whiter than the first snowfall of the Winter season. Immaculate! Low and behold that magnificent machine even smells like new. The sly salesman dangles the shiny silver keys in front of your bulging eyes imploring you to take the car out for a test ride. That was all that was necessary for you to sign on the dotted line agreeing to pay exorbitant interest rates for a car that retails for far less than what you are paying for it. No matter no worries after all its only money. The skimpy 30 Day Guarantee is slightly unsettling but the car was checked out by their mechanic so it’s all good.

The car won’t start so you have to have it towed back to the lot. What’s wrong with the car is not covered under the guarantee. There goes $200. Next week all the anti-freeze comes pouring out creating a sea of lime green. Once again you have the car towed. Sorry, the radiator is not covered under the guarantee. More money has to come out of your rapidly thinning wallet. The electrical system, the wiper motor, brakes, front end, and finally the motor goes. The motor was covered but since it is after 30 days you are out of luck. In the vernacular of the street your buddies in between hysterically laughing and mocking you blurt out  “you got scre— He really fuc—you! Your money has been separated from you quite legally leaving you strapped for cash but worse than that you have to endure that bitter feeling this experience has left you with. All faith in humanity, G-d, family, friends, relatives and even co-workers is exacerbated. You just want to jump into a hole curl up and die.

Your death will not absolve you from the mountain of debt you built that you are now burdening your fortuitous family with. Gone by your own hands. Killing yourself was a cowardly incredibly selfish thing to do. How are they supposed to survive financially as well as emotionally? Children who are now left with only one loving parent who is struggling to cope with the loss of her life partner. His side of the bed will remain empty for an undeterminable amount of time. A father whose warm embrace they used to run to is now gone. A life was traded for a car. Many who struggle for life or freedom begrudge your death. That left a sour taste in their mouths.

There is a story of a man who once had everything a man could want. Women, wine, riches, royal castles, the finest steeds, meals cooked by some of the best chefs in the world.  Clothes handwoven by the finest craftsman. He lacked for nothing as nothing was something, in reality, all he had. One day as if by a wave of G-d’s hand it was all washed away to be swallowed up by the ocean whose mouth was wide open in anticipation for what it can turn this matter into. Left with no place to sleep or food to eat with only his shredded soiled garments on his back to his name. He lay down to slumber under a lone shady dream. When he awoke it was then he discovered all of his clothes were ripped from his back.  He lay there naked to the world. Not a leaf would fall to cover his distorted body or a shroud of dignity to hold.

This once all worldly man who others enviously looked at was now walking excrement that was blanketed in his own urine. Nobody recognized him or who he was once was. There was not a lower place he could go in life. He was left to grovel in the dirt to lap up any bug that passed near him. He was parched for water but the clear liquid was nowhere in sight. All at once he rose up and started joyously singing and dancing. All the villagers were aghast in horror at the form of this sub-human looking gut-wrenching smelling thing. Why on earth is this thing joyous? He must have lost his mind if there was any mind left to lose they unanimously deducted. There was such joy and revelry in every gyration he made no matter how vulgar they appeared to be. His eyes had not seen with this clarity going back to the days where at the snap of finger his every want was instantaneously put before him. At his highest point, there was nowhere to go but down.  Unbeknownst and undetected by him the spinning spokes of life were taking him on a downward spiral.

How can misery bring joy to a beaten downtrodden man? Having nothing left to lose he knew his day would soon come again. But would it? How will it come to be? How would he be willing to peddle against the gusty wind until you can get to the top of that most steepest of hills? Sometimes we can conceptualize how the treadmill had us going nowhere as going nowhere was getting harder to get to. No shortage of landmines will await him as sets foot on a new trip. Will he share a few sips of water from his bucket carrying raindrops? In other words, if we fall into darkest blacknesses of a starless night with the moon’s face well hidden it is the hopelessness of shattered dreams or broken lives of those we deprived of decency that put us there.

The gold you have today is the dust you will have tomorrow. In the end, it is dust you shall once again become. While you stand in place the earth rotates on its axis. Where you are now is not where you were or likely to be for long. A wise man looks down no lower than his shoetops for he knows in an instant he can be crushed under his own foot. A sour fruit can leave the sweetest taste if you take it for the gift that it was.

And you climbed the twilight mountains. And you sang about the view. And everywhere you wandered love seemed to go with you. That’s a hard one to remember. Yes, it makes you clench your fist. That’s right, it’s come to this. Yes, it’s come to this. And wasn’t it a long way down? Wasn’t it a strange way down?

–Dress Rehearsal Rag by Leonard Cohen


Joel Elveson
Joel Elveson
INDEPENDENT Executive Recruiting By Joel is an "up and coming" Executive Search Firm formed and headed up by Joel Elveson whose visionary ideas, leadership & creativity have brought to life a more "user-friendly" approach to recruiting. His clients and candidates form powerful strategic partnerships that we use to help you. Joel’s Firm offers Permanent, Temporary (case by case), & Temporary To Permanent staffing solutions for all of your Human Capital Requirements. Contract IT/Consultants are available if needed. Above and beyond they are experts (by way of their personal industry work experience) with mortgage, mortgage banking, middle-market banking, accounting, along with many others under the vast financial spectrum of disciplines. Their business goes beyond candidate recruiting as they also train, mentor and develop your internal recruiting staff with an eye towards helping you reduce the cost of hiring. They will also work in areas such as compensation, effective onboarding processes and alike. In other words, their business is to help your business by becoming an extension of you by filling in gaps that cause delay or waste. The recruiting methods employed by Joel’s team are time tested that results in a high rate of successful placements. Joel was trained in the art of recruiting by some of the top staffing industry executives in addition to the best recruiter trainers who to this day drive me to exceed the lofty goals he has set forth.

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    • Jane, thank you for reading my articles as without people like you there would be no reason to write . Thank you also for your very kind comments.

    • Thank you, Lynn for your always comments in addition to the time you take to read my articles.

  1. Very interesting Joel. In life I’ve discovered that some things like hot sauce or agave can overpower if consumed by themselves however combining the hot with the sweet as well as the salty produces tastes that the body craves. It pulls the most offensive into and marries them into a desired marinade. Remember that sodium and chloride when consumed separately is deadly however when combined creates SALT!

    • Let me first thank you for reading my article along with taking time to provide your very astute comments. From the mind of a great poet whom I admire very much these words mean a lot.

    • Thank you, Larry, for your always kind comments. Aside from the most basics needs in life, there is not much else that I want. Between my wife and Juice the cat I am extremely wealthy. I cannot respond to your e-mails. Each time I try they come right back to me with a message that the e-mail was undeliverable. I also noticed we are no longer connected on LinkedIn which I have no clue how that happened. I will send you a new connection request. Please let me know what is happening with the e-mails. Be well, my friend!