“Yet here’s a spot… Out damned spot! Out, I say!”
-Lady Macbeth (Macbeth* 5.1.30-34)
Setting: Beaches Restaurant Int. Bar. A table is in the far corner near the exit, three chairs are around it. Half empty glasses and plates of food stuff lay on the table. A half eaten plate of nachos is in the center of the table, a mound pf Jalapenos lay to the side of the nachos, clearly picked out of them. CATHY, AMANDA, and CHRIS sit around the table. Int. Lights are dimmed, amniotic restaurant/bar noise fills the air.
CHRIS: (Picks up jalapeno piece) I dare you to eat one.
CATHY: I will give you a dollar if you eat the whole pile.
AMANDA: What is it about our family and ridiculously arbitrary bets.
(AMANDA gets up to use the restroom)
CHRIS: (Holding the jalapeno between his index finger and thumb to look at CATHY through the center) Come on! If you eat one, I’ll eat one.
CHRIS: Fine, forget it. (Tosses jalapeno back on plate.)
CHRIS: She’s been gone a long time.
(CHRIS slumps his head down on his hand in boredom.)
CATHY: WAIT DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYE!
(Too late. CHRIS’ right eye begins to burn and water, turning bright red. As this happens AMANDA returns and sits at the table.)
AMANDA: (Noticing CHRIS.) He touched his eye didn’t he?
(A “Beat” indicates a pause)
It’s true, I did that. I’ve done it before, and I will most likely do it again. The worst part is, I wear prescription contacts and the residue from peppers, from my experience, often gets trapped within the contact. Why would I do such a carelessly stupid thing? Well, I just simply forgot I touched the pepper, and there was no evidence (that I could see) that any of the spice still lingered on my fingers.
But it did.
Above I included a quote from one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, Macbeth, where Lady Macbeth sleep walks late at night and reveals the deep and dark pain she is feeling for her role in the murder of Duncan. In this one moment we see her become vulnerable and fearful, literally becoming undone and driven to madness by her guilt. Interestingly, there are no spots (or blood, which she is referring to) on her hands, and yet she scrubs them violently and ferociously anyway. No, there was no actual blood on her hands, just the invisible “residue”, the guilt.
Just because there was no clear indication that my hands had Jalapeno juices on them, didn’t change the fact that there actually were.
I think this speaks volumes about the nature and consequences of the actions we make.
For you science-y types just think of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal opposite reaction.
Maybe we can’t see or tell what the immediate or eventual outcome of our actions will be, but there WILL be an outcome. Try all you want to gently drop a pebble in water, there will always be ripples.
Or perhaps not, I am after all writing this under the influence of high volumes of caffeine at Starbucks.
Whatever the case, always remember, residue is often hard to see.
*Or Macbee or Maccers for you superstitious and theatrical types.