I’ll be honest. I’ve been feeling pretty oorie about my upcoming birthday, but like many other kinds of dread, once it’s upon you it’s pretty OK. Also, remembering that I share my birthday with the happiest little dog on the planet helps, too.
It’s funny how we are, but I know that some of the dread is linked to the heightened awareness of how close we are to the end of the story. That leads us to wondering if we’ve done anything worth doing with our 3 score and 10. The pope coming out and saying people who opt for pets over children are “selfish” didn’t help. (Ha ha). How would he describe himself and all the other celibate priests and monks and nuns, etc.? Are they excused? How does that work?
I still don’t know and probably will never know if I did good or not. I’ve pretty much toddled along with the idea that not making things worse was the best I could do. I’m hopeful I’ve succeeded in that. Anyway, it’s a self-indulgent preoccupation, regardless how normal it is.
In book reading news, after reading a wonderful book, I picked up (ie. opened my laptop to) another eBook and found a morass of intellectual density, a textbook no kid would ever make it through, written by a retired professor of some stripe or other. My English teacher brain kept yelling at him, “Where’s your thesis statement!!!” I finished evaluating the book, losing an hour in my ever shortening life, and opened another — also by this author. Well, it turned out to be as inscrutable, dense and oblique BUT the subject interested me. I can’t judge a book on that, but I was inspired to look up a term the author had defined because I wanted to know more. Guess what? The definition offered in the textbook was word-for-word from Wikipedia. OK, the question is, “Did the author write the entry in Wikipedia or copy it?”
I breathed a deep sigh of relief because I don’t have to find the answer to that. I don’t have to do anything. The book wasn’t going to win any prizes anyway as readability and value to the audience are two important criteria.
What was the term? It doesn’t matter. My exploration led me to conclude that the word refers to something indefinable, so what’s the point? As I was thinking about it, I thought of how poor old God in Deuteronomy attempted to get the point across to Moses and couldn’t. “God, here’s the deal. Those Hebrews down there are a very skeptical lot and if you don’t give me a name for I’m not going to get anywhere with these stone tablets.”
It seems that in our need to communicate with each other we have invented language, and over time we confuse our terms for the realities toward which they inadequately gesture. OH well. It’s a poor worker who blames his/her tools. At least we have poetry.
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, and then closes
Within a dream.
Ernest Dowson, ‘Vitae Summa Brevis’.
Photo: Smiling kid, my cousin, Linda. In the high chair, me, age 1. Behind Linda, Aunt Martha, Aunt Kelly (Linda’s mom) in the middle, my mom holding a gift. It was a puzzle, I mean the gift not the entire future. 😉