“If you use our real names in your blog, then I’ll . . . ”
The speaker was Adam. That’s not his real name. Adam is married to Eve. That’s not her real name. I have known Adam and Eve since they were kicked out of The Garden.
Adam and Eve have often invited me to their place for dinner. I have avoided going because I get into my hermit mode and do not socialize. So it’s nothing against Adam and Eve when I turn down their dinner invitations.
This past Wednesday I had a business appointment with Adam. Adam offered to drive me back to the library after our appointment, but needed to stop briefly by his house on the way.
“Would you like to come in and say hello to Eve?” asked Adam when we stopped at his house.
“Sure,” I said.
I had no plans to stay, but once inside Adam and Eve and I started talking. What a wonderful conversation! It lasted through dinner and afterward. We talked about life, death, God and religion. What else would you talk about around Adam and Eve? I would have missed this delightful evening if Adam did not have to stop at his home.
Adam and Eve are kind and generous. All who know them are blessed. Even God regrets kicking them out of The Garden. I am grateful for their friendship.
Allow me my melancholy.
Don’t stop me when I cry because those who were once close to me
are now only in my thoughts.
Allow me to lament over the unfairness of it all.
How hard to accept that the race is not always won by the swift.
Allow me to feel sorry for myself because things are not going my way.
No judgment. No advice. No suggestions.
Let me experience depression to no end, and wallow in my gloom.
Please allow me, for as long as it takes, to forget
just how wonderful life really is.
I’m glad that I don’t know everything. How dull life would be if I did. No wonder. No curiosity. No joy in discovering new things.
I agree with people who call me ignorant. You should see their expressions when I say, “Yes, I’m ignorant.” My words puzzle them. They do not realize that the more I learn, the more I discover how much I don’t know. The more I discover how much I don’t know, the more I see how ignorant I am. The more I see how ignorant I am, the more I see how much there is to know. And since knowledge is infinite, I can spend forever having fun trying to learn everything.
I’m grateful for my ignorance. It makes my life such an adventure.
Let’s call her Brenda. Brenda is not her real name, but she is real. Brenda already knew that she, and her husband, were having a boy. Let’s call the boy Logan.
Brenda’s due date was Thursday September 22, but Brenda thought that Logan would come early because his brother came two weeks early five years ago. Logan’s brother gave Brenda a hard labor.
At a family gathering on Saturday September 17, I put my hands on Brenda’s belly and said, “Logan, wait until Thursday September 22 before you come out. And when you come, be easy on your mommy. Also, don’t come too early in the morning.”
Brenda said, “Oh no, I think that he is still going to come earlier than Thursday.”
My sister shouted at Brenda’s belly, “Logan, come out on Monday September 19, my birthday!”
Logan listened to me! He went from Spirit to flesh on Thursday September 22. I told him to go easy on his mother, and his birth was quick. I told him to come out at a decent hour, and he was born at 11:33 a.m. He weighed 7.95 lbs.
How refreshing Logan’s birth is! These past weeks I have reflected on my father’s death, and attended several funerals. Logan’s birth is a wonderful reminder of how life goes on.
. . . But I happened to be in the area and thought I would stop by. Are you interested in what I am thinking? If not, then I won’t mind you clicking your mouse to make me disappear.
Life. I think about life. I no longer wonder about its meaning. I am content, most times, just to live it wherever it goes. I say “most times” because sometimes life takes me to puzzling places where I ask, “What the hell is this all about? What does it mean? Why am I here?”
Often I never get answers, but whether I do or don’t, life goes on.
Laughter. I love to laugh. I take laughter seriously. Some people do not understand how I can find laughter in everything. I don’t necessarily do it out loud out of respect for decorum. Thank God for the freedom inside my head!
Nothing is sacred. I may not laugh at all jokes, but the joke’s subject does not determine whether I laugh. Either something is funny to me, or it isn’t.
Laughter helps me to cope when life leads me to its puzzling places. Laughter once stopped me from committing suicide because it made me aware that I could get hurt and die.
Death. I think about death, but not as much as I used to. I used to be afraid of death, but not now. I would never do anything to invite death. When it comes, it comes. I just hope that death doesn’t come when I am about to eat. I want to start the afterlife with a full stomach since it may take me awhile to find a McDonald’s or a grocery store.
What’s that you ask? What about love? I did not mention love specifically because it comes under life’ puzzling places.
Time for me to let you get back to whatever you were doing before I interrupted. Thanks for listening. Cheers!
“You’re up and down like a goddamn toilet seat!”
Those were my father’s words. He was giving me a psychological assessment when I was a child. The word bipolar was not in his vocabulary. I would be enthusiastic about something and then suddenly lose my enthusiasm. He did his best to keep up with me. He would share my enthusiasm for something, and then be confused when I suddenly no longer felt enthusiastic.
I have never been diagnosed as bipolar, but I know I am capricious, mercurial, temperamental, unpredictable, etc. To paraphrase my good friend Ralphie Emerson: I speak strongly what thinks, and I will speak strongly what tomorrow thinks even though it contradicts today’s words. I have avoided relationships because I love coming and going when I please, and I don’t want to worry about how my capriciousness affects my partner.
Why am you telling you this? Yesterday morning a mood struck me like lightning, and it is still with me. I started thinking about my nomadic existence and my lack of money. Just as I was about to feel depressed, I felt joy flow through me and I heard a voice say, “This is it! This is as good as it gets! This is the best moment of your life!”
Wow! I could not hold back my enthusiasm. I felt great! I repeated, “This is it! This is as good as it gets! This is the best moment of my life!” No matter what irritations happened to me yesterday, I did not get upset. I felt joy and I kept thinking, “This is it! This is as good as it gets! This is the best moment in my life!”
How long will this joy last given that I am “up and down like a goddamn toilet seat”? I don’t know. The joy is still with me today. So far, so good. (I have heard that a man said this after jumping off a tall building. As he passed each floor he said, “So far, so good.”)
For now, and now is all there is, “This is it! This is as good as it gets! This is the best moment of my life!”
I have been to several funerals where the loved one had left specific instructions that his or her funeral was to be a happy occasion, a celebration with joy and laughter and No Tears Allowed. What a strain these instructions put on family and friends! They had to fight hard to hold back tears so they could honor the wishes of the dead.
At one time I, too, thought how I wanted no tears at my funeral. I wanted only laughter, jokes and joy. Seeing the pressure this wish puts on people has made me change my mind. Telling people that they should feel a certain way is not right. What is right is for people to feel how they feel no matter what the occasion.
When my body becomes a corpse and I am elsewhere celebrating my Lightness of Being, it is okay for people to cry at my funeral. It is also okay for people to laugh and joke and do silly things. Anything goes. People can do whatever they have to do to cope with their feelings.
As for the service? I have no religious affiliations. I believe in a God far beyond the violent, vengeful, jealous character in The Bible. God loves unconditionally, and there isn’t a place in the Universe where God is not. How arrogant for the clergy to feel they have to perform certain rights and ask God to accept a person’s soul otherwise the soul is lost. Why would God need to accept what was always part of God and always will be? (Imagine a person dies on a Monday, and the funeral is on the following Friday. What is God going to say to this person on Monday, “Sorry, I can’t accept you until Friday when Father O’ Fitzinfarter conducts the service.”?)
The service can be whatever my friends and relatives want. Again, anything goes. If they want to give me an Orthodox Jewish funeral because I am circumcised, then so be it. I won’t care and it won’t matter. Death will slow down my reaction time. Several centuries will pass by the time I realize that someone said or did something I did not like.
I am not planning on going soon. But when I do go, I hope all enjoy my FUNeral.
Life would get better when I could eat with a fork instead of a spoon. The grownups ate with a fork. My big sister ate with a fork. Why couldn’t I eat with a fork?
“You’re too young to use a fork,” said my Mommy. “Wait until you get older.”
And then I got older. And then I got to use a fork. Life got better for an instant, and then “the better” was gone.
Life would get better when I could use a pen. The Grade Three-ers used a pen, but Grade Two-ers, like me, had to use a pencil.
And then I passed from Grade Two to Grade Three and used a pen. Life got better for an instant, and then “the better” was gone.
I thought life would get better when I finished school; I thought life would get better when I got a job; I thought life would get better when I had my place and lived alone; I thought life would get better when I left my place and married; I thought life would get better when I separated and lived alone again. But “the better” always lasted an instant. What has to happen to make “the better” last? A visit from Mr. Godot?
Life is not fair. The race is not always won by the swift. The sharpest knife in the drawer may never get to cut anything because it is not related to the chef.
The other morning I was in a slow-moving line at the library to pick up a free newspaper. I was a good boy. I did not butt in. I waited my turn to get to the front of the line, and when I got there I saw the pile was down to the last newspaper. As I was about to pick it up, a woman came from behind me and grabbed the paper. She avoided eye contact as she quickly slithered away leaving me astonished by her actions.
I thought how life often rewards those who cheat and lie and steal and break the rules, and often punishes those who play fair, tell the truth and follow the rules.
The way life works, this woman snake will likely receive awards honoring her for her honesty and contributions to society. Perhaps a newspaper will have a statue of her outside its office building. Perhaps she will win a lottery from a ticket she found. Will she still steal newspapers after that?
The next time I see her I will thank her for the contribution she made to my life. She reminded me how happy I am when I give up the expectation that life is fair.