Life is a Shakespearean tragedy in that it does not have a happy ending. It is a terminal illness. Or, as Samuel Butler suggested, “Life is one long process of getting tired.” Or, if you are feeling really down and blue, you can opt for Woody Allen’s view that “life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”
I am not feeling especially negative today, it’s just that as I scan the headlines of the morning paper, I see tales of crime, a gang slaying (yay – that’s one less of the bastards) war, even more ink the arsonist thugs in London and other English cities and towns, pestilence, politics and omnipresent political stupidity, greed and incompetence (closely equated to war and pestilence, and often crime), corruption, cruelty, disgusting self-indulgence, the extolling of the moronic glitterati, depravity and vile tastelessness (and those are all on a good day).
An advantage of newspaper news over television news (which is hardly news at all, at least in the Cronkite and Murrow tradition) is that I can pick and choose what I care to read. I am not bombarded. I just turn the page. I never, or hardly ever watch TV news. In any case, I have worked in the print trade for too long to see electronic renderings of the news as anything other than sensationalistic pandering of the ickiest sort.
The world today is really no worse than it has ever been, and in many regards it is better – for us at least. Lapsing into Dickensian cliché, it is indeed “the best of times and the worst of times,” But, like old Sam Butler I sometimes find that I just get “tired.” And, when that happens I know I have to change my focus and call to attention those things I do cherish and that keep me from getting just too tired to bother.
This all came to mind from a domestic discussion the other day based on one of those lists concerning the 10 (20, 50, 100) things you would like to do before you die. The by now slightly tired “bucket list”. Well, I attempt to do my utmost to live for today and have, for about a decade, believed in the adage that “If you want to give God a laugh, make a plan.” I mean, sure there are things I want to do before I die, but I just prefer to keep them to myself so that if they happen I am delighted. If they don’t, then I’m not grievously disappointed. It’s similar to the process I go through when I go vacation. Obviously there is some planning involved but, at the same time, I refuse to get into anticipatory excitement. My excitement starts when the plane touches down on the tarmac and I know I have arrived safe-and-sound. But, even then, it is only ‘guarded’ excitement. My true exultation only begins when I am safely ensconced in my hotel or condo and the hostelry has proved to be everything it purported to be on the website or in the brochure. My lack of anticipatory glee pisses Wendy off, but I am who I am.
However, this blog is not intended to be a negative, so please don’t construe it as such. There are things, many things I’ve experienced, or continue to experience that give me a reason to just carry on and see what indeed is next in my life.
So, here are some of ‘my’ things, in no order of importance whatsoever:
1. The fragrance of new-mown hay on a ride in the countryside.
2. The sensual sculpting of a perfect rose.
3. A book I dread to see come to an end, such has been my enjoyment of it.
4. Holding hands with a special person on a long walk.
5. A long walk.
6. A special person.
7. Seeing something I had long wanted to see, for the first time.
8. Cherished friends.
9. Watermelon so sweet and crisp it actually snaps when I bite into it.
10 The fragrance of the ocean on a moonlit night.
11. The rustling of the sea breeze in palm trees.
12. Hugging a tearful little girl, or grown woman and trying to “make it better.”
13. An eye-mist inducing film.
14. Laughing so hard I’m fearful of peeing my pants.
15. Candlelit dinners.
16. Making love.
17. Making love on a very private moonlit tropical beach (did that once and it was all you might anticipate it being).
18. An ocean swim.
19. Snorkelling through canyons of multi-colored coral and shooing the beautiful fish to one side, such are their numbers.
20. An Orca breaking the water near me.
21. Whale song.
22. A day fully at my disposal.
23. The first day of vacation.
24. A medical check-up in which everything is A-OK.
25. Taking Max for a walk.
26. Seeing justice done.
27. The fragrance of good coffee in the morning kitchen.
28. New fine cotton sheets on a king-size bed.
29. The rumble of a London Underground train.
30. Crickets in the early evening of a late summer day.
There are more. Lots more. Feel free to add your own.