Perhaps, as some say, fate is already set in stone, and our own desires and actions cannot change what is written there. Others will say nay to that, holding that we are the masters of our own fate, and determine its reality as we move through time. Me, I don’t really give a shit as long as my beer is cold, and my coffee hot. The rest can just go and take a flying hike (which is obviously a euphemism for ‘go f___ yourself!’), because it don’t matter to me.
Actually, that’s a wad of gobshite, too. Although true enough, at least about the coffee & beer, I’m not quite as calloused & indifferent as I like to pretend to be. The sad truth is that I cry at the slightest bit of stress, empathetic pain, or even romanticism, a happy left-over from my time in Hell (aka, when I was buried in the blues….deep depression, yes?).
But, mostly, the entire issue of fate doesn’t weigh heavily on my mind. I figure that if it is already written, then there’s no sense worrying it to death, or trying to change it. And if it isn’t, well, I’ve probably got time to figure out the best way to approach that bit of responsibility, before it gets out of control. Either way, it doesn’t seem to require that I pay a lot of attention; the perpetual motion machine that is the Universe trots merrily along on its own, blissfully indifferent, unaware and uncaring of either my support and approval, or of my frustration and resentment…..
“Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man’s task.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD)
— Discourses, Book i, Chap. xxvii
Just as an exercise, think about this statement, and determine if it is true, or false. If you are like me, about half-way through the second sentence, a ripping headache will blossom quickly in your head. You know the kind: your eyes narrow, and your brows furrow; it creeps swiftly up the back of the neck like a lance of electricity, spreading up through the cranial cavity to sit just over the temples, throbbing, sounding a discordant crescendo, with nausea churning in response, and a diffuse feeling of impending doom. A real Chernobyl of headaches. And that is prior to actually considering the propositions; you really don’t want to know what that will do….
It’s too bad actually. Back in the day, when I was young, and invulnerable, I could read something like this, and chew it up like penny candy. But I was much more pompous then, full of my own sense of importance (ah, yes, the illusions of youth!), and not yet worn down by the millstone of Time. Today, my usual response to a request to put myself through something of this nature is to tell the person to get a clue, and go take a nap.
Back in the day, though, I did think about these statements, and found them to be, as far as they go, true. They are useful, in the way they encourage close attention to appearances. But in general, in this form, with this sort of complexity and weight, these principles will send most folks off to have an ice cream sundae, rather than stimulating them to think…. one needs to be a little tricky to stimulate thought in your average Joe…. it’s just not one of the general public’s strong suits…
“Oh you who are born of the blood of the gods, Trojan son of Anchises, easy is the descent to Hell; the door of dark Dis stands open day and night. But to retrace your steps and come out to the air above, that is work, that is labor!” — Virgil, The Aeneid
“They smell, they snarl and they scratch; they have a singular aptitude for shredding rugs, drapes and upholstery; they’re sneaky, selfish and not at all smart; they are disloyal, condescending and totally useless in any rodent-free environment.” — Jean-Michel Chapereau, on cats
For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat. (Jean-Michele obviously has been….and still resents it..)
In fact, learning to live with, and appreciate, a cat can teach us a great many lessons about interpersonal, and inter species, relationships. Cats do not have the same relationship with us as dogs, or other pets. There is a certain formality, a very strict set of protocols, that must be observed in order to live peacefully with a cat; in addition, they do not appreciate changes in their environment, hate surprises, and have no compunctions about expressing their opinions if these protocols are not faithfully fulfilled. One learns quickly to understand this, the first time they get up in the morning to find their cat’s opinion of something deposited in their shoes.
Once a human has agreed to observe the niceties, cats are excellent companions. They are neat and tidy, and don’t take up much space, especially as they can fit themselves into spaces much smaller than they appear to be, as well as possessing the uncanny talent of being able to get into a room with no open windows or doors. It is a bit disconcerting at times, to open up a kitchen drawer to find a cat taking a nap, or find them in the library, enjoying a postprandial bath, after just seeing them in the kitchen, eating from their bowl, mere seconds ago.
But, they don’t run up big phone bills, they don’t leave clothes all over the common rooms, they never borrow your favorite sweater, or ask you for a temporary loan. They will insist that when they want your attention, you will stop whatever you are doing to give it; this generally happens when you are reading or typing, and your furry, compact roommate decides he want a lap for a nap, so they sit on the book, or walk across the keyboard, tail up, ass in your face, complaining that you’re not living up to your responsibility. It is not generally a hardship to give them what they ask for, because the rewards are worth it.
When you are feeling blue, your cat will come sit with you, and purr with contentment, sending out vibes of love and approval to heal your troubled spirit. They will entertain you with silliness, skill, and quirky behaviors that bring a smile to your face, every time. They will protect you from attacks by invisible beings from other dimensions, that only they can see (what did you think they were doing staring at that empty corner, or spot on the wall?).
They will provide you with fashion advice and decorating tips, usually in the form of a sign of disgust toward the object that offends their sense of taste or sensibility. They will provide you with a rodent-free domicile, company, affection, and love. All you have to do is fulfill your part of the bargain, by providing food, shelter, laps, toys, and the occasional bit of attention. It’s a pretty good deal, all in all……
Great! My cat has been cashing my reality checks again!
“It’s a buck dancer’s choice my friend, you better take my advice.
You know all the rules by now, and the fire from the ice.
Ain’t no time to hate
— there’s barely time to wait.
Wo ho, what I want to know: where does the time go?” — Robert Hunter
Where does the time go? And who says so? Where does your lap go, when you stand up? Where are all those socks that have been lost over the years in the wash? If it’s an unknown soldier, whose side was he on, and how do we know? If Billy stays at his work, baiting lines on a tuna boat, a long time, does that make him a Master Baiter? If Time is a river, or a road stretching out before us, how does it fly? If a butterfly flying away from its cocoon can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world, what happens when an elephant poops? Why on Earth did kamikaze pilots wear helmets? Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?
These are the kinds of things that trouble mankind? Well, no, but I tend to think about them a lot. I’m curious, and there are still a lot of things I have to learn; one can only learn when they admit they don’t know. Why, you may ask, do I spend my time on such nonsense? That’s an easy one. Because I damn well want to, and it’s none of your damn business what I do inside my own head. But, since you’ve asked so nicely, I’ll put down my curmudgeon cudgel, and tell you. It all started when I was young, and my brother accidentally stepped on my nose. You might wonder what my nose was doing under his foot, but you’ll be disappointed to learn that you’ll never know, because it’s not relevant, or germane to our discussion.
What is relevant is this….. That event taught me that life is hard enough to deal with just as it is; there is pain, and suffering, and a seemingly hostile Universe with which we must contend every minute of every day. There’s no need to add another layer of difficulty by refusing to see the other side of that seriousness, that little bit of nonsense that is present every where and every when, in everything we do, and in everything that happens to us. We are all Bozos on this bus, and when the nose shows, you must let it grow. There will be time enough to be plenty serious when serious problems need to be addressed; whenever we have the opportunity to experience the lighter side of existence, it makes good sense to take it. Or, as so aptly put by Willie Wonka: “A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.”…….. Cheers, and welcome to the parade!…….
Sophie Tucker was unique. I know that it sounds trite, but if there ever was someone who deserved the attribution, it was her. I can still remember the sense of awe, and the chills down my back, the first time I heard her sing, sometime around 1957. The song was “God Bless America”, and she let that huge voice free on the high notes; I’d wager no glass containers were left unshattered in the studio where it was recorded. Amazing pipes! And she had a personality to match.
Below I have listed three jokes attributed to her; the first I read in my quote database, the other two are from Bette Midler, told orally during her concerts….. enjoy a real lady’s sense of ribald humor….. In my mind, I can just see the huge smile and sparkle in her eyes when she related these gems of wisdom….
“From birth to age eighteen a girl needs good parents; from eighteen to thirty-five she needs good looks; from thirty-five to fifty-five she needs a good personality; from fifty-five on, she needs good cash.” — Sophie Tucker
Sophie and her boyfriend Ernie were making love…. Ernie says, “Sophie! Your t__s are small, and your p____y is tight!” “Ernie” says Sophie, “Get off my back!” — as related by Bette Midler
Sophie was on the phone with her boyfriend, Ernie; both of them are in their 80’s. Ernie brags “Sophie, I’ve got a girlfriend who’s 20 years old!” Sophie replies, “Ernie, I’ve got a boyfriend who’s 20, too, and I’ll bet you a hundred that 20 goes into 80 more times than 80 goes into 20!” — as related by Bette Midler
SIGH!…. You gotta admit, she had style…..even if it proves to be an urban myth, it’s an attractive, and believable one…..
I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it,
Time in hours, days, years,
Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world
And all her train were hurl’d.
— Henry Vaughan — The World
I don’t have a lot to say about this. It’s lovely, and deep. Reading it engenders the feeling of weight that one associates with Time, and its structural rhythm lends itself to a soothing train of thoughtful images, all of which make his message come into clearer focus. A very excellent example of the power that poetry has, in the right hands….
Got a bit of a late start today; didn’t wake up until after 0615. Coffee was already hot & waiting (thanks to technology!) (why did it take so long to come up with a coffee maker that could start itself at a certain time? Seems like a no-brainer to me….) Any who, though starting late, it all came together pretty well, I think, so I’ll call it a day for this particular activity.
Now I can try to get caught up to the 20 or so emails of new posts by the bloggers I follow, a daily task growing larger each day. I love it though, it gives me a ton of food for thought. I feel bloated and replete, mostly in a good way, some mornings after seeing some of the stuff other folks are up to out there on the Net. Tasty stuff…. y’all take care out there…
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.gigoid