The externals of daily living feed into the internal part of our lives. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree, right? We were all little twigs once upon an innocent time. Then the growing process, both physiologically and emotionally, quickly kicked-in. The alt-rock British band, the Godfathers, succinctly summed it up : Birth. School. Work. Death. Were you “Of the manner born”? Silver spoon? Or quickly having to learn how to keep the wolf from the door? Did you manage a decent formal education? Or was it always a seat in the hard knocks school of life? Did you become gainfully, satisfactorily, employed related to your intrinsic skills and intellect? Or is your work resume a series of seemingly directionless employment drop-ins? The death part? That’s an equalizer, no matter what personal details your book of life may contain. The last chapter may be inspirational or weepy, noble or ignoble. But dead is dead. At that point of departure, you could be Mother Teresa or Ivan the Terrible. Then you become a memory, for better or worse. And time ticks on dispassionately regardless of one’s Earthly reputation.
As for the possibility of an afterlife, it’s up to we the living to speculate on such. We do so in various versions of what might be awaiting us, so that we can make being dead more than an inevitable gone and forgotten fourth stage of life invoked by that above noted song title. Me, I like Mark Twain’s take on it: Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.
For we on the mortal coil of life in 2021, now only in its ninth day, there’s a good chance it has not been very reassuring as to simply wanting to feel good about being alive. This collective “you” I refer to includes all of humanity, thanks to a global pandemic now closing in on 2 million dead and 90 million infections. Talk about equalizers. huh? Here, in the U.S., the dead number 377,000–and counting. That’s the top of Covid-19 global leaderboard. Really? The U.S. of A, the richest country on the planet, is unable to provide better battle plans against this viral enemy? Not that conquering a deadly virus is a facile matter, but still. It must reflect on a lack of determination. The virus is our common enemy. Medical science is at “warp speed” in getting vaccine out. Well done. However, the general population seems to lack a cohesive strategy to help battle this equal opportunity killer. I’d say a large swath of the citizens of the U.S. are in “warp brain” mode. You know, those who won’t wear masks. Won’t avoid crowds. And those who simply refuse to forego their precious Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year traditions. They are among those now infected, or who may already have died because they chose to be stupid about this very serious matter. One wonders just how malignantly bent these people’s twigs were waaay back when.
On the bright side of this lamentation on life writ large or local, we can take comfort in knowing that, as King Solomon (allegedly) once pronounced, This too shall pass.
2021, as with 2020, shall too, pass. Maybe the United States, along with the rest of the world, can have some new version of normal with which to live out the days (daze?) of our lives. Unfortunately, we now have to anxiously consider even more than avoiding getting an infection, we have to deal with an insipient insurrection. The curtain went up on this dangerous development just a few days ago. Where it goes, and how and when it will end (as all things do pass) is as uncertain as the pandemic’s ultimate outcome.
In the meantime, to quote Nizami, In the hour of adversity, be not without hope; for crystal rain falls from black clouds. That’s for the pandemic down trodden.
As for that festering fascist face that burst dramatically on the U.S. stage the other day there’s H.L. Mencken: Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
For this humble blogger, I’ll go with George Bernard Shaw: Whisky is liquid sunshine. Or, as ol’ blue eyes Frankie S. said: Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but as the bible says, love your enemy.
Or; Whatever!, to quote many an Gen-X-er…