If Aristophanes were suddenly to arrive here, he would no doubt pause, but with the eye he had, would soon discover such a treasure trove of material, he could produce comedies to last several lifetimes.
The problem would be in finding the right audience, for here we have little taste and patience for the sort of comedy at which he was so adept, and wit in language has long been forgotten in our blunt, in your face world of entertainment, and his natural audience in ancient Greece would never imagine a world so badly screwed up that even Kubrick would be hard pressed to bring Dr. Strangelove into the present.
Its painful to now say it but perhaps Uncle Sam got it partially right when he shaved our heads and had us march around Lackland Air Force Base as the war raged on in Vietnam, but when you talk about Uncle Sam, the bar is set rather low.
We did all look ridiculous, from the large guy who once was the town bully for certain to the once chubby guy sadly grateful he wasn’t in the Army, (and I’ll let you guess which I might have been) and if we doubted for a moment our sameness the Sarge was more than willing to remind us.
And since I will one day be cremated, I take solace in the fact that my ashes will be indistinguishable from those of Brad Pitt.
In my dreams I wandered the alleys of Lisbon searching for a familiar face, and many came close, but no man stopped me and asked if I was, by chance his son, for he dreamed I was what a son of his would look like.
Now I have no need to wander for I know he is in a military cemetery in Burlington, New Jersey, and I doubt he had any idea in life he had another son, or a daughter in Italy, for weekends were quickly passed when you had to be back at the base by midnight on Sunday.
The meeting occurred by chance, two old men sitting in the same park staring at the same empty chess board as the waves of the Stygian Sea lapped against the break wall, the ferryman now at the helm of the great cargo ship. “So,” said Hillel, “you come here often?” Old, bent Buddha paused “as far as I know, I have always been here, or perhaps I am not here now, never have been.” “I know the feeling” the ancient Rabbi said “I’ve been here so long, I too have begun to doubt my very existence.” Buddha rubbed his great girth and smiled placidly as a black bird alighted on his shoulder. The Rabbi stroked his beard the stood on one foot, only to have two bluejays land, one on each arm. “Would you care to join me,” he asked, “for a meal at Ming’s or if you prefer, we can do take out from the Dragon Palace, whatever suits your mood, in any event, my treat this time.” The saffron robed old man unfolded himself, and erect and bowing, said “It would honor me to dine with you but if you wouldn’t mind I’d much prefer a bowl of chicken soup with kreplach and a pastrami on rye.”
It’s a question of faith. You have to have some even if you doubt it, in fact your doubt is proof you have faith if only in doubt, for you know you cannot prove doubt, you just cling to it as a matter of faith. Your faith need not be religious though much of faith is, it can be philosophical or whimsical if you prefer. It can be most anything unless you are certain of everything in which case you are immortal, on death’s doorstep or simply a fool.
The moon has gone past full and as waning as I write, it’s slow retreat hopefully taking with it the burden of winter, that we now must measure in feet, the inches having been heaved up, one upon another. Spring will come soon for a taste of it, for spring is an inveterate tease, preferring to appear only long enough to let the melting snows floor around, and to occasionally into our homes, so that we, maps and markets in hand, pause to dream of the summer which we now doubt will ever appear.
The single greatest problem In writing about death Is that everybody does it, dies Sooner or later, so it’s hardly All that special unless, like Twain, it happens more than once. But perhaps multiple deaths are not All that uncommon, for Buddhists, Among whom I count myself It happens all the time, karma demands it. And if I had any doubt, Google will confirm it. I, for instance, died the seasoned lawyer in Calgary in 2009, the trade I practice for 36 years, And I ironically died on my birthday In 2011 in Palm Beach Gardens, though I’ll be damned if I felt 84 then, and I kicked bucket in 1754 in Orbach, France But I’ve never been a real fan of the French although it is my next best language And when the wine is good, it’s great.
There is probably much that could be said, a bit less that should be said, but I I’m not the person to say it, and remain silent. You are surprised by the silence — it is not what you expect of me, and that you find disconcerting and a bit unnerving. If I asked you what you would have me say, I doubt you could find anything in particular. It is more the sound of my voice you expect, not the words I choose to utter or retain. It all comes down to words, doesn’t it? And yet they fail us with such regularity, we each must wonder why we speak at all.