Yes indeed, life is too damn quick.
I guess we survived his finger wagging.
I like this whole “waking up and living” thing. After 56 years, I have gotten very used to it. The prospect of having only 20 or 30 years left doesn’t thrill me, and I realize that many people turn to religion’s easy comfort so they can more easily spend those quiet moments when all we have is our own counsel.
But I reject the easy comfort of religion. Instead, I turn to books, radio, poetry (books, again!) and human interaction as ways of making life all the more enjoyable. For some biological and phenomenological reason, I am not dead yet, don’t have any horrible disease like my unfortunate and always beloved brother Mark had. In fact, I have this dark feeling ever since the day of his death, February 21 of 2015, that I am on borrowed time, stolen time, and that I am in a distinctly darker region of life than I had ever known existed.
I pour my heart out in this blog, read by just about three people a year, including me. Which is fine, really, because the whole purpose of this is so that I don’t make a complete idiot of myself on Facebook. (Believe it or not, that was the proximal reason I started this blog.) It’s probably not the greatest therapy on Earth, since I rarely give myself very helpful feedback. I like it, though, and for $34 a year I’ll keep doing it. It provides a way to paint those dark thoughts on a wall, to get them off my chest, to get them out in the open so that if, who knows, the opportunity arises where someone says, “What’s your take on being 56?” then I can quickly type in “serendipitousplanet.net” while cursing the reasoning behind my having chosen precisely that as a name for my site, and show this post to that person.
Lemme see. I’m beginning my 19th year of teaching at Moriah. Holy shit. I have six more years to go before I can retire, and baby, I’m retiring the second I have my time in, which will be in 2022. That sounds sooooooo far off in the future. Will I still be alive? Will I be able to walk, to talk, to type, to read, to hold things? Mark wasn’t able to do those things. God, I’ll never forget — it was October 4th, 2014, he had not been definitively diagnosed yet (that was a month off.) He was outside, watching me take bags of pellets off his pickup and bring them down into the basement of his house. He looked at me, and said, “Emmett, if this is something terminal, then to hell with it, Lori and I are gonna live it up. Travel all over the world, —” whereupon I stopped him, saying, “Jesus, Mark, don’t even go there! Terminal? That’s bullshit. Whatever it is, you’ll get over it.” Within six weeks, he was unable to get out of a chair by himself. Within two months, he couldn’t use a computer mouse. Four months from that time, he was dead. The travelling all over the world never even got to the discussion phase.
I want to live a long time. Not living is just a dead end. Yep, that sounds trite, but put yourself in my shoes (size 12 EE.) There are a lot of things I’m coming to realize. Like we humans are all doing a good job pretending we’re not animals. Like rainy days are good. Sunny days are good. We need to love peace. We need to stop being patriots and to start being citizens. (The former is an opinon, the latter a fact.) We need to start putting our arguments in blogs that nobody reads: it’s sort of like putting gun powder into a musket during a heated argument. You lose your passion while stuffing the gun. And maybe, just maybe, we will live longer because we’re not angry, we’re getting stuff off our chests, and whether it’s sunny or rainy, we’re alive.