Thursday, September 12, 2013

Philosophy Hour: We Preserve What We're Afraid Life Will Destroy

He thinks because he can.
Everything blooming will one day decay. This is a wonderful idea - in that it is true. I think about it often..whilst I leer at and admire my perpetually aging face. People should use the word whilst more. It sounds like wilt but the 'st' sound of it makes it menacing, like a hissing snake.

You know what else sounds like a hissing snake? Age.

I am a month into being twenty-seven and this is the first year that I am having a hard time grappling with how old I am. People ask my age and I instinctually sputter-out "twenty-two. err no, wait twenty-five. Holy shit I'm twenty-six, twenty-seven, AGH!! I'm twenty-seven years old!!!"

Some may find my loss of numerical memories endearing, but I find it terrifying. My grandfather was once a strapping young intelligence officer in the Navy who studied mathematics and mechanical engineering at MIT whilst throwing back brandy and nasty one-liners with the best of them. He became an old man riddled with dementia. He died of a blot clot months after giving up his most intimate and cherished companions: his wit and alcohol.

A happy fool believes they are invincible and immortal.

A seasoned soul treads silently and lightly anticipating his inevitable extinction.

Who is better at life?

Well the answer is of course both. We must be equal parts gregarious fool, eager to cast-off the 'mind-forged-manacles' that threaten to impede our liberties and wonderful whims of expression, and a seasoned sage who knows the essence of life: that the unknowable truth must be conserved within us through patience, diligence and humility.

Sure the sage part sounds like a boring time. But I once went to this Hollywood mansion party (okay many) where celebrities were shoving copious amounts of cocaine up their privileged nostrils as their underaged escorts vomited into each other's stilettos...

 and I thought, "Vapidness is the true face of despair."

The almost-all forgotten group The Cookies once penned the lyrics for the famously covered and all too telling song "On Broadway" (The Drifters, Neil Young, George Benson)...

"They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway
They say there is magic in the air
But when you're walking down the street
And you aint had enough to eat
The glitter rubs right off
And you're no where
...On broadway"

Instinctually, we preserve what we're afraid life will destroy. We make marriage contracts to shelter our love from the storms of our own selfish whims that threaten to destroy selfless commitment. We cover our couches in plastic to keep them fresh for decades.

Okay we don't but grandmothers in South Florida do.

Speaking of grandmothers, my grandmother just had hernia surgery and I have to end this post so that I can fetch her favorite blouses and accessories from her room before she takes visitors. She is 89 years old and she firmly believes that vanity preserves beauty. By any means necessary she will look her best. Those means are usually me doing her bidding for her because I am too much of a spineless hack to look my sweet old grandmother in the face and say "I have better things to do than run to CVS for the fifth time this week. I won't have my youth for long and you having me do errands for you is robbing me of precious seconds that I one day will lament for not selfishly relishing."

I don't say that because I am afraid such blatant arrogance will destroy the sweet goodness that I have protected in my soul all these years. I may intellectually think it would be fantastic to be a hot-bodied celebrity cackling on a mountain of minks, money and exotic monkeys. But the truth is my constant companion all these years has been that faceless forgiveness, that gentle reverence that unlike me does not age.

The fountain of youth is seated in all our hearts. Let it flourish through your laughter.

And make sure the mortician paints you up like a Cowboy's cheerleader on your funeral day.

The great equalizer of age: morticians. 

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