CONSPIRACY WEARY

Do you have a favorite conspiracy theory? Not to be morbid, but my theory is that we have all been set up for elimination. The proof of my theory is that every one of the billions of human beings born before 1900* is dead (with apologies to a possible unknown straggler or two still hanging in there)….and there’s no reason to believe that anyone born post-1900 (who hasn’t yet perished) will be able to avoid this deplorable fate in due course. Let’s face it — the god(s) on high created a helluva mystery down here, and we’re the fall guys.

Of course, there are many who believe there is no death, professing that the body will be resurrected with the soul in a next life — even  cremated bodies, whose ashes have been scattered to the four winds and seven seas, will go to that great watering hole in the sky for another round. I would drink to that theory, but given the untold millions who have suffered agony in this go-round, who could drink enough to forget that the hereafter operates under the same management as the present? Raising the bar won’t bury the past.

Now, unlike most conspiracy theorists, I do not hold my theory to be the god-honest truth. It could be wrong. Maybe the gods have a heart; maybe we will live forever. Michel de Montaigne wrote, “Socrates thought, and so do I, that the wisest theory about the gods is no theory at all.” A rather unconsoling thought, perhaps, but one, at least, that’s not dead in the water. In any case, there’s no use losing any sleep over it.

*If you doubt that billions of human beings were born and died before 1900, click here:
https://www.strangerdimensions.com/2014/07/07/many-people-have-ever-lived-died/

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IT’S ABOUT TIME AGAIN

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations. –Faith Baldwin

A year ago today, I published a post titled IT’S ABOUT TIME which, as it happens, was about time. That post featured songs about time, such as TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE (which is all about time playing the role of an impatient gadabout). For this year’s edition, with Daylight Saving Time coming up this upcoming weekend, I thought I’d save myself time by posting quotes, like the Baldwin above, that carry on the time theme (which almost rhymes with crime scene, which is a site where it is suspected a pun has been committed in bad Faith). So, without further ado, it’s time to get down to cases:

Things money can’t buy: Time. Inner peace. Character. Manners. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Dignity. –Roy T. Bennett [almost identical with ‘Things on Trump’s Top Ten Never To Do list’]

I have no faith in human perfectibility. Man is now only more active – not more wise – than he was 6,000 years ago. –Edgar Allan Poe [man “more active” in Poe’s time? Of course he was — humans had yet to become Couch Po(e)tatoes]

Throughout history man’s inventions have been timesavers — then came television [100 years post-Poe]. –Evan Esar

I’m afraid of time…I mean I’m afraid of not having enough time — time to understand people, how they really are, or to be understood myself. I’m afraid of the quick judgments or mistakes everybody makes. You can’t fix them without time. –Ann Brashares

It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning. –Vincent Van Gough

I am almost a hundred years old; waiting for the end, and thinking about the beginning. There are things I need to tell you, but would you listen if I told you how quickly time passes? –Meg Rosoff

The past is never dead. It’s not even past. –William Faulkner

It takes a lifetime to die and no time at all. –Charles Bukowski

And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like shit. –Martin Amis

Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead. –Hans Christian Andersen

Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time. –Jorge Luis Borges

Over the silent sands of time they go/lovers come/lovers go/and all that there is to know/lovers know/only lovers know. –“Sands Of Time” lyrics, from 1955 film KISMET

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF QUOTING ERNEST

Did you fathom that the title of my last post (THE OLD MAN AND THE SEASON) was a play on Ernest Hemingway’s last completed novel, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA? Because that post was about aging and autumn, perhaps I was remiss in not including a Hemingway quote (such as the first one below) among those I gathered for the occasion.

This post will attempt to make up for that shortfall with a selection of Hemingway quotes, starting with this autumn-appropriate eulogy he wrote for a friend:

Best of all he loved the fall/the leaves yellow on cottonwoods/leaves floating on trout streams/and above the hills/the high blue windless skies./Now he will be part of them forever.

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. 

When you go to war as a boy, you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed, not you… Then, when you are badly wounded, you lose that illusion, and you know it can happen to you.

In modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

True nobility is being superior to your former self.

No weapon has ever settled a moral problem. 

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

There is no lonelier man, except the suicide, than that man who has lived with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.

But hold on — happy or not, this isn’t the end. The title of this post is another play on words, this being Oscar Wilde’s peerless comedy of manners titled THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST….a parody of Victorian age social standing previewed in this trailer for the 1952 film (not to be confused with the inferior 2002 remake) of the Wilde play:

Now (as the movie says when it’s over) this is THE END

SET IN STONE

I think, therefore I am. –René Descartes

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You will (hopefully) recall that my last post, STONE COLD DEAD, featured some of my favorite epitaphs published 4 years ago on SWI (a blog due to bite the dust in November). Ah, but the best laid plans….  The SWI editor announced on 9/1 that he would now need to pull the plug first thing on Sept. 6; thus today becomes SWI’s last full day on this earth.

This sudden passing prompts me to salvage another of my previously published posts from that body of work: a poem which poses a question I believe naturally arises out of STONE COLD DEAD. Unlike that post, it ain’t funny, but perhaps the poem’s saving grace is that what it lacks in humor, it makes up in brevity. It’s the least I can do on Labor Day.

LUCKY STIFFS

Are the faithful
dead better positioned
to be saved
than those who
lived with doubt?
Even a God
can’t help being
what He thinks.

 

 

THRICE AS NICE AS ONE AND DONE

Boys and girls (or vice-versa), we are on a 3-day roll, and you are in the middle of it: Dec. 4 was Santa’s List Day, Dec. 5 is Walt Disney’s birthday, and Dec. 6 is St. Nicholas Day.

I certainly hope you made it unto Santa’s “good” list yesterday. Not only is it bad if you didn’t, but you’re running out of time to change Santa’s mind before he comes to town:

As for Dec. 5, what would visions of Christmas be like without Walt Disney having contributed to bringing them to life? But frankly, boys and girls, who remembers his birthday, because Walt has been dead for 49 years! Despair not, however, because his body is rumored to have been frozen and put in a vault, like a reel of disintegrating old film, awaiting restoration when science conquers death! Walt Disney, as you know — now that I’m telling you — is said to have been fascinated with death since killing an owl at age seven (referring, of course, to Walt — the owl’s age at the time is not known). Whether it was the same owl who-o-o is seen in this scene is also unknown….but, oh, what a hoot:

That leaves us with St. Nicholas Day, which is celebrated, appropriately enough in light of the above, not on his birthday, but on the day of his reported death, Nov. 6, 343 A.D. As I’m sure you girls and boys have been told, Santa Claus is really St. Nicholas….or, at least (given that he most likely would be too arthritic for the job at his age if he were still alive), his ghost. What better way to close than with a visit from the old boy himself:

MARK TWAIN FROM SEA TO SHINING SEE

No article about Mark Twain would be complete without quotes by Mark Twain. –mistermuse.

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Thank you, mistermuse, for calling attention to the lack of Mark Twain quotes (outside of two questions to Dorothy on an ocean liner) in the previous post, THE UNIVERSAL MARK TWAIN. But, for all we know, such absence may have been on purpose: merely the first leg of a two-port voyage, with Port II awaiting ship with its cargo of such quotes. In fact, unless our eyes believe us, we seem to be putting into port forthwith:

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

God created war so that Americans would learn geography.

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.

What would men be without women? Scarce, sir…mighty scarce.

One frequently finds out how really beautiful a beautiful woman is after considerable acquaintance with her.

I am silent on the subject [the afterlife] out of necessity. I have friends in both places.

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPITAPH EPIPHANY

Mistermuse
Did not choose
His birth, or his conceiver….

Now he’s dead
Although he said
He didn’t choose that either.

April 6 is PLAN YOUR OWN EPITAPH DAY, hence my premature termination above….plus what follows below. So much work was killed in the great SWI (Speak Without Interruption) meltdown of Sept. 2013 that I can’t remember specific bygone posts unless some kind of connection happens to come up. This April 6 preparatory “memorial” day triggered such a connection: a post of humorous epitaphs. Now, as I mourn anew the memory of the dear departed, I plot a resurrection, and make no bones about it — any resemblance between this and previous tomes is purely intentional:

Ope’d my eyes, took a peep.
Didn’t like it, went to sleep.
It is so soon that I was done for,
I wonder what I was begun for.
–Baby’s grave

I put my wife beneath this stone
For her repose and for my own.

Here lie the bones of Sophie Jones
For her, death held no terrors.
She was born a maid and died a maid —
No hits, no runs, no heirs.

SIR JOHN STRANGE
Here lies an honest lawyer
And that is Strange.

This one’s on me.
–On headstone of a popular host

Who lies here?
I, Johnny Doo.
Hoo, Johnny, is that you?
Ay, man, but a’m dead noo
[noo means “just now”].
–Glasgow, Scotland, epitaph

Here lies Margaret, otherwise Meg,
Who died without issue, save on her leg.
Strange woman was she, and exceedingly cunning,
For whilst one leg stood still, the other kept running.

Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so shall you be,
Remember this and follow me.
–to which someone appended,
“To follow you, I’ll not consent
Until I know which way you went.”

Here lies the father of 29
He would have had more,
But he didn’t have time.

Plan your epitaph today, while you have time!

That’s all, folks!
–Epitaph of Mel Blanc, voice of Porky Pig/many other cartoon characters