Take my hand, child, come with me.
It’s to a castle I will take you,
Where what’s to be, they say will be.
– WHAT IS AND WHAT SHOULD NEVER BE
My parents recently saw THE SEAFARER @ the Geffen, a play-variation of playing a game with the Devil for your life and soul. I have been thinking of how we know when it is we are going to die, for this and other reasons.
I went out for dinner with a friend two weeks ago, in a Michigan Avenue eighth-floor eyrie hastened from the halls of Harry Potter – a private club overlooking the lake, the lights, and the park. We spent most of the dinner discussing the nature of happiness, which he feels is there for the taking.
I wanted to say, “Friend, some days, my head is a garden for the cultivation of the flower, Despair,” but I didn’t. I think that being a writer, or thinking of yourself as Being a Writer, gives some license to mope around like a Fraggle, license which I have overused. I needed to hear this.
He further told me, Zenlite, that we only know two things:
– you will die
– the hour of your death is uncertain.
I am so in love with the way that last statement is written. This is a formulation similar to but wildly distinct from the Greeks’ “The best thing for mortal man is to never have been born. The next best is to die, and quickly.” It doesn’t hope for death, it only forecasts it. Forecast: Life, with a chance of Death. What does that chance make you chance? What chances would you take if you knew – or what will you not take, knowing you can’t?
If I don’t blog again for awhile, or if I only blog intermitttently from the catch-as-can computers of friends’ couches, I want to at least have left the site standing with some philosophy.
I find, too, that difficult as it may be to remember at moments when, I don’t know, your laptop has perished, that repeating “Happiness is there for the taking” has the inane effect of making you happier. For whatever it’s worth.
The NYT says our friends make us live longer. I don’t know that, but I know mine make me live better.