Sunday, April 24, 2005

Sometimes You're Nothing But Meat

Reading: Just finished On The Road. On the whole, it seemed more interesting than it was due to Kerouac's ability to capture chaotic excitement, as well as the mudane, in his own articulately inarticulate style. Kind of showed the danger of living with a half-baked understanding of zen.

Listening to: E-Pro (beck) , Counting Bodies Like Sheep (A Perfect Circle) and squirrels and birds.

Simple pleasure: the ticking of my clock

I got a splinter the other day, right in my thumb, a long metal one (the splinter, not my thumb). It was very difficult to get out, being so thin and just the right color that it was nearly invisible. It took a lot of probing, digging and proding to finally extricate it. In the end I had to peel a little flap of skin back, and it tore a little. The resistance I felt while tearing was a bit like ripping off a piece of jerky.

What is there to us that makes us special? Why are each of our lives precious, but animals lives so readily expendable? Are we special because we are the only animals that can conceive of being special? Would my dog eat me if I died and he had no food? Is that enough questions in a row?

A few years ago I got my first real dog (yes, an actual real one). He's very much like the dog from the Simpsons, and I'm not just saying that due to my obsession, other people have noticed the similarity too. Up until the point in my life that I got my dog, I had believed I was a cat person. Now I realize that cat people have just never met a good dog. I can already see signs that he's aging. I know that in all likelyhood he'll be with us for many years, but I can already see how much I will miss him when he's gone. I very briefly thought about if I would like it if he were to get stuffed after he died. After thinking about it a few seconds, I realized I thought it would be a little creepy. Not Rick Santorum creepy, but still. What I enjoyed about him will be gone.

I think since so many of us now die relatively unnatural deaths (not so long ago, almost all people died at home with all the loved ones there) there's a stigma to death, but death is ultimately good, like vitamins or exercise. There's an illusion that death must be avoided at all costs, that the end (staying alive) justifies the means (living in either constant pain, or constant vegetation, or both, or worse). But death is good. That's why death is a tragedy, because it is profoundly sad but ultimately necessary.

They say that beauty is truth, and truth, beauty. That may be true, but I find the most beauty in impermenant things (of course I'm writing under the illusion that truth is eternal). The less time you spend trying to capture these beautiful things or experiences, and the more you truly let them be and just enjoy them, the happier your life will be. Things aren't very special if they are always there. My wife went to Scotland for a whole summer to study last year, and I missed her terribly while she was gone, but the reunion we had at the airport was worth all the time away. Lots of people were shocked. "Why did you let her go away for so long?" they would ask. Well, this seemed to be a pretty great opportunity for her, and it would be pretty selfish of me to keep that from her, and besides, it's not like she was leaving forever. And if something happened, and I never saw her again, then I would know that she'd died enjoying her life, and that I helped her, which is really the best gift I could ever give her. And soon she'll turn into food or flowers or dirt, and she liked all those things.

It's good sometimes to look around, and notice that everthing you see wasn't here all that long ago, and will be gone forever in a relatively short time. Soon your flesh will either be burned or consumed by insects, and the universe will spin on, neither with or without mercy, but that's life. Have a great day!


At 12:05 PM, Blogger The Attractive Nuisance said...

Nice Tori Amos reference in the title. Nice Keats reference in the text.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...'re so sweet! And heavy, like good cream.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger ORF said...

Bob, are you a Gemini? I am and sometimes consider starting a second blog that tastes just as great but is somewhat less filling, or at least less edgy because even though I make fun of dead babies, I do some profound thinking too.

Annnywaayyyy...if you've ever read "The Hotel New Hampshire," you'd know once and for all that stuffing your dead dog is a bad idea. That is a fantastic book and it beats the pants off "On the Road." You should read it if you haven't. It's by John Irving.

You should also read "How We Die" by Dr. Sherwin Nuland because it is all about the psychological and physical process that our bodies go through when we prepare for death, which is just as much of a medical event in the body's life as say, passing a kidney stone or the (relatively) simple act of digestion.

I like this SS Bob too, by the way. He speaks to the more yogic side of ORF.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger sideshow bob said...

Sorry, ORF, but I'm a pisces, and also a rat, which I guess means I avoid conflict, and am not above resoting to trickery to achieve it. Such a makeup must make me prone to multiple personalities, or blogalities, at least.

And I think it takes a certain depth of wisdom to see the humor in taking a corpse home to visit with the family...hmm, that gives me an idea, and I have the perfect Simpson's quote for it...


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