Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good Morning Jack...

Letter to My Son
Sunday, 17 March


Good Morning Jack…

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Jack.  I figure you are one quarter Irish so you definitely have that particular advantage over me.  I’m only Irish if I don an article of green on this sainted day.  Pass the corn beef and cabbage, please, if you might and God willing.

Saturday I watched a French film titled My Night at Maud’s.  What order is there to life if we don’t make an attempt to provide it on our own behalf?  I can’t answer that question.  I’m always trying to live in an ordered environment.  I’m comfortable only if I can rationalize what goes on about me.  Inexplicable events may well shock me and leave me disorientated.  Even if I were to escape injury by a sudden explosion in the street nearby, I would be initially dazed and bewildered by events.  My mind would work madly to regain its sensibility.  It’s like our consciousness contains a gyroscope to always return us to right side up in our thinking.  Damage the gyroscope and we must be institutionalized for our own protection. 

We take our reasoned thought processes for granted, don’t we.  Imagine how terrifying it must be for those unable to distinguish reality from illusion.  You've maybe run across people on the street having a heated conversation when, in fact, no one is around.  They often appear to be homeless.  They haven’t money.  Would you trust someone to a job when they seemed confused by what was real?  A stomach ulcer is painful.  A heart murmur can limit our physical activity.  Damage to the organ that is the brain can make us behave erratic, make us potentially dangerous to ourselves or others.  How many damaged minds have obtained weapons and attacked people while thinking they were ridding society of invading legends from Hell.  Such a condition is an illness no less than cancer but the individual will be reviled so long as there is memory of him.  If there is a measure of fairness in life it is only because people wish it so. 

Have you heard any good jokes lately?  How much better life seems after we've had a good laugh.  A joke is maybe like an expectorant used to expel some nagging anxiety that’s wedged itself within us.  Why do people circulate gruesome humor following a terrible tragedy?  I think it is just the opposite of callousness.  We are treating a wound suffered by our emotional being.  Sometimes the wound is too great and only a long process of grieving will suffice to mend the tear.  In grief, though, always a scar is left.

I didn’t mean to brood today.  Sometimes it can’t be helped.  When all else fails, turn to thinking about Spongebob Squarepants.  He’s so ridiculous.  Just saying the name cracks me up.  That’s truly powerful medicine.  You know what’s really funny?  You see someone wearing a business suit and appearing very sober, even authoritative.  They see you, walk up to you, shake your hand, introduce themselves, and then do something totally unexpected and absurd like stick an olive up their nose.  They never change their demeanor.  They just continue conversing about the stock market as though everything is as it should be.  It’s all the funnier because now I’m confused.  Maybe this isn’t supposed to be funny – like laughing at a funeral… which makes me want to laugh all the harder.  Finally, I can’t help myself and I start snorting and carrying on with laughter to the point where I fear I’m going to lose control of all my bodily functions.  The comedian with the olive moves in now for the kill.  He continues with his straight face delivery hoping that I truly do lose control and, possibly, wet myself.  Comedians can be cruel that way.  They will definitely show no mercy.  They are aiming for the ultimate prize.  There’s the smile in response to something funny, then a chuckle, followed by laughter, hearty laughter, side-splitting laughter and, finally, self humiliation caused by uncontrolled laughter.  Anyone capable of producing the ultimate response to humor should be required to wear a warning label, advising people with weak bladder control to stay out of earshot of such individuals.  Of course, even out of earshot they remain dangerous, depending on what it is you see them stick up their nose.


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