Several weeks ago, I asked my Facebook followers to submit sentences to be incorporated into a post. This is what they came up with:
1) There once was a man from Nantucket.
2) Beans, beans the magical fruit.
3) I’m Michelle Bachmann and I approve this message.
4) I stayed awake the last four days awaiting the next edition of “Unconventional Wisdom.”
5) When I was younger, I thought I knew a lot of things…now that I’m older, I’m thinking maybe everyone else really knows all the things.
6) On this night of a thousand dreams, I lie here and think, “What I wouldn’t give for a good night’s sleep.”
7) It was at that very moment that I knew I was a lesbian.
8) Most of us have a lot of faith in people, despite our experience.
9) Bird skeletons are characterized by thin, hollow boners.
First, I would like to apologize- especially to the kind reader who is so intense that [he] stayed awake the last four nights (it has now been much longer) awaiting the next edition of “Unconventional Wisdom.” It feels odd for me to apologize for not posting, but believe it or not, there are people out there who look forward to reading this blog, so: I am sorry it has been so long since my last post. We’ve been sick in my house, and writing simply has not been in the cards. This post in particular was not one I could write while sick- it is optimistic, and I wasn’t feeling that way for a spell.
Okay. Now at first blush, these sentences may not seem to have much in common. But they do. And, you may be surprised to learn that they also contain the meaning of life!
And here is the meaning of life, as told to Kurt Vonnegut by his son, Mark:
“We are all here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is.”
Don’t let the simplicity of that statement fool you- the best part of every religion I know of can be found in it. Yes, that quote is plenty deep; but the answer to the questions, “Why are we here? What is the point of life?” need not be. You are here because a man and a woman copulated. And you remain here because some prehistoric corner of your brain has kept your lungs breathing and your heart beating more or less continuously ever since.
And that is it. So you might as well laugh, and be kind, and help your friends get through this thing, whatever it is. And look up at the stars!
My grandpa loves to help us through this thing by making us laugh. As much a part of Thanksgiving dinner at his home as turkey was this exchange he’d have with his sister:
“Bean, beans the magical fruit. Did I ever tell you guys about the time Margie shit in her pants on the bus?
“Pat! I did not. I…”
“We had no money in those days, so Margie had nothing more than a can of beans for lunch one day. Then she hopped on the bus, and headed to work. Before long, she needed to fart. She looked around to make sure it was safe. There was no one around when the bus got to the next stop. She timed her fart for the noisy opening of the doors. Except she didn’t fart, she shit in her pants! And she didn’t notice that a man had gotten on at the stop. There were no open seats, so he came and sat right next to Margie here!”
And, of course, by the time he got to the end, everyone would be crying and choking; thoroughly helped, for a while at least. (I have no idea if that actually happened to poor Margie- I know for sure that her reaction to it, the same year after year, kept the joke alive.)
Most of us have a lot of faith in people, despite our experience. Sure, there are plenty of assholes running around, but we share the planet with many, many more people who are simply decent. People who are walking around, smiling to themselves, thinking of a joke, “There once was a man from Nantucket…” or her first kiss, “It was at that very moment that I knew I was a lesbian.” You would not know it, but the lady who was distracted, rude even, and who did not smile at you in the check-out lane, may have simply been tired, having spent the whole previous night thinking, “On this night of a thousand dreams, I lie here and think, ‘What I wouldn’t give for a good night’s sleep.’” Wouldn’t you show her sympathy if you knew that? Would you still demand to speak to her manager? Wouldn’t you smile, and help her through this thing? I bet you would.
My friend, Jon, has been helping me get through this for over twenty years. We are all grown up now, but he can still very easily make me giggle. Sometimes, he doesn’t have to do anything; hearing from him brings back happy memories. To wit: We were driving on the freeway when Jon said, “Get off the road you clowns.” I looked over expecting to find bad driving. What did I see? A car full of clowns. That memory has helped me get through a lot of this. And he keeps on giving. He was recently kind enough to share this, from a test he wrote for a biology class he teaches; see if you can spot the typo: Bird skeletons are characterized by thin, hollow boners. Thanks for your help, Jon.
Since we are not very far removed from election season, I will leave you with this, something I very much would like to hear my neighbors to the north United States Representative say:
When I was younger, I thought I knew a lot of things…now that I’m older, I’m thinking maybe everyone else really knows all the things.
----I’m Michelle Bachmann and I approve this message.---