Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me

                                                           
The other day I was driving home from some errands and thought of another topic for my blog.  The ache in my recurring back problem reminded me that I'm getting old, which then set me off once again upon contemplation about why I keep stirring up trouble with my social and political crusading.

At that moment I thought about what my family and friends might say about me once I'm gone.  Will the summary judgment of my life be a "toss off" "oh, that was Dearel, that was Dad, that was my husband; a hard ass to the very end!"  That saddened me beyond all reason.  But, when I asked myself if I could or would think or live my life any different I find it nearly impossible to imagine.  

If I could just "mellow out", go with the flow, allow social and political events to just, right or wrong, unfold as they will, my life would be so much more comfortable and my psyche far more at rest.  Well, I can't.

My problem is I think too much.  There are those readers who have accused me of being "reactionary", responding to some event as if it offended me personally.  While the former is false, the latter is certainly true.  I don't believe I'm a reactionary because the term itself indicates one who reacts without thought, with an emotion not appropriate to the science of logic.  That's just not true; I spend far too much time thinking on something before I write or speak about it.  I think those closest to me will tell you that I'm a huge "contemplate your navel" kind of fella; I can be my own worst critic because I'm always undergoing these nearly epidemic sized bouts of self assessment.  

So, today I've reached the grand old age of 66, heart and soul in constant turmoil, still swinging the ever present rusty sword at windmills near and far.  I can recall a time when I considered the sum of 66 years to be one of decrepit uselessness, a time for sitting in rocking chairs, making sure I eat my fiber, rinse my dentures out each night before depositing them in the bedside water glass and waiting for the grim reaper to come.

And here I am; still have the vast majority of my teeth, the bowels working as well as a fella half my age, alert and leaning forward in my office chair, and as hungry for knowledge as when I was a freshman in college.  If the grim reaper comes I'll give the bastard the fight of his life before I'll let him take me before I'm ready.

If there are any uncertainties they are those whom everyone chooses to chew on occasionally; the question of my mortality....why am I here, why am I STILL here when someone seemingly far more deserving has passed.  Has my creator tasked me to accomplish some still unrealized goal He has set before me?  That question becomes more relevant when I consider the miraculous cure from lung cancer.  

Or perhaps there is some simpler lesson I am to learn....is He giving me more time to reform my soul?  Am I to suddenly transform myself and march down and unselfishly serve chicken soup each night in a homeless shelter?  Shall I join the Peace Corp and teach a remote African tribe the perils of drinking dirty water?  Is there one more person I need to meet?  

I have no answers to any of those questions.  And if God wants me to change my ways he's going to have to be far more direct because he instilled in me the ambition to write, assigned me a modest ability to do so....and so I write about the things that matter most to me.  If he wants me to write about something else he's going to have to give me a hint...cause I'm quickly running out of time.

So, here I am, 66 years old today...and without a damn good excuse to sit in a rocker and do nothing.  I'm still a gladiator, ready to step out into the arena and face the lions.  I might need a leg brace..or later a cane, but the will to fight still lives within me....and I guess I'll be no different until the grim reaper comes and I'm finally too damn weak to fight him off.

Let these thoughts be a celebration of my birthday....or serve as my own eulogy....they are as honest an assessment I can offer of myself so either one is perfectly okay with me.

13 comments:

Craig Bailey said...

Happy Birthday

mRed said...

The Grim Reaper will eventually win, but I bet you leave him a few bruises and possibly some scars.

A Modest Scribler said...

Thank you, Craig and thank you, mRed!

Jerry Carlin said...

Happy Birthday! You are a young lad
Who was it that said, "I will fight no more forever"? Maybe Chief Joseph? Every generation has degraded the present since before Socrates. Times change and we always want it to be like we remember "the good old days"! And everyone needs to climb the ladder just as we did!
A few years ago I went through a similar "near death experience" as you did and had my 66th birthday two years ago. I am still amazed when I wake up in the morning! And every day is a great day! I went through the same reflections, the same tracing back to how I got here, much of the same questions. I don't know. That is the answer! i realize that I have experienced the World,
the Politics, Social Movements, loves, trials and tribulations all from one point of view: mine. I can't know what it is like to walk in your shoes or any others. I have learned that nothing is free, not even a promised lunch, and everything has consequences.
So, is it best to go through life without disturbing things? I don't know. Some things need disturbing, at least, from my point of view!
As I continue to live, to read from this and that I do not hunt for fodder to support this or that cause. I am, I admit, curious as to why I believe what I do? Any different tick of the clock, a different road traveled, someone met or failed to meet and it could all be different. Seal eyeballs are a delicacy with the Eskimos.
Could have been like that!
They say that young people gather their materials to build a stairway to the stars...and older people to build an outhouse. Much truth to that. I am on a path to grow the world's Best Tomato!
Once again, Happy Birthday!

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks, Jerry. I would agree with most of what you wrote except for the part about searching out fodder to support my views. God knows I read Politico and The Huffington Post and other liberal sites and try like hell to understand their point of view. But when all is said and done 2 plus 2 still equals four no matter what generation you hail from. Even Common Core math will yield the same result.

No, i'm not buying that I'm the grouchy old man who wants "what was"....I don't know what our nation will become but on the road we're on now all signs point to hard roads and stormy skies.

Thanks again.

Carol said...

Wishing you a very happy birthday and many more to come!

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks, Carol...have a good weekend!

ralph jameson said...

Happy Birthday Cuz. So glad that you still have the piss & vinegar that it takes to keep on trucking. Don't stop what your doing. I know that some of the subject matter you write about is damn sad stuff, but it is all truthful and means a lot to the rest of us.
Happy, Happy, Birthday toooooo Youuuu!

A Modest Scribler said...

thanks, cuz...have a nice Easter weekend.

Brian Kalifornia said...

Happy Birthday Scrib,

Hopefully you see a lot more and continue to write, plus what would the rest of us do without you and Jerry's bantering.

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks, Brian...and Jerry's bantering ;)

Anonymous said...

Late but Happy Birthday!

From another person who gets accused of thinking too much...

Jilly

A Modest Scribler said...

Thank you Jilly! Thinking too much is so much better than thinking too little!