In truth, I hate bucket lists and the whole concept behind them, which I regard as emblematic of a general misunderstanding of the nature of life. However, I must say that the experience I had last night—waking up at 4 am with my mouth full of blood—is certainly a unique and memorable experience that everyone should have. In my case, it was literally a bucket list item, because I could have used a bucket to deal with the problem.
As it turns out, the issue was neither as bad as it sounds or looked, at least according to my oral surgeon. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the last ten days (and nights) have been something of an ordeal, reaching its peak yesterday, when I only had the time and energy to put up a single post, and one about Ellen DeGeneris at that. I also could only walk Spuds briefly, I missed two client deadlines, I’m late paying my bar dues (two of them) and so many people are annoyed with me that I might as well join the Republican Party.
I also find myself getting worried, really for the first time, about health impeding my many projects and aspirations. The great pop philosopher Satchel Paige trenchantly observed, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?” In my case, the answer would always be about 14, and I’m proud of it. My friends and relatives are depressing me: they are younger than me and they are retired or soon will be. They look old , and sound old. An old geezer at the dog park where Spuds romps always latches on to me like a barnacle (he’s also a Bostonian refugee), and I thought the guy was about 80. Last week I learned that he’s six years younger than me!
Like both my parents, I have always been blessed with good health and energy, but boy it’s hard to feel 14 when you get hit with a cascade of health issues like what I’ve had to deal with lately. But the obligation is to, as Winston Churchill, liked to say, “keep buggering on.”
1. Giving it away. This is the story of my life, or one of them: this week a longtime client wanted to do a video promo for a seminar I’ll be doing next month. And asked if I would write the copy, and do the video, because they “talked about it and agreed that I was better at these things than anyone on staff.” And I said yes. My wife and business partner things I’m a sap in such matters, and indeed, through the years I have given others the benefit of my time and talents without compensation to a ridiculous extent. This one of many reasons I will not be spending my golden years playing golf. It’s my fault, and only my fault. Once you get a reputation for giving your work away, people and organizations will take advantage of it.
2. Postcards from Cancel Culture Hell: Poet and writer Joseph Massey penned a exposition of his cancellation at the height of #MeToo—you know, before progressives decided that sexual harassment didn’t matter when it’s done by politicians they find useful. It’s a long essay, as is the linked essay about what he did that got him cancelled (not good), but his last section is worth remembering should the mob ever come for you. He writes,
The Roman poet Ovid, after he was exiled in 8 AD for pissing off Emperor Augustus, wrote: “they’ve stripped me of all they could take, / yet my talent remains my joy, my constant companion.” Companionship in joy that is invulnerable to any individual or mob, or worldly condition, is one sure way to save yourself from falling for the traps small minds have set before you. Set your mind on preserving the parts of you they can’t take away.
3. Let’s play “Idiot or Liar”... I have now heard Joe Biden say repeatedly that “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.” First of all, that’s not true; second, it’s a hackneyed reference to a generally derided opinion. (Ken White, who feels the way about this quote that I do about the “77 cents of every dollar” fake state, did an epic job dismantling it here.) Joe has a law degree, and either he doesn’t understand the point of the quote from Justice Holmes, or he’s deliberately misrepresenting it. Which is it? I have absolutely no idea.