Monday, July 23, 2012

A regrouping weekend and a ‘meh’ day

Meh catEither I’m in love with your daughter or I have a newfound respect for life.

~~ Martin Blank, “Grosse Pointe Blank”

We just hunkered down here at Nutwood this weekend and didn’t go anywhere. I’m afraid we didn’t even go out Friday night to hear my buddy Jim’s band. I wrote and apologized to him, and he was cool with it. I just did not have it in me to be sociable. As is so often the case, Nutwood was our sanctuary, and we spent a quiet weekend here with each other. It was exactly what I needed, and I was grateful for the opportunity.

I had a dream over the weekend that I was talking to a friend (I think it was my former coworker Mary L.) about beginning to feel my mortality. It was couched in terms of the movies I watch and the books I read, and how I don’t want to watch or read just any old thing these days...I want to try to read worthwhile things, or watch movies that make me think, or mean something. That’s actually a pretty big tent for me, because even a movie that isn’t deep and philosophical has significance for me. (Remember, I consider “Star Trek” as envisioned by Gene Roddenberry to be a fantastic idea of what our future can be, if we manage to work together and put aside our differences.) I find enjoyment and meaning in many things. That’s not saying that there isn’t plenty to be said for watching something totally silly, like Monty Python or “I Love Lucy,” because there is also joy in laughter. I suppose it’s no wonder that I’m feeling the time crunch a little more lately, as I approach my 50th birthday. Chances are good that I’ve lived more of my life already than I will live going forward. That’s kind of sobering.

Seeing so many young people lose their lives on Friday only brought that lesson even closer. I’ve lived twice as long, or longer, than many of them. That is just so upsetting to me. No life filled with promise, no person who is loved and loves others, should have to be the victim of such a tragedy. But I know that is reality. That doesn’t mean anyone has to be complacent about it, let alone happy.

Today was another quiet day, as I continued to hunker down here on a hot and humid day. Although I left the TV off all day, I saw pictures of and stories about the shooter. I’ve read speculation that he did this because he didn’t have God in his life, and I’ve read speculation that he did it because he DID have God in his life, and was poisoned by religion. I think it’s very premature to start this sort of speculation, because he is not talking, and even if he were, the psychologist or psychiatrist evaluating him wouldn’t be able to speak about it. I think it’s obvious that there was some sort of mental illness there, but it’s infuriating to see people trying to figure out from a picture or video what is going on with him, or speculate as to his motivation. But I suppose that is to be expected after something like this.

I also read about the NCAA sanctions on Penn State, and as I have thought so many times as this story unfolded, I’m glad my Dad isn’t here to see this. Dad admired Joe Paterno, and it would have just torn him up to see this horrible inaction on Paterno’s part. It sounds like the NCAA did their best to help the student-athletes as they further their studies and sports careers, either at Penn State or elsewhere. I was happy to see that.

It wasn’t a total bad news kind of day. From President Obama, we heard the story of the young woman who saved her best friend’s life by applying pressure to her neck wound. We saw pictures of a human fence at the Aurora vigil in order to block the Westboro Baptist idiots. We saw Eagle Scouts returning their medals to the Boy Scouts in objection to their homophobic policy. We got some rain locally this morning, and it was a good day, although hot and humid enough that I didn’t have tons of energy. I think I’m just a bit more grateful today that I am still here to enjoy it.