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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My NEXT Great Idea ~ Let's Play a Word Game, Guys!

Remember me, the kid who greeted other kids not with "Hi", but with "I've got an idea"? So I'm feeling just a tiny bit frustrated these days. Oh, I'll survive it and it's not going to be my excuse to pick up a drink, but I feel it a little. I get up really early to get ready for work. I work nonstop for several hours, jump up, navigate the streets of the city (ugh), pick up Jennifer, go to the library or wherever we've decided we'll pop into for the day, go to AA to fill my reserve tank, sometimes have to stop at Fresh & Easy or get my hair cut or whatever . . there isn't much time left in a day. I am pent up with words and ideas I want to get onto the blog and have not yet figured out how to make time to accomplish. But that's not exactly what this post is for.

I hold my sweet-natured little she-car - Lucy Sue - in similar esteem to that in which I hold my sweet-natured little she-cat, Virginia Woolf. Both of these girls have belonged to me only, not shared custody with anyone else. They rely upon me for their needs and I've managed to meet them, apparently, because both seem in good condition. When I stopped drinking and my life started to flow down the drain, Lucy Sue did what many alcoholics attempt unsuccessfully. She cut back on her drinking. For most of a year, I put in $10 of gas and it lasted a month. I wasn't going much of anywhere. Yes, I noticed all the signs on the gas stations. I knew gas prices were obscene. But I wasn't doing higher math. $10 is just $10. "How much will it cost to fill up my 12-gallon tank?" is another matter altogether. So I pulled in Wednesday, slid my card, used my preferred customer discount and started the pump. Man, it costs a lot to fill a tiny tank with fuel! Who knew? And - I swear this is true - I heard an audible reaction from Lucy Sue. She either groaned or emitted a little paroxysm of sated delight. She'd not felt so well-endowed in a long time. But that's not exactly what this post is for, either.

I love final resting places. Anyone's final resting place. Whether it's catacomb or crypt, graveyard or Golgotha, mausoleum or memorial park, I take great pleasure in communing with the departed. No, I'm not morbid. I don't want to imagine anything unpleasant. I simply want to weave through the rows, reading headstones and memorial plaques, imagining the people and their lives and those who cared about them. I've spent hours in the desert observing tiny ersatz funerary grounds and have been profoundly moved by what I saw there. I've slithered on my belly like a snake in pyramids both in Egypt and Mexico, viewed vast green  plots with the white markers for fallen soldiers in several places in the world, and - oh, the promised land - St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Beneath the beautiful structure consecrated in 1708, sitting
  there atop Ludgate Hill, the fifth structure known as St. Paul's is a place of great beauty, the tallest building in all of London until 1962, and possessing one of the world's largest domes, still. The stained glass is breathtaking and the American Memorial Chapel touching - remember, the Brits eventually became pretty affectionate toward us Yanks. St. Paul's fills me up with holiness, and I am not speaking of religion, as I don't do religion. At all. A person would have to be soulless, however, not to find something to love at St. Paul's.

After an awe-inspiring look around, almost always accompanied by profound silence from nearly every visitor, one descends to the crypt. Oh, here lie Lord Nelson, cheek by jowl with the Duke of Wellington and Lawrence of Arabia. There are the painters, Van Dyck and Sir Joshua Reynolds, poet laureate Nahum Tate (died 1715) . . my mind goes a mile a minute. The best memorial, however, houses
Sir Christopher Wren who designed the fifth St. Paul's, most of the prior structures having been consumed by fires dating as far back as the year 936. Wren's monument is unassuming dark marble, words inscribed: "Lector, si monumentum requiris circumspice". "Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you." I have never visited his resting place that his grave was not covered in fresh roses or daffodils, laid across the marble, bright punctuation on the deep-toned marble. Cathedral workers remove the floral overflow hourly. And all of that is sort of what this post is for.

Now, let's play the game. Imagine you have left the building, never to return. Those who loved you wish to construct a fitting commemorative tribute to the wonderful person who was you. What will it say? What will it look like? You are restricted to a headline of your choice (like I've used "Here lies Les" below) and 10 words to tell about your essence. Here is mine. Long may I lie in peace.

In my ears right now: Otis. If you don't love Otis, then I feel sorry for you.

Special thanks to esteemed Word Woman, Rachel Fenton, who recently applied the words "quirky" and "droll" to me. I can't claim those as my own brilliance.



    There was more to him than met the eye.

    bon appetit!

  2. @ Kirk ~ My friend, I do love it when you indulge me! I imagine if I'd come bounding along, hollering "Hey, I've got an idea!", you'd have been one of the kids who thought "Yay!"

    Nietzsche quote for you: "It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms."

    Well done epitaph, Kirk!

  3. Man, it costs a lot to fill a tiny tank with fuel...

    I caught a ride with my brother once in his van, we stopped at a gas station and it cost $80 dollars to fill it up. My jaw fell on the ground.

  4. @ BeachBum ~ Hey, Beach, up until about a year ago, I was managing a carpet cleaning company. We ran a fleet of large, powerful vans filled with steam cleaning equipment which also ran on gasoline. As I grew more familiar with our business, preparing budgets, expense and income statements, I made an observation: "We're going to need a credit card with a higher limit." The technicians turned in their receipts each day they purchased gas on the company card. It was unbe-freaking-lievable.

  5. Haha, Les - I didn't invent those words either - though I have invented a few alternate meanings for some! x

    With a name like Otis, he could only belong in the ear. Love him. This track in particular.

    I think I'd like to be cremated (like is not the right word here but it's better than ending up 'On Ilkley Moor Baht'at'; then tworms'll come an' eyt thi up....then ducks'll come an' eyt up tworms..')

    But I like this game so I'll play along as if I were planning on leaving a lasting memorial (which is not to say I'm not but a marble book is quite the tome/tomb.

    I thought something wasn't right
    Alas I wasn't ready.
    Lasting first doubt.
    My final words lie heavy.

  6. @ Rachel Fenton/Snow Like Thought: Oh, dear friend ~ oh, Rae. I shall have so much to say . oh, the volume of tears . . oh.

  7. I'm going to use somebody else's words

    There were three men went down the road
    as down the road went he:
    the man they saw
    the man he was
    the man he meant to be
    - John Masefield

  8. @ Mike ~ I love you, my dear friend. THAT is an exquisite quote, if I may be counted in as "the man". Perfectly beautiful for those such as we, eh?

  9. Here I lie,
    Dead and rotten;
    Long gone,
    And well forgotten.

  10. @ the Badger ~ that's a pretty harsh assessment of one's lasting impact, Badge. I think I'm going to reject it on the grounds that 1) it goes 11 words and you're only allowed 10; and 2)you deserve to be celebrated after you're gone, like most everyone else.