Do Not Offend Tomorrow

Posted on August 16, 2013. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Twice I got to see my tomorrow.  This is the first one.

Twice I got to see my tomorrow. This is the first one.

Today’s proverb:  As the twig is bent, so grows the tree

Your words for the day:

  • guile = deviousness; cunning; deceit
  • innocent = noun:  one devoid of guile

The reality of the world into which we are born results from the actions of previous generations coping with their own brand of realities.  By “reality,” I refer to the social and environmental conditions into which each is flung.  Neophytes all, that specific reality that cradles our early growth becomes the standard to which we expect our entire lives to adhere…   Talk about a pitcher of ice-water in the face.

Existence is a dynamo pumping out change with every passing instant.  The childhood reality that dresses us for the School of Life is but the first of a long list of nannies destined to take us aside and explain the way Life really is.

Thus the chorus of lamentations resulting from these icy dousings:

  • The end times are near (every generation seems to have a new crop of doom’s day prophets).
  • The world is going to hell in a hand basket.
  • What is the world coming to?
  • Repent!  The end is near…   again.
  • I just don’t know anymore.
  • What is this younger generation thinking?

Not to be outdone, the younger generation, dripping from its first icy baptism, points an accusing finger at that previous generation and says, “Don’t tell ME how to do things; look at the mess YOU’VE made of the world!”

Truth is, the social fabric that defines humankind is a complex weave, and, as populations increase, so does the complexity of that weave.  Life moves toward Tomorrow, and humankind will move with it for better or for worse.  The efforts of any one individual or group to change the overall pattern will be overshadowed by the sheer numbers of strands being woven in simultaneously.  TODAY is the culmination of eons upon eons of Yesterdays, yet, it is merely the single starting point for a still-theoretical Tomorrow.  On and on the march of change continues, in spite of the useless exercises of fist shaking and whines of self-pity.

Statistically speaking, most of us (say…   99.9999 and a whole bunch more 9’s %) will have no appreciable effect on the avalanche of Time’s passage that, at first, carries each of us along, then — and quite matter-of-factly — buries all of us beneath the ruble of Yesterday.  That very same percentage will not even rate a footnote in the pages of history.

All that we can expect to influence are those persons and things that physically surround us, and, we can only do that in the time we are ultimately allotted.  If we are to paint the Wind of Time in colors that scream “Me!  Me!  Me!” we have to work fast.  In spite of what our conscious state tells us, we do NOT have forever.  The wind is a fickle medium anyway.

If yours was not the voice of the horrified announcer at the Hindenburg disaster, it is not likely that it will disturb the airwaves much when you are under the topsoil.  If you were not videoed naked on the White House lawn during a presidential inauguration, it is not likely that your form will be seen by large audiences for very long after your funeral.  Being a hit in the future is awfully hard if you are not there to toot your horn or run naked in public.  “Now” is where it is at.

Humanity of Yesterday extended itself into uncounted Tomorrows, all of which constitute TODAY.  It will continue into unknown Tomorrows in only one way — in the impressionable minds and voices of TODAY’s children.  Most of us will accompany them for at least a short distance into the mystery of the future, but, the major part of that journey is theirs, and theirs alone, to make.  Humanity’s children are Humanity’s Tomorrow, and they will inherit what TODAY leaves them.

As a very small part of TODAY, I can’t really bequeath much to Tomorrow.  About all I can do is to make a favorable impression on TODAY’s messengers to Tomorrow.  If a child smiles at me, I smile back.  If it* speaks to me, I respond, whether with “goo, goo, goo,” or “What’s the name of the pet dinosaur you are holding?”  If it stares at me, I give it a wink.  I just do stuff to make them smile or giggle rather than shrink away, dubious of my intentions.  Neither ethnicity nor economic status is a factor in my offering of goodwill.  I try to connect favorably with all children I encounter.  It is the only way I can influence Tomorrow.

If I do not offend Tomorrow today, then Tomorrow may not have to look back at me and say, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.”**

_____________

* it = he or she

** “Well…   into.”  A recurring line I remember from old Laurel and Hardy movies…   no, I did not attend the original screenings.

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The Missing Bookend

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: Humor, Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

What kid doesn’t want a horse?  How many kids actually get a horse?  It’s not like you can keep them in the house or apartment, ’cause paper training is — to borrow a term from the canine scene — a real bitch.  Forget newspapers.  Think snow shovel.  While the aroma of those scoopings may be several degrees “more pleasant” than that of traditional carnivorous pets, I’m betting that, for tedium, sheer quantity trumps malodorous every time.  There are probably other disadvantages to keeping a 16-hand ungulate tethered to your bed post, but, I forget what they are right now.

The virtual horsey, though, is a staple of childhood.  It gets staked out in that place where every child spends most of its time, that realm of fantasy called imagination.  No snow shovels required there.  Those guys neither eat nor (in the words of televisions’s detective Adrian Monk) un-eat.  All they do is carry the child’s imagination into one adventure after another without the baggage of troublesome chores.

From my childhood, I recall a set of bookends that were cast in metal into the shape of a saddled horse nibbling grass from around its front feet.  Not the best pose for riding into adventure, but, it was workable.  With index- and middle finger astraddle the saddle,  the free hand took that steed in a gallop into all sorts of action.  Yes, indeed, I did get that horse my child-side always wanted.

But there was a rift between fantasy and reality.  My valiant steed had but a single chore to do, and, that was to keep my parents’ books arranged neatly on the shelf.   Going out to play with me left that single chore undone, and, those books sorta got in a state of disarry.  When adventure time was done, I had to straighten those books and slip that bookend back into place so that order and neatness reigned again.  And, I wouldn’t get grounded.

Flash forward a couple of decades (eh, maybe more), and look back at that bookshelf in both a state of order and a state of disarray.  Two bookends equaled order and neatness; one bookend, however, had order near it, but, the farther out you went from it, apparent order became blurred in a heap.  And, I thought…

Life is what happens between two bookends, birth and death.  The longer I travel the road of LIFE, more and more “books” are left behind me.  At some point, the disarray of NOW sort of props up the books behind me so that I can see childhood, teens, military service, whatever, as clean-cut accounts of my journey.  But, the muck of the recent past and the uncertainty inherent in NOW lends an air of disorder to my present path, and, that breeds angst, frustration, hope, satisfaction…??   Hey!  That’s LIFE, isn’t it?  And, my life only has one bookend…

Now, where’s that bottle?  Got the glass.  Ah, there it is!  A red wine from Georgia (the country, not the state).  Pour it into the glass…  Okay!  A toast to that missing bookend:  “May your playtime last a long, long time.  Don’t take it personal, but, that chaotic bookshelf looks just fine without you.”

Next up:  Pismire

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