The irony of life…

noodles

He stops, amid the last chew of his most delicious spaghetti dinner, realizing…he has suddenly, finally, figured it all out, his meaning to life, his purpose for living!!! He takes a huge gasp of inspiration, chokes on the noodles…and dies.

 

 

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What if…

What if there just absolutely isn’t any definitive answer to our angst-ridden, age-old, search for Truth!? What if we just were not meant to know, or that there simply just isn’t any answer to that immortal question? THAT, I think is the closest we will ever get to an answer, IMHO (in my humble opinion). An answer to the true meaning of life, I mean, of course. Knowing the uncertainty of it sort of makes it certain, doesn’t it?

ALS it is…

Yes, Bill has ALS. He tried to convince the doctor that his SEVEN falls in the past two years were due to his dog pulling him over during walks. Well, convincing, because Bill had a young “King Poodle” until a couple months ago. That dog almost pulled ME over the few times that I went up to visit Bill while he was still living close to me. “Would you mind taking Jimmy out for a walk?” he used to ask. Sure, I said. Damn dog tried to take ME for a walk until I smacked him on the snout and told him who was the boss.

Anyway, after the doctors appointment yesterday, which I was able to sit in on to listen, Bill acquiesced and agree that the doctor must be right (after the doctor said he was 99.9% certain that Bill has ALS, and added, “Oh by the way, Bill, I’m a ALS specialist”). Ok, I threw my two cents worth in there two to help Bill SEE the full picture.

Marvelous human nature! Bill still left the office optimistic, because the doc said he was referring him to an ALS clinic where they would be able to fix him up with a brace for his leg that would most assuredly help him to keep walking more steadily, for a while…

We went for lunch afterwards, as planned. Bill enjoyed the Dry Ribs and several of the beers.

Today, I got up early and hustled my arse around the building until about 3. Then I drove out to our swimming pool supply place and picked up all of the pool chemicals that we would need for the season and then stopped by the Red Cross Equipment supply place to pick up a 2 inch riser for Bills toilet seat that he really needed. I got to his place about 5, with a nice cold 6-pack of beer to celebrate the toilet-rising! It was a grand event.

Thank God for lifes simple blessings.

Old Bill…

Today I take my elderly (compared to me; he’s 75) friend, Bill, for his follow-up appointment with the Neurologist. I took him to his first appointment about 3 weeks ago. Surprisingly, the doctor invited me in then to “hear the news”. It wasn’t good news. He said, “I don’t have good news for you, Bill. In fact it’s very bad news. You have ALS, Bill”. Bill looked confused. “I thought I had Sciatica?” was all he could sputter, surely, amidst his overwhelming clouds of emotion, with a very confused, searching type of look on his face Meanwhile, I’m trying to remember what the fuck ALS is. I should have asked the doctor. I thought Bill might know. I’d ask him when we leave. He didn’t know. We had to Google it, right there in the bloody elevator as we were going down….

The doc said he wanted to run some tests to rule out “other things” that can mask as ALS, like AIDS. AIDS??? Bill??? Hardly!!! Then the doc said he was going on vacation for 6 weeks and wouldn’t be able to see Bill again until June 7th. That’s today. Meanwhile, two days after that appointment, Bill’s back feels better. He calls to tell me “good news”. No back pain, to Bill, means he doesn’t really has ALS. It’s Sciatica afterall! “Oh that’s great, Bill”. “Ya,” he says with childish delight. Post-script: I can still hear his desperately hopeful voice saying that to me now as I re-read this. (Feb 2018).

I know all the “Stages of Grief“. I first learned all that when I was a cop, then later at university in the plethora of Psychology and Sociology courses I took. Bill classically launched  into the “Denial” stage, and has stayed there for the last three weeks. At least he has been able to relax and have some hope for the last three weeks…

I think I’m more nervous this morning than Bill is. Assuming the doctor asks me in again, I know what I’m going to hear. The doctor didn’t say that Bill “might” have ALS a few weeks ago. He said, most definitively that he “HAS” ALS, but wanted to run those other tests, you know, to “rule out AIDS” and the like.

In the meantime I gotta say I’ve been struggling with my own mortality. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) usually strikes people in their prime. Think Lou Gehrig or Stephen Hawking. Bill’s actually lucky to be getting it so late in life. Once diagnosed, you have a 2 to 5 year lifespan left. There is no cure and sweet all medications to help with it. Not that I’m assuming that I will get it, or God knows what else. There are a host of diseases running around out there. But hey, I’m 57 and very healthy these days–since my near-death experience at 50. But seeing all this happen with my friend Bill really isn’t easy, for Bill especially, of course. I’m ok. At 11:30 this morning Bill isn’t going to be ok. I’ll take him for lunch afterwards to his favourite spot. They serve good beer there too, which I’m sure he will be far more interested in today than the food…

I realized this morning that I’ve lived a very sheltered life. Nevermind that I saw a boat-load of life for the short time that I was in the police department. Since then, I really have been insulated. I don’t know why. Well, our society seems to be built that way. We hide all of the nasty stuff, in sanitoriums or hospitals or rest homes. And I think the police department may have shocked me so much that I unconsciously insulated myself and closed my eyes to many of life’s vagaries and vicissitudes. Surprisingly, I think, in some weird sense, I’ve been missing something important. Time to open my eyes again me thinks, look-see, and write about it, starting this morning with Bill.

Post-script: Bill died in November 2017.

Midsummer’s Night…

Midsummer night, the birds alight….
Sunset’s now, I don’t know how, to express the thoughts yet so bright
The fields lay fallow but now aren’t shallow, they burst with life and little strife
Seedlings gone, now tall and strong, the sunflower leans and faces high
Cricket’s groan, upon their stones, frog’s all follow into the shallow
Bright moon waning, after such a showing
Too little that we’ll ever know
Not to matter, tomorrow is another day, that I say with crickets groaning, the frogs a croaking almost soaking in this and that and the other thing, another day for us to sing!

Sea of Humanity

Let us suppose we are all connected through consciousness. There are enough philosophies and modern day scientific theories out there that suggest that we are. Assuming those are or at least might be, true, then in a very real way, the people around us are aspects of ourselves. If we are all “one mind” then it follows that everyONE is in essence, ourselves. How we treat others then becomes a reflection of how we treat ourselves. And how we treat ourselves in turn is how we are treating others.

For example, most everyone is afraid of death, of dying. One of the ways we can soothe ourselves, altruistically, is to soothe others, to be a good friend, to be a happy face, to be a good listener. We are all in this together. Compassion is knowing this and reaching out. In so doing, we are helping ourselves as well — helping ourSELF, the whole sea of humanity.

 

Life and the Spectrum of Consciousness

When we look in the mirror, we can see ourselves and know that we exist, that we have a independent identity, an independent awareness of life. What does a worm think when it looks at itself in the mirror? How could we possibly know that!? No one knows how to communicate with a worm! But is it aware of itself like we are? The answer is not “No”! The answer is that we don’t know!

I believe that consciousness—awareness—exists throughout the entire spectrum of life-forms. Recent studies have shown that many animals seem to have a sense of being self-aware, (especially dolphins incidentally). But it is not “self” awareness that I’m talking about here. I think that the total spectrum of consciousness is actually “Life” being aware of ITSELF.

A worm experiences the world completely differently than we do. Birds, elephants, snakes, flies, even single celled amoeba’s see and experience the world in a different way than we do. Bat’s and dolphins “see” with their ears! Each life-form has their own unique means of living and experiencing the world. There is even evidence to suggest that plant-life is in some sense aware.

If we put all of these forms of life together—all of the things that are “alive”, that have the life-force within them—from plants, to amoeba’s, to insects, to reptiles to fish to dolphins and whales, to mammals to humans—if we add all of those individual experiences together, isn’t it possible that the total sum equals the whole? Our separate awareness might instead be Life looking through us at itself! The only way that life could in any sense be "aware" of itself in totality, would be by creating the entire spectrum of plant and animal species, making us its witnesses, its observers, seeing itself through our eyes: Life itself seeing itself, as it totally is.

An exciting concept, don’t you think? Something to think about.

T.