My godfather, Uncle George, was in a motorcycle accident this past weekend. He has always loved riding motorcycles, and I love seeing faded old pictures of him back in his (how my Mom phrases it) “old hippie dog days” sitting on his bike, wearing a long braid and a full beard. When he retired, he bought a Harley, and his greatest pleasure in life, besides being with his granddaughter, is riding his Hog. This past weekend, he was at a stop sign, and a young driver (she’d had her permit for two weeks) somehow lost control of her car and jumped the median and ran into him, mangling his leg. The doctors will make their final assessment tomorrow about whether or not to amputate. After hearing the news yesterday about the potential loss of his limb, he (understandably) was not in the mood for visitors, so I haven’t been able to see him and show him some love. He has always been such a wonderful uncle to me. He consistently goes out of his way to support, encourage, and motivate me. He is a patient, kind, gentle, hardworking man. Please pray for him (or send good vibes/thoughts/juju). Let waves of positivity find themselves in his hospital room.
GAWD DAMN IT! I DID NOT intend on the message of this post being so damn palpably real for me right now! Blast! I just lost my Internet connection as well as the rest of this essay. ANGER. ANGER. ANGER. Ok, I will start over. Because life is unfair.
Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Take Two, aaaaaaand ACTION:
My youngest sister welcomed little Ella Jean into the world this past weekend. She is just a little doll baby, and my sis and bro-in-law are just in awe of her. She is especially miraculous since her parents had to endure the emotional and financial strife of In Vitro Fertilization. Last year I had a student who was a bit of a sociopath, and she got pregnant. After she turned in her two-sentence “essay” that said something to the effect of “having five in my mom,” I remember thinking: “REALLY, bitch? Really? YOU and your fertile, wicked womb can so easily bring a child into this world, and my sister has to spend thousands of dollars and shed thousands of tears to bring a child into a stable, loving home?” Digression–> I wish I would have asked Knocked-Up Sociopath if she meant A) five fingers in my mom or B) five inches of dick in my mom. Another digression–> I think that one of the hallmarks of a good teacher is accepting the fact that some kids are douchebags (A very witty colleague once said that there is a class of students known as the doucheouisie). BUT even those kids deserve the best education possible. Little Susie Brown-Noser and Little Johnnie Dickhole both deserve my best pedagogical efforts. I really do wish the best for K.U.S., and I hope she has a good life and is a good mother.
Life is unfair, but it has to be unfair. The world needs balance. If there was only one element, we’d be at an uncomfortable tilt at all times. Remember in ninth grade English class when you read Friar Lawrence’s soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 3 in Romeo and Juliet? (I’m sure you’re nodding your head ‘yes’). While tending to his garden, he says,
The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And fleckled darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,
I must upfill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juicèd flowers.
The earth, that’s nature’s mother, is her tomb.
What is her burying, grave that is her womb.
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities.
For naught so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give.
Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime by action dignified.
If you need Sparknotes, that’s OK:
The smiling morning is replacing the frowning night. Darkness is stumbling out of the sun’s path like a drunk man. Now, before the sun comes up and burns away the dew, I have to fill this basket of mine with poisonous weeds and medicinal flowers. The Earth is nature’s mother and also nature’s tomb. Plants are born out of the Earth, and they are buried in the Earth when they die. From the Earth’s womb, many different sorts of plants and animals come forth, and the Earth provides her children with many excellent forms of nourishment. Everything nature creates has some special property, and each one is different. Herbs, plants, and stones possess great power. There is nothing on Earth that is so evil that it does not provide the earth with some special quality. And there is nothing that does not turn bad if it’s put to the wrong use and abused. Virtue turns to vice if it’s misused. Vice sometimes becomes virtue through the right activity.
As Forrest Gump coined, “shit happens.” Sometimes you’re 35 and get breast cancer and you have to get your tits chopped off and your hair grows back grey after chemo. But that experience reminds you of how blessed you are in terms of the loved ones in your life. Sometimes the best musicians die (while Nickelback continues to perform), but then epic Prince dance parties happen all over the world.
I leave you with one of my favorite poems. It is from Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 Spoon River Anthology, a collection of poems told from the perspective of fictional characters buried in the town’s cemetery.
I went to the dances at Chandlerville,
And played snap-out at Winchester.
One time we changed partners,
Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,
And then I found Davis.
We were married and lived together for seventy years,
Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,
Eight of whom we lost
Ere I had reached the age of sixty.
I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick,
I made the garden, and for holiday
Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,
And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,
And many a flower and medicinal weed —
Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.
At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you —
It takes life to love Life.
It takes life to love Life. ♥
*Potential band names: “Old Hippie Dog Days” (would be a jam band) or “Little Johnny Dickhole” (punk)