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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Life is...

Life is a signature on a paycheck. For those of us in the working class we put in our hours and do the best we can. The days pass and often unexpected expenses demand our attention. There's never enough yet somehow in spite of that we make ends meet. The luckier ones in the working class even manage to put away a little for retirement, college for the kids, maybe even a vacation trip to somewhere exciting. When the universe turns upside down, you can expect the great majority of us to land on our feet.

Life is standing in line for a handout. Whether it's the unemployment line, the welfare line, or the soup line, for many people it's the only game in town. There's no retirement plan, no college, no exciting travel, but on the bright side, there's no responsibility, no demands on their time, no unwelcome expectations. These people are just going through the motions of life, like one of those sad reality televisions shows, except with none of the fame and no attention at all. Like flies on the ceiling, they just kind of hang around annoying people. When the universe turns upside down—and that right soon—they'll all be powerless, hungry, and confused. These people won't go quietly into that good night. This is of course why countries throughout history that have gone bankrupt run out of other people's money, have presaged coups and long periods of tumultuously violent upheaval...because useless people especially love to watch the world burn.

Life is a glass of Champaign served by an immaculate servant bearing it on a silver tray. The rich worry about everything and yet have nothing to worry about. They worry about global warming, sustainability, the decisions of their politician, priest, chancellor, broker, dean, and neighbor. Actually, to tell you the truth, I have no idea what they worry about. Maybe it's all one big charade and they hate fish eggs as much as I'm sure I would if I was ever stupid enough to actually put something like that in my mouth. When the universe turns upside down, they'll already have gotten the bulletin and they'll have already arranged to be somewhere else when it happens.

My parents used to say: "Life is a shit sandwich. The more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat." Pithy and cynical, but ultimately untrue. When it comes to problems, everybody has them. It's just that the rich and the poor have different ones. In my opinion, the ultimate truth is that everybody has a different opinion. If you're the kind of person who enjoys reality shows and/or soap operas, that means you like watching people bicker and fight, betray each other, and screw. That's only my opinion, mind you. Even if it's also actually true.

Life is a camouflaged steel and Kevlar helmet with a bullet crease along one side. It's walking around with your shoulders hunched and eyes flicking side to side, side to side. It's sand between your toes and between your teeth. It's waiting and praying and looking forward to simple things like a hot meal instead of a room temperature MRE. It's phone calls home and letters. And waiting. Waiting to live, waiting to die. When the universe turns upside down, the soldiers will salute the first man standing and they'll call him sir.

For mothers life is a baby's laugh. For players it's home run. For teachers it's a classroom hanging on every word. For movie stars it's a red carpet. For me it's a rib-eye medium rare and a loaded baked potato with cheddar cheese, butter, sour cream, and real bacon bits. Life is good it's bad it's somewhere in the middle. Life is getting old. Ultimately life is dying. As Agee from The Twilight Zone would say: "There's a destiny that shapes our ends, rough hewn though it may be."

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