On life’s caprice

Guest editorial: Karen Joly

My wife, Karen, wrote this piece yesterday and I suggested she allow me to publish it for our blog readers. I think she speaks to many of us of life’s whacky incertitude and our need to get on with life each day in the here and now. RJ

A 22 year old Texas A&M football player was killed Thursday when he swerved to avoid a vulture in the road and ran into an 18 wheeler head-on. He had, earlier in the day, been with his teammates as they delivered packages to the needy.

I am over twice his age and yet I think about how short a time my 58 years seem…how I have articles of clothing or even pots and pans that are older than he will ever be..and it comes to me that, in the grander scheme of this planet’s history, how minuscule, how truly fleeting our lives are.

Why did this kid, Joseph, only get 22 years? Why have I made it safely to 58 thus far? And then there’s Dad. Saturday he will be officially just eight years shy of the century mark. Granted, some days he barely knows what’s going on, but he still “is.”

I delude myself daily with some false sense of security, avoiding the reality of my own mortality, a denial born out of my fear of winking into oblivion as those who have gone before me: Mother, all my grandparents, Steve Jobs, Elizabeth I, Aristotle, and billions of nameless others who left this world, some after mere seconds, some beyond a century…all of them gone nonetheless.

See, I love life. Beats the alternative. In fact, I’d give anything to spend every day that is left to me doing what I did this afternoon: riding a saddlebred around the arena…walking, trotting, and cantering until my toes are numb, my arms fatigued, my legs absolute rubber. I may have been riding only nine years, but I can say without hesitation that life would suck worse than a two-bit whore if I had to give it up.

Also, I love my life with RJ. He is a good, kind, fiercely loyal man. He is hardheaded, passionate, and spoils me rotten. In our 18 years of marriage, we have enjoyed more fun times than not…and I look forward to as many more as good fortune will allow us. (Because that’s what it is after all: fortune…fate…chance…metaphorically, a roll of the dice.)

Though I’ll take what I can get, the Karen model comes with this caveat: Driver is highly competitive and exceedingly greedy.

Author: RJ

Retired English prof (Ph. D., UNC), who likes to garden, blog, pursue languages (especially Spanish) and to share in serious discussion on vital issues such as global warming, the role of government, energy alternatives, etc. Am a vegan and, yes, a tree hugger enthusiastically. If you write me, I'll answer.

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