Comedian Dana Carvey once said TV is so powerful that you could put an orange on NBC for an hour every Wednesday night at 8 pm and eventually people would point and say, “Hey, isn’t that the orange on NBC?”
And there I was. Ready to enjoy the first day of March Madness in the comfort of my sanctuary, my castle, surrounded by the finest cans of Dr. Pepper, a box of Black Pepper Triscuits, and a variety of the best cheeses that Safeway has to offer. Nothing and nobody was going to interrupt my day, not even Mother, who has a penchant for calling right in the middle of major sports events, especially the Super Bowl. God bless her though, she’s only doing what Mothers do best. Apart from watching Doc Martin and all the going-ons in Port Isaac, Cornwall, I don’t think she’s aware of too many big TV or sports events, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Supposedly though, I am the kooky one when it comes to liking the Doc Martin TV series. A lot of people do like the show and it has quite the following; however, for me I don’t get the silliness and the exaggerated characters. But hey, what do I know. The last time I checked it wasn’t much.
Now back to my post-modern self-indulgence and my post-modern addiction to Dr. Pepper. It would be my kryptonite if I were ever Superman, which of course I am not and won’t be any time soon. So, therefore, I declare the addiction to salubrious.
Even though I consider myself religious, I can’t help but notice that there is quite of bit of post-modernism thinking and behavior that slips into my life. The good news is I have eyes to see it when it’s happening and can take action to reverse the tide. But at this moment, I am expecting for little from myself. And because I am living in the moment of my prevailing passions I am feeling very authentic. Curse the truth! Curse reality! It’s all about desire and this makes me, on this particularly innocent day, both foolish and dangerous, a demon of disorder and destruction, which is another reason I figure it’s best to “shelter in place”.
By all that is good, I start to feel like I should be doing something around the house to make myself a useful and equal partner. So to be a contributor, I get up during commercial breaks and put the dishes in the dishwasher, put away some of my stuff in the living room, and to demonstrate my humanity throw a feeble handful of kibbles in the dogs’ dishes. And then when my wife-a living, breathing earth angel-sits down after doing our laundry and cooking our dinner, I announce all the things I did to help our around the house just in case she didn’t notice. That’s the last thing I need is to have her to harsh my mellow by going all ape on me for not doing my part around the house. Sheesh! Who needs that headache?
But the chores alone don’t soothe my conscience, my uneasy mind realizes I could be doing more and I know it. Why am I being bothered by this primordial backward guilt at this most inconvenient time? I couldn’t tell you but it vexes me for sure. But, all of the sudden I am realizing I could be doing more enduring things and strengthening worldwide brotherhood by going out and enjoying friends, or visiting family, or even better providing some type of service to my fellowman. I should be out visiting a senior home or Adult Care Center hanging out with some elderly man, named Bud, Red or Whitey, who doesn’t get many visits anymore. Talking for hours about his youth and about how he grew up on the farm, and how he spent a summer on a traveling team riding in one of those old uncomfortable and hot Greyhound buses. And all of that would be good, I think, as long as I have control of the TV remote and we watch March Madness while he is talking and I am listening facing the TV- with the volume down, of course. Alas! Take away this post-modernist creep from me.
God gave us a world unfinished, so that we
might share in the joys and satisfactions of
He left oil in Trenton rock.
He left electricity in the clouds.
He left the rivers unbridged–and the mountains
He left the forests unfelled and the cities
He left the laboratories unopened
He left the diamonds uncut.
He gave us the challenge of raw materials,
not the satisfaction of perfect, finished
He left the music unsung and the dramas un-
He left the poetry undreamed, in order that
men and women might not become bored,
but engage in stimulating, exciting, creative
activities that keep them thinking, working,
experimenting, and experiencing all the joys
and durable satisfactions of achievement.
-Allen A. Stockdale
Sometimes when I am feel like all I do is work and my life is unbalanced between family, work, and other fun things that middle aged men do and I am feeling unfulfilled and little sorry for myself, I ask said self in the immortal words of Peggy Lee’s classic song Is that All There is?
As I sit there impatiently waiting for answers, allowing depression to creep into my dark chambers, I decide to live dangerously and eat a bowl full of Jell-O while I am lying on my back on the couch, the selfsame couch my wife—a true angel from Heaven if there ever was—has told me not to eat on many, many times. Foolish ignoring her the possibility of incurring her wrath, I begin to think more and more about my so-called life. And I start to question things and think upon this crazy planet and all six million plus people that I share with it, questioning what kind of man I am? Am I a man of God? Am I a man of Science? Or am I both? Is that even possible in a country that now seems to be simultaneously anti-faith and anti-reason?
Continuously, living between the profane and mundane, constantly wrestling with my own humanity, I wonder would I even know God if I found him. Would I recognize Him for all that He is and would recognize how much He has helped me in my life? Now I know that whether or not I find God, He is searching me out to live up to my potential and do some kind of good in this World.
There are times, though, that I know when I want to remain hidden in the background, remain in my secret places and let much of this world pass me by. I’m like please, Lord, don’t find me now I am not in the best shape and prefer to stay in my comfort zone. But still challenges and opportunities are laid before me and I have choices, sigh! always choices. But, from what I understand of God from the Ancients, He does not force us to be good any more than the Prince of Darkness, the Charming Devil himself, makes us do bad things. God does not force us into Heaven. We’ve been given wide berth to be stupid, foolish, naughty, bad, very bad, very, very bad and just plain evil. And from what I can tell of my life so far I’ve taken full advantage of the opportunities to be daft, shortsighted, and just plain beastly.
“And you could have it all My empire of dirt I will let you down I will make you hurt…”
But as hard as I’ve tried I cannot do wrong and feel right because of the light of Christ I was born with just like as everyone else. I cannot give pain and gain pleasure, that’s pure fantasy and poppycock. It’s perverted and corrupt to think otherwise. And thank goodness God is not fleeting just because my flesh is more often than not more willing than my spirit. And thank goodness, God and His existence are not threatened—like we mere mortals are— by mercurial faith, insecurities, questioning and sometimes the insistence that science and logic be the tools to prove His existence. What hubris we have to dazzle in vain. I feel doubly blessed that God’s is long-suffering and forever patient with me. If I am wise enough I should be passing those qualities forward to the throng of humanity I encounter on my pilgrimage through this tired and weary World and see life as God sees life:
“One human life is as precious as a million lives, for each is infinite in value.”