CSotD: Unintended discussion of the meaning of life

(Peter Brookes)

(Ted Rall — Counterpoint)

A little political stuff to begin the day, but we’ll get over it. I thought Peter Brookes was clever to note the death of Cormac McCarthy and tie it in with Trump’s 77th birthday, but it amused me on a different level to see Ted Rall proclaim that Biden cannot possibly live to be 86, though his giving it the same certainty as Trump going to prison does somewhat blunt the prophecy.

Still, both the laugh and the salient point are in Brookes’s piece, given the drumbeat of “Biden’s too old, vote for Trump” we’re hearing from people who apparently feel that the three-plus years between them are relevant.

Trust me: Once you hit three-score-and-ten, it’s a roll of the dice, though I’ve always chuckled at obits that say “So-and-So, 93, died unexpectedly …”

It’s always out there, but there’s a point where it is no longer unexpected.

In this Candorville (KFS), Clyde explains a particular Protestant viewpoint about preparing for the expected/unexpected, which touches off a whole debate about grace vs works, which is really a debate over paying a lot of attention to Scripture about forgiveness while ignoring the “go thy way and sin no more” condition often attached thereto.

I’ve been behind cars with bumperstickers that say “Christians aren’t perfect — just forgiven” and thought they sure were tinkering with pride, which is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but then had to realize that judging them was pretty arrogant as well.

Meanwhile, over in Pearls Before Swine (AMS), Goat gives a one-panel explanation of Stoicism that would have fit in nicely with Tuesday’s commentary on how Seneca and Marcus Aurelius turned a simple philosophy into something complicated.

And Pig demonstrates that even a simple system gets rejected if it makes demands on people.

Drew Panckeri also makes things simple with a demonstration of where people in my age group are. I’ve got things down to a three-room apartment with two walk-in closets and still feel I need to get rid of stuff before the expected/unexpected arrives. There might be two pieces of pretty good furniture that one of the kids will want, but the rest will be going out and it won’t be listed in a Sotheby’s catalog when it does.

And going back to Biden and Trump, I am planning to live to 85 because I need to outlive the dog but not my savings.

I believe everyone should have goals.

Man Overboard is right, but it’s not my problem. My dad had the great good fortune to have a heart attack that almost took him out three years before he had the one that did.

In those three years, I think he hugged more people, and said “I love you” more times than he had in the 60-some that had come before, and he passed along to the rest of us the message that we might not be so lucky.

The joke being that he wouldn’t have had to do all that hugging. We already knew.

Which is pretty well the definition of a life well-lived.

All this philosophical talk would leave me unable to segue into less meaningful humor, but Jonesy comes to the rescue with the stirring tale of Aethelred the Oven Ready.

Not to be confused, of course, with Aethelred the Unready, who would keep us mired in all that talk about the expected and the unexpected and how to be properly prepared.

Aethlred the Oven Ready is a stirring tale because, to be properly prepared, it’s necessary to peel back the film after 500 years, stir him, and then replace the film and put him back for another 500 years.

That linked Wikipedia piece ruins everything by explaining, ‘His epithet does not derive from the modern word “unready“, but rather from the Old English unræd meaning “poorly advised”; it is a pun on his name, which means “well advised”.’

To which I would respond, “Well, la-di-da.”

Next they’ll be telling us that Charles the Fat was actually quite slim. Which they nearly do, saying that the nickname was added some 400 years later, which is disappointing, though, had you added it at the time, they might have begun referring to you as “The Headless.”

I prefer the Crow, who for some delightful reason allowed clans to name each other, so that you wound up with clans named things like “They Eat Their Own Snot,” “Kicked in the Balls” and “Bad War Honors.”

Anyone who believes the Hollywood stereotype that Indians never laugh has never been around Indians, but I still think the Crow deserve some sort of prize and that our history and society would be markedly different, and better, if we were more like them.

If nothing else, kids would enjoy history class more if they learned that President Star Banger had been succeeded by He Craps With The Door Open, who was in turn succeeded by Tricky Dick.

As it is, they don’t even get partial credit for that last one.

Speaking of school, I really like Wallace the Brave (AMS)‘s teacher, Mrs. MacIntosh, and I’m pleased that she added a graphic novel to the summer reading list, because it gives me an opening to link to this discussion of those things by my favorite terrific teacher turned highly successful author.

Back when I was visiting schools and Kate Messner was teaching middle school language arts, I got to visit her classroom and it was even more impressive than her subsequent career as a massively popular writer. Perhaps the best teacher I ever observed.

Meanwhile, I get a kick out of Rose objecting to graphic novels, because there is one of those kids in every classroom, reading massive classics they’re too young to possibly understand and listing them like trophy heads on a hunter’s wall.

I don’t know which is sadder: When they get into a prestigious college and are home by Christmas, or when they get into a prestigious college and continue to grind grind grind.

Chill, Linus: A little lowering of expectations now will work to your benefit later.

Thank goodness for intimate classroom sizes in small towns. A summer with Wallace and Spud will help Rose loosen up.

3 thoughts on “CSotD: Unintended discussion of the meaning of life

  1. Don’t get too schadenfreudie about Rose – she has enough of a grip on reality to come out all right even though it might be the opposite of Wallace’s.

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