I don’t like opening these posts with the same line I use in the headline, but I’ll make an exception here and say, well, sometimes I find it weird how people go about their lives.
Here’s what I mean: The above image features my great uncle, Harry Pearlman, from his wedding night way back in the 1940s. I can’t tell if the photo is Uncle Harry going, “Wink, wink—I’m married so now the hanky-panky happens” or Uncle Harry going, “I see you there with your Kodak Brownie, so I’ll pose with the sign on the door.” Either way, it’s in the late hours of the night, post-wedding to my Great Aunt Evelyn (absolutely lovely people, to be clear).
Anyhow, I’m sure—just as I felt in the immediate aftermath of my wedding in 2002—Uncle Harry was filled with optimism, excitement, hopes, anticipations. And now, some 70 years later, he and Great Aunt Evelyn are both deceased. They no longer walk or talk or breathe or smile and groan. They are extinct and gone, and while it’s part of life and we all accept it as such, the thought still brings me genuine sadness.
That’s why, once again, I find it weird how people go about their lives. Because there’s this cloud hanging above us all, and no matter how many films we see, tattoo parlors we visit, tequilas we drink, baseball games we attend, bee stings we endure … we’ll be eternally dead. Gone. Extinct. It’s not a hypothetical. It’s not a what-if. It’s there, looming and lingering and taunting us with its harsh bellow of reckoning. Or, as Virgil (who is quite dead) once, said, “Death twitches in my ear; ‘Live,’ he says … ‘I’m coming.'”
So when I see images like the one above, I’m both inspired and depressed. Inspired because it makes me want to live with color and zest and passion.
Depressed because, even if I live with color and zest and passion, it can only go so far.
Ultimately, I’ll be dead, too.