The Meaning of Life Is What You Make It Be

I wish I could say I haven’t been blogging the past three days because H. is here for the week and I’m devoting all my time to her. But it isn’t so. A few hours after my last post, my internet went down. I reported the incident to the company and they gave me a tracking number and say they’re working on it, but that proves nothing. I say I’m working on my German.

It is now 6:11 a.m., and I am here sitting in the kitchen again as H. sleeps. She thinks I’m a freak for waking up at such ungodly hours all the time, but I’ve been institutionalized. For 16 years, I owned and operated a construction equipment rental business in South Florida, and had to be there at 7 a.m. everyday. I’m still on that clock. Wednesday, however, I slept in till 9:37 and was very proud of myself. It meant I had slept 8 hours and 37 minutes. Or so I thought. H. told me later we didn’t actually get home until 3:15 a.m., and I believe her because I don’t remember. Also reported was that I’d drunk five large German beers, four Thomas Specials (tequila and lime juice), a tequila shot, a Mexikaner and a margarita. I believe that too.

“What’s your life-motto?” my friend T. was asking the bartender. It was the first of two philosophical questions he would pose that night, probably because it was his birthday. I don’t know how she answered, but then she asked me the same question and I told her mine had to do with seeing things with my own eyes rather than with other people’s.

If all the people of the art world tell me the Mona Lisa is a beautiful portrait, and I don’t see it, I might try to understand where they’re coming from, but I’m not going to take their word for it. If 20,000,000 Christians including my sister tell me Jesus walked on water, I will not believe them. I will tell them to have some respect for mythology.

T.’s next question came a few hours later. “What is the essence or meaning of life?” he asked.
I said, “That’s the easiest question you’ve ever asked.”
“Then what is it?”
“Are you ready?” I said.
“Yeah.”
“You sure?”
“Come on, man. Get on with it!”
“Okay,” I said, and took a slow sip of my beer to draw the agony out further. “The meaning of life,” I said, and put my glass down, “is whatever you make it be.”

The answer was a flop.
More was to be expected from a self-published author.
Neither T., nor his German friend Marcel were satisfied with it.
Marcel then started saying the meaning of life is to “make it better.” But I wasn’t satisfied with that because so often those trying to make it better are only doing it for themselves, or are so misguided in their approach all they do is botch it up for the rest of us, and you can’t help but admire instead those rare and shiftless souls, devoid of vanity and self-importance, with no more ambition than a dog, forever enjoying their folly and today, today, today.

Relax, be private, don’t worry too much
about whether people are suffering at all;
be glad to accept the here and now, and don’t
be serious.
~ Horace

Later that night, the bar was paid a visit by one such fellow: the German shaman. I call him that because when I first met him in 2011, he told me the earth talked to him. The earth was crying and said, ‘what are you people doing to me?’. There is also something about the way the German Shaman looks around and the way he moves through a bar. If Christ were alive today and homeless in Berlin, I could picture him with the same kind of demeanor. He’d just got out of jail, he told me. He got a year for stealing a Vespa motor scooter and three months for riding the trains illegally. Now he is selling homeless rags, and I gave him a euro, but didn’t get the rag. I always give him something. He’s the only homeless guy I consistently give money to, partly because I know him and my heart goes out to him, and partly because whenever I see him I am reminded of Heinrich Heine’s poem Gotterdämmerung, and can hear (somewhere in my head) the lines being read by Klaus Kinski.

Poor earth, I know your pains! I see the glow rage in your bosom, and I see your thousand veins bleed, and see your wound burst wide open, and flames and smoke and blood stream wildly forth. I see your huge defiant sons, primeval brood, climbing up out of their dark abysses, brandishing red torches in their hands; – they set up their iron ladder and charge wildly up into heaven’s citadel; – and black dwarfs clamber after them – and higher still all the golden stars burn themselves out with a crackling sound.

POSTSCRIPT

All the above was written yesterday morning before 7 a.m. Tonight I am at my son’s mother’s house along with her husband and my girlfriend, and we have just eaten dinner and have three bottles of wine waiting to be drunk. Meantime I am using her internet. Mine is out till Tue or Wed. Getting new box. Repair proved a failure. See you then!

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