HOLD YOUR TONGUE, MINE’S NOT AVAILABLE

Picky Tongues — You have to choose one flavor that your sense of taste will no longer be able to distinguish. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, spicy (not a taste per se, but we’re generous): which one do you choose to lose?


Only a healthy young person would suggest I ponder what piece of my sensory apparatus I would prefer to lose.

I’ve lost both breasts to cancer, my stomach to ulcers. I’ve had my heart redesigned and lost a valve to a replacement while adding a pacemaker so it will keep beating. I’ve lost pieces of bone to remove tumors or calcification … and most of my spine is wrapped in an arthritic tunnel of love.

Much of the hair on my head — probably as a protest to the surgery and mayhem perpetrated on my body — has fallen out and apparently intends to remain gone this time. (It fell out several times before, but grew back.)

Now, you want to know what I’d choose to lose?

I do not choose to lose any more of me. Whatever original parts I’ve still got — and there are few enough of them — I will fight to keep.

At the risk of sounding critical, prompts like these are just a wee bit insensitive, don’t you think?

LOVE ME, LOVE MY TRACTOR

You may have noticed the old tractor in the middle of the garden. When we were trying to sell the house some years ago, a couple of potential buyers commented how they’d have to have it towed away. I put a mental black mark next to their names because I love that tractor. If you don’t appreciate the tractor, you won’t like my house (they didn’t)

72-Tractor-29Jun_13It’s a rusty 1928 Fordson. Not a rare vintage; it was common farm equipment in its day. I loved it the moment I saw it, sitting on a lawn up the road a piece. I wanted it. I knew it didn’t run and never would, but for me it was the perfect garden accessory.

Some people put flamingos in their garden. Deer. Ducks. Around Halloween, anything goes and for Christmas — well — we’ve all seen the lengths to which some people will go.

One family just up the road from here has a crèche, a wishing well, several gnomes and a lighthouse almost large enough to use as a real lighthouse, except it’s hollow plastic. I believe they also have several types of small animals tucked in between the other statuary et al. It’s a very busy garden and half the size of ours. Only careful landscaping has allowed them to fit quite so much garden bric-à-brac in so small a space.

And this stuff’s not cheap. If you’ve ever gone and priced garden statuary, a nicely done piece — cement not plastic — can cost you as much as remodeling your kitchen. Well, almost as much. Okay, about half the price.

The tractor wasn’t cheap. It was (is) a real tractor, not some phony doodad. Someone farmed using that piece of machinery. It was, in its day, a serious investment. So I don’t understand why someone would think a fake lighthouse looks cool while yearning for a bigger bogus wishing well, but find our antique tractor odd. Maybe they’d like it better if we’d bought it at Walmart?

tractor with daffodils

Garry bought it for me as a tenth anniversary gift. Now that is a husband who gets his wife. He knew to whom he is married. And that’s why we are still married and likely to remain so forever (or as close to forever as we may).

As we approach our 25th anniversary — now a mere 10 weeks distant — I love my tractor more than ever. It has stood the test of time. In another 13-1/2 years, it will have its hundredth birthday. In its second life, during the past 15 years we have planted around it and vines have grown over it. It is as much a part of the garden as the earth on which it stands.

Love me, love my tractor.

ORDINARY PLACES, EVERYDAY THINGS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 18

Among the pictures I take, there are some — such as these — that make me wonder why I am bothering, especially because there’s no obvious story, nothing particularly beautiful. Except that these are things and places that are part of my everyday world. Where I shop, how I live. I often find them beautiful. Maybe this is my way of trying to show you the beauty I find in the more ordinary places.

The parking lot at the grocery store. I should point out it is also the parking lot of the bank, the local Chinese restaurant, Dunkin Donuts of the cockroaches, and my hairdresser — even though most of our visits are grocery-related. And of course, my kitchen with the morning light shining in through the top of the dutch door.

oddball

THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING

We spend too much time trying to figure out what life means and too little time doing the stuff we enjoy. I suppose it’s normal to wonder if the reason you are sick, broke, or miserable is the result of something you did or failed to do. Normal, but a waste of time and energy because I’m going to explain everything and you’ll never have to wonder again.

Meaning of life

Learning to accept the total randomness of stuff that happens is difficult. We want it to make sense. We want order. We want this mess we call life to mean something important.

I’ve put a good bit of thought into why my life keeps falling apart. I know I’m not perfect, but whatever I’ve done wrong, it’s pretty small potatoes in the scheme of things. It’s hard for me to believe, even in my darkest moments I’m so wicked that The Big Guy has in for me.

One day, I had an epiphany. I got it! I knew The Truth.

meaning-of-life2

Revelation #1: The bottom line? Shit happens. It doesn’t mean anything.

I felt like I was 12 again. I considered founding a church to spread my word. My church would require no faith in anything. No deity will get pissed off if you disobey some arbitrary rule. Contributions would be welcome, however. We all need to pay the rent. It would suit our modern lifestyle, don’t you think?

Revelation #2: Faith is not proof. Faith is opinion in fancy clothing.

You can believe what you want, but you can’t know any more than I do. You take the same leap of faith by believing in God or if you declare yourself an atheist. Both positions require you take as absolute something for which you have no direct proof and for which you will never have proof.

If believing in a loving God makes you feel good, believe it. It could be true. If it turns out you’re right, you’ll have backed a winner. If believing there is no God, and science is the path to Truth, go with that. Regardless, you’re  making a faith-based choice because there’s no proof God exists or doesn’t exist.

As for me, I don’t know. Really. I don’t know and what makes me smarter than you is I know I don’t know.

Revelation #2: You know nothing. Neither does anyone else.

Accepting you know nothing is a big step, so take a deep breath. Your next challenge will be how you can cash in on this new knowledge. What’s the point in knowing the meaning of life unless you can awe people with your brilliance — and make a few bucks?

Revelation #3: It’s all in the wording.

You need the right lingo to dazzle your audience. Big words (4 or more syllables) used in the right context can showcase your education and intelligence. People will make little cooing sounds to show their admiration.

meaning-of-life3

Big words enhance your likelihood of getting a management position. You can write important books. Have a blog like me (and I know you want to be just like me). Big words can take you a long way if you are skilled at deploying them.

Note: Make sure you know how to pronounce them. Mispronouncing big words will cause unexpected laughter … not good unless you are aiming for a stand-up comedy career.

Epistemology

Let’s start with epistemology. This is an excellent catch-all word you can drop into any conversation. Most people will have no idea what you are talking about but will be too embarrassed to admit it. On the off-chance you encounter someone who actually recognizes the word, you can use this handy-dandy definition from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the philosopher’s convenient source for everything:

Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? 

I bet you still have no idea what it means. The awesome truth is that epistemology doesn’t mean anything because it means everything.

Anything that means everything means nothing. Equally, when something claims to do everything, it has no actual use. This applies to people, concepts, and kitchen appliances. In practical terms, everything and nothing are identical. (Remember infinite sets from college math? It’s like that.)

Phenomenology

On to phenomenology. When I was studying religion in college, phenomenology was a way to prove the existence of God. Phenomenologically speaking, all human experience is proof of God. Except the same reasoning can prove there is no God. This is the joy of phenomenology.

Phenomenology can help you prove all things are one thing, all things are God. You are God. I am God. I am a warm cup of tea and you are a daffodil. If this doesn’t clarify it for you, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy offers further elucidation:

Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.

In other words, you can use any and all human experience, your experience and anyone else’s, to prove whatever you want. Phenomenology is fundamental to all belief systems: religion, politics, and Fox News. Lots of people believe in religion, politics and Fox News, so maybe they will believe in you too.

Becoming a Fount of Wisdom

You can now explain anything. Everything. You can prove things based on something a couple of friends said years ago while under the influence of powerful hallucinogenic drugs. Although others may fault your logic, in the world of academics, everyone disbelieves everyone else unless they are citing them as a source, so you might as well stick your oar in the water.

meanin-of-life-snoopy

There are people who will attack you using faith. Faith is based on itself which makes it hard to dispute. Not to worry. The only one who is ever fully convinced by faith is the one who holds it.

Nor does it really matter how many people believe or disbelieve it.

Having more believers or followers doesn’t transform faith into fact.

If it did, we could achieve some really nifty things. Like, say we all believe in magic and therefore, it exists. Cool.


Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve clarified everything. If not, feel free to have your people call my people. We’ll talk.