Where I Spend My Mind.

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. Henry David Thoreau

Some suggest that the study of philosophy is to prepare one to die. Gracefully, I might add. A rational rejoinder might be, “No, Chris, such inquiry is to facilitate the graceful life.” Ah, nuance. One and the same, perhaps, much as Thalia and Melpomene are the balancing faces of drama, of life.

I’ve concluded that what the world (life) has quite enough of is sorrow. There is pain a-plenty for all. Few walk into a bar and order a round of sorrow for the house. Yet that is what is served up “fresh” daily. Sorrow is relentless. Decay and death is the human condition and depending on the individual, at some point our mental tickers all start “tocking,” and the literal countdown is recognized for the inevitable finality it represents. Arguably, this is when grace matters most.

If you have enough (life’s necessities) and are at all reflective, at some point in your life you reasonably ask, “How do I want to spend my time?” I phrase it a little differently, “How do I want to spend my mind?” This is where the insidious nature of sorrow intervenes; it consumes your mind. You can be experiencing a most joyful moment and the smallest prompt will redirect your revelry to dark, maddening thoughts of disappointment, disheartenment or despair. Sorrow, by any other name. Oh, and as so many understand, there are much more sorrowful events in life than death.

And, who among us wants to dock their boat very long at that port? Much of life is a redirect. What’s the expression? When handed a lemon—make lemonade out of it. Vomit. My natural inclination is to slap (vigorously resisted) such simplistic sentiments out of the purveyor. But I do understand the necessity for such an outlook. I do.

Sorrow is not the only unavoidable intrusion that saps one’s time, one’s mind. Pettifogery. Banality. Insipidness. Depending on your tolerance, any number of life’s everyday experiences will and do regularly intrude upon your mind, yet as duly noted, “time is fleeting” (please read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 15).

So where shall one ultimately spend her mind? I find pleasure (diversion) in art (all forms). Beauty. And words.

Topics I will explore in upcoming columns: Are redneck zombies worse than Manhattan zombies?; Bridges I have crossed; Waiter! Waiter! I’ll have a round of apologies; Is a religion different than what is done in its name?; Dangley-Down-Parts; The “take” I took; Cloning one’s self; Prosperity gospel; My son applying to be the Nightshift Jesus; Life—it’s a receipt book that keeps getting thinner; Meet your maker party–location/time to be announced; Reason—what are you going to place above it?; Babies—better than dawgs sometimes; Life goes on while you’re dying; The double-bubbler; Schwanz & Tucker – Winter Park lawyers and, I have no schedule but I do have an agenda.

Another topic is all time great lines husbands have given wives. Remember when Homer’s Odysseus returned home after 10 years (following the fall of Troy) to his wife Penelope. He had spent seven of those 10 years on an island with the exquisite goddess Calypso. How well would that explanation go today? Is that an illustration of unfaithful but loyal?

Perhaps Odysseus merely explained he was fishing. In the stream of life.

An Idea That Won’t Die.

Poor Johnny one note, yelled willy nilly
Until he was blue in the face
For holding one note was his ace.

“Johnny One Note” by Lorenz Hart

Folks on the right think that if you don’t accept their ideas that you must also think they’re lily-white, raging, aging, racist pudge-balls. I want to assure them that nothing could be further from the truth. Not the lily-white, aging, pudge-ball part—no one really cares—yet that seems to go hand in hand with being a Tea-Party apparatchik. No, it really is your “ideas” that single you out for derision, ridicule and scorn.

Actually, “ideas” is too generous an assessment. They have that one BIG idea: Guberment Bad! That’s it. Guburment Bad! Of course, there is the associated corollary to Guburment Bad! Taxes Bad! Hum now the above “Poor Johnny One Note” lyrics.

It hurts a little bit, it does, to think that my Father’s Republicans have degenerated into zombies. It was a toss-up between vampires and zombies. What with vampires being all the rage, you know, at the moment, well, zombies were not automatically my first choice. Think of the fat cat, special interest, corporate-welfare, drain the nation, bloodsucking vampire as the quintessential Republican standard bearer. But that seemed a bit harsh, too extreme. Besides vampires have brains. Zombies, however, have no brains and are therefore the perfect symbol for the modern Tea Party Republican movement.

Some will chaff that I equate being a Republican with being a zombie but here’s my logic. Zombies won’t die. And similarly, just because an idea won’t die doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. Just because you mouth simple platitudes about the Constitution or repeatedly chant, “Guberment Bad! Taxes Bad,” doesn’t make it so.

Remember Reagan’s “Trickle Down” Economics? Let the rich keep more of their money (Taxes Bad!) and they will invest it in America and a bountiful harvest will rain down, will trickle down on the average worker. Well, there’s a lot of available research on Trickle Down Economics (TDE) and it’s a sham. Slashing the top tax rates doesn’t lead to economic growth, doesn’t lead to job creation, and leads to neither wage growth nor income growth. The only growth associated with cutting the top tax rates is growth in the size of the deficit.

David Stockman, President Reagan’s budget director who oversaw TDE (and presciently labeled voodoo economics by the first President Bush) rips today’s Republican talk of tax cuts, “If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt … will soon reach $18 trillion.”

But zombie-like, it’s an idea that simply will not die. All these goofball Republican Tea Party types are one-note morons. Zombies! Stiff-legged, stiff-armed zombie rantings of the brain dead, “Guberment bad! Taxes Bad!” Sigh. That’s modern Republicanism. The Zombie Party of “NO!”

Oh, and about Republican racism, here’s what former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer recently said about that subject and I quote, “Many within the GOP have racist views.” Imagine that?

Greer is one Republican many Republicans now see as dead. Ew! Zombies! Republicans!