Dastardly Living!

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by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

It is easy to imagine that equable, balmy weather is a blessing. And yet (and I say this with overwhelming ruefulness) it is a subterfuge, calculated to unhinge us. Given a stretch of so-called "pleasant" weather, I guarantee one’s affairs become entirely discombobulated! The reason? None other than deception! The shrouding of our external lives with blue sky and a southerly zephyr is nothing short of deceit! Since when is life a bowl of cherries, I ask you? Mere rhetoric and free wheeling idiom!

Life is hard, let’s face it. It is even well documented that if you were to win the lottery today it is only a matter of time before you either lose it all or become disenchanted with your lot. Soon you shall rebound to your former state of discontent. For this reason alone, cloudy weather, drizzle, and storms are generally to be preferred; viz. , we can get back to the reality that is stagnation. That blip of our lives called youth is but a frantic effort to avoid confronting the ultimate truth: that in spite of it all we are destined to disappointment. How specious is the canopy of blue! How feint the summer breeze! One may as well tease a child with a distracting and senseless toy.

As a mature adult, however, one admits the facts. It behooves us as levelheaded beings to stand fast before cataclysm. No doubt you’re familiar with that pious ejaculation of remorse, "Vanity! All is vanity! " The metaphor as you may already know has very little to do with narcissism. "Vanus" is Latin for "empty". Understood in this sense, vanity is all about futility. Not surprisingly the symbols of vanity include jewels, gold coins, a purse and even death itself. These are reminders not merely of the ephemeral nature of youthful beauty, but also of the fleeting joy of life, its brevity and the inevitability of death. The upshot is that, try as we might, in the end life is devoid of content.

There are some who, confessing these inescapable (and may I say terribly well-reasoned) conclusions, seek to surmount the peril of such philosophy by strength of their own maneuvers. They witlessly adopt tactics such as alcohol or nefarious combustibles for example. Senseless! Perfectly dithering, not to mention a complete waste of funds. In spite of the broadside it appears to deliver to the enemy it is nonetheless right up there with the wild blue yonder, merely a diversion. Similarly conspiring to confound oneself further by bemused spiritual and mental distortions is equally doomed; no amount of goody-two-shoes philosophy will save the day! Mere recreation! Life communicates the language of condemnation and sentence; or (if one prefers the religious vernacular) it is ordained, our fate, our destiny.

If one is to accomplish anything in this life, one must discard the superfluities of our nature, cull from the essence of our being that which is mere fluff, both the dross and the dregs. Those worthless parts of our terrestrial experience are best avoided. We must get down to the hard work of being miserable. This is not a task for the faint of heart. No, no, this is serious business reserved for none but committed and clear-thinking individuals. Being wretched is not to invite pity; to do otherwise is synonymous with abject cowardice. Indeed if one is to avoid the woeful and deplorable contempt of a comfortable life, the adoption of a morose and humorless aspect is a duty not to be delayed.

More pressing is defining the very pith of life; namely, that life is nothing but a perpetual uphill battle with the only assurance being that of dashing hopes. It defies logic that anyone would actively dedicate themselves to bubbly living, a course of action which is destined to be a shipwreck. Hedge the regressive activity of dalliance and gird oneself for the trial that is living. Life is not a spare-time activity. Nor do the customary asides succeed to mollify the sting that awaits us. Embrace despondency and abandon yourself to loss of hope and courage! Only then will you be able to greet the morn – sunny or not – with anything approaching verisimilitude!

If that fails, have a cigarette!