Saturday, March 18, 2017
Time Waits For No Boy
That's what I'm saying: Time never gets ahead of itself. The truth of which is pretty well settled, although you'd think if anyone could do it, Time could. I'm fairly stressed out by time. I keep it, I mark it, I jump to its tunes, and I rue it.
I tell myself I'm not afraid to die. And I'm often convinced it's so. As I've been thinking about Time, as I am now, I know it's out there as Terminus B, Terminus A being when I came into the world much Time ago. Over 60 years, so you tell me. You never know what might happen. Car wreck, ice slick, jealous husband or wife, bar fight gone bad, pool cue against the temple, or just plain old age with a bad health chaser. Something's gonna do me in, all in good Time.
I went to see a friend of mine, who's something of an Eastern kind of guy. He's respectful of our Western ways -- to a point -- but he thinks the Easterners (Indians, Tibetans, etc., who really are just Westerners if you traveled the opposite way to get to them) have the inside track on wisdom. Which, incidentally, is how I thought of Native Americans on old westerns. They could put their ear to the ground and describe the enemy to the shoelaces. It's uncanny. I respected them but never had the good sense to root for them against the cowboys. A big regret.
All right -- be all that as it may -- I dasn't waste Time! As my Eastern-loving friend told me, quoting the Mahabharata, "Existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain all have Time for their root. Time createth all things and Time destroyeth all creatures. It is Time that burneth creatures," etc., blah blah blah. Think I'm afraid of time? Bah! Not for a second! Until I start thinking, You know, maybe they're right. Mom told me I was born at a particular time. That I transitioned from diapers to overalls at a particular time. And that she would leave me at a particular time, probably when she changed her last poopy overalls, which would kill anyone.
All that being as it may, I must write the things on my mind! To leave behind at least a few snippets of my existence, as I feel like I could croak at any moment. So what do I have on my mind?
[Nebulous clouds of wisdom appear at the window. The visage of a dear old man, beard down to his feet and the look of wrinkles about the eyes, appears. He touches my forehead and I'm immediately filled with the wisdom of a schoolroom from long ago.]
I see a boy with his teacher, learning his spelling. But for much of his life muteness has left him speechless, and the teacher makes allowances. "George, spell 'A'." He taps his foot once. "Good, now spell 'B." He taps his foot twice. "Great job, now spell C." He taps his foot three times. And it goes that way through the alphabet. "Very good," the teacher says.
She gives him a much bigger assignment. To write out, "I'm a good boy."
George is aghast. Thinking, "I have to write out all that?" He starts his tapping, tapping, tapping, feverishly tapping with the teacher doing her best to transcribe the flurry of taps. He seemed to be off track, up and dancing, his feet becoming terribly sore from the amount of tapping and the feverishness with which he wrote. The teacher could barely write, count, and match up the taps with the alphabet. It was frankly all she could do
Finally, though, she looked at her pad and George's message was clear: "Look, teacher, if you expect me to stand here and write all day, especially something as long and involved as 'I'm a good boy," I'm going to need a pair of boots to protect my feet, at least a pair of socks -- something! -- because anything that takes that much tapping is sure to severely damage my feet, to the point that I may never recover from it, even if I lived to be 12! And especially with the roughness of this old-fashioned wooden, splintery floor! Give me something shorter to write and I'll be glad to complete the assignment to the best of my ability."
The moral of the story has to do with Time -- how it's only as long as it is -- and Feet, that you give a teacher an inch and she'll take two.