8/4/13 Cicero, Again

“Write. Even if you have nothing to say, then write and say so,” Cicero said long ago.

“Write. Even if you have nothing to say, then write and say so,” Cicero has been saying to me for the last three or four days.

“Thanks, Cicero,” I finally said back. I headed down to my studio, fired up this computer, and am determined to write something even though I have nothing to say. Well, there’s lots I could say, but there is really no need in saying it. I am not motivated to say it. I can’t change anything by having said it. Some idiot is likely to disagree with what it is that I might say, then I’d be all mad about it. Some idiot may even successfully point out just how full of bovine effluvia I am, and that would really make me mad.

I could write about politics, but that’s been done. In fact, it’s been overdone, and overdone to the point of familiar folly. The faces change; the names change; even the details of the circumstances change, but the folly of human political endeavor never seems to change. I’d laugh about it if it weren’t so dangerous.

I could write about national politics, gridlock in Washington, the ineffectiveness of congress, the invective of party partisanship. I could write about constitutional rights and their encroachment by a government gotten out of hand. I could write about Detroit and the dozens of other cities breathlessly waiting for Washington to bail them out with money that does not even exist, assuming on behalf of all the people of the United States the obligations those cities created for themselves for their former employees.

I could write about the faltering Affordable Care Act, and how the government is waiving such portions of it as appears might damage their chances in the 2014 elections. I could write about the way that as more and more of it is revealed, politicians on both sides of the aisle are seeing terrible difficulties in its implementation.

I could write about scandals in Washington: about Benghazi, the IRS, drone strikes targeting American Citizens, or spying by the NSA, CIA, and the FBI. I could write about scandals in New York, and stoop to throwing out dozens of clever but sophomoric Weiner jokes, giggling to myself like a pre-sophomore, thinking I’m cute when actually I’m insufferable, causing people all over to roll their eyes in disgust as they see those jokes coming from a mile away. Weiner jokes have all the true comedy of toilet humor . . . it’s a low place to take comedy, and every bit as good as taking comedy to a no-longer-shocking profanity. It will serve no purpose. I think I’ll leave all of those things to someone else, because someone else will be unable to remain silent about them. Before the New York mayoral race is over, we’ll have had all the Weiner jokes and variants of Weiner jokes that we can stand. We’ll certainly have had more of them than Weiner can stand. I’m just glad I’m not Anthony Weiner, but in his defense, if he could see me now, he’d most likely be glad he’s not me, either. That probably works both ways.

Who would trade who he is for someone else? Of course, at this time, most would not likely trade their own persona for that of Anthony Weiner . . . but that is not representative of all people. There are folks around the world in desperate circumstances who may be glad to have their name be the focus of jokes in the national media if they could just have a plate full of food and a safe place to sleep for themselves and their family. Hey, maybe I could write about that! Nah! There’s no stopping place once you get started. Besides, it’s likely that there are many who would brave starvation and political oppression just to stay who they are. If we think we’d like to be someone else, then we are missing something critical. While I hope that no one really wants to be someone else, I do hope that the full plate of food and safe place to sleep gets delivered . . . somehow . . . someway.

I could write about George Zimmerman, but I didn’t hear the evidence the jury did. I was not there. I can have an opinion about how the trial went, whether the verdict was the right one, or about its implications for the future of race relations in this country, but others seem to have done that already. Few of them were at the trial, either, and none of them were there when the tragic event occurred, but that does not stop the speculators from speculating, nor the baiters from baiting, nor the gullible from taking the bait. I could write about how some think Zimmerman’s acquittal was a misprision of justice. I could write about how some felt he must be convicted simply because of the mayhem that may result from his acquittal. I could write about a lot of things, but it is one thing I can be glad about not having to have an opinion, since the opinion of the jurors is far more relevant than mine.

I could write about the relevance of my own opinions. In doing so, I could evaluate my own opinions and remind all of you just how smart and well informed they are, chide you some if yours differs the least little bit from mine, and feel smug about how clever I am . . . but that would serve neither you nor me. Perhaps it is better if I keep my opinions to myself. It will certainly make for a better friendship even if it makes for less lively conversation. Sometimes, less lively conversation is just what we need.

I could write about the importance of me being right and you being wrong. I could write about me always having to have the last word. I could write about the hubris I tote around with me, hauling it about like a lead anchor fastened with a heavy chain about my ankle . . . or better, like a Mastertone banjo fastened to my ankle by the same heavy chain, the banjo about as heavy as the lead anchor and as intolerable to those around me as the anchor is to me. If I started examining and writing about that, there also would be no stopping point. There are so many things about me that need attention and further work, it is just too depressing at this time of the morning to consider it seriously. I think, other than what’s written, I’ll not write any more about that at this time. You can just nod your head and agree with me that there are some areas that could use some improvement, and naturally, after having said that, I wouldn’t dare bring up anything about any thorny hedgerows you have that might need a little pruning; that would be bad form. We may be guilty of lots of things, but let us never be found guilty of bad form.

I could write about medical issues, the recent removal of several skin lesions that were non-malignant, good reports, mixed reports, bad reports, the good news on the cutting edge of medical research from Gooday and my caretakers at the Big-as-Texas Cancer Center in Houston. The personal things are not worth writing about, except to say that the removal of suspicious skin lesions that turned out to be non-malignant is good news. I could also write about finally seeing a long time physician friend as a patient, learning just how competent he is, and learning that his colleagues and employees admire him as much as I do, which I surprisingly found surprising. Why would this be surprising to learn that the person you thought you knew was actually the person you thought them to be? And that they are extremely competent in their field of medical practice? I suppose we humans are always surprised to have confirmed what we suspected about people is really true, especially if everything we thought about them is good. We’d hardly be surprised if we discovered that all the bad things we thought about someone was true, would we? How shameful of us! Or is it just me? Am I the only one that is that way? I hope not and I hope so, all at the same time. If it is just me, then it’ll be easier to fix than if it’s everyone else, too. We humans are a suspicious and fickle lot. We are prone to folly, discord, and gossip. We are tossed to and fro by the slightest shift in the wind, our opinions as flighty as mosquitoes blown about in a stiff breeze, unable to land and feed on our hosts, unable to do any damage due to the wind, but lurking by just as soon as the wind subsides, inserting our proboscis into our host, injecting our itch-inducing anti-coagulant, and feasting on their blood, growing fat off the essence of others. But, I don’t have an opinion about that. Those were just words that flowed in a stream of consciousness from my brain that stimulated my fingers to move in such a manner as to type out these words, and unfortunately, the words are coming faster than my fingers can reproduce them. Having noted that, I’ll move on with more nothing to say.

I could write about my friends who are suffering from illnesses much more serious than any I have to write about. Some of them are having a hard time. They are all in my prayers.

I could write about prayer and its effectiveness. You could argue about it and its uselessness, and how, if god exists, he has cast us into the melee of life in this universe and interferes and influences events in our lives with as much care and concern as the turtle who laid her eggs on a remote beach who never looks back once the eggs are laid. I’d most likely have a lot to say about that if you said it to me, but I have recently declined to comment when given the opportunity, which is a major milestone in my life. No longer having to have what I perceive as a crushing victory in every situation where things of a religious nature are concerned, since that is not possible, I have witnessed the truth that a soft answer turns away wrath, that God will call whom He will call, and that my pearls are too precious to be shown to those who do may not appreciate their beauty. A simple faith, from which I cannot be moved, seems to serve much better than whopping someone upside their head with a bond leather, large-print, gilt-edged edition of the Scofield Reference Bible. Things are what they are. Things not seen clearly now will be revealed. My faith is important to me. My faith is everything to me. Let me live my life so that my faith is evident without me having to use thousands of words to explain it to others who neither appreciate what I’m saying, nor the fact that I’m telling them . . . yet, let me always have a ready answer for those who seek Him, that He may use me in the manner He sees fit. It is not necessary that I understand all His ways, but it is necessary that I walk in such light as I have received. Does that sound like a prayer to you? I think it is. Let it be effective and fervent as I am persuaded this is a good thing to pray for.

I could write about theology.

“Why don’t you?” asks Calvin, a mere whisper in my ear, but loud enough that I whirl around to see just where the voice was coming from. There, like the vanishing Cheshire Cat, Calvin’s stern smile is all that is visible, just off to my left, near the shelf where I keep hundreds of CD’s and DVD’s of live music recordings in such a state of disarray that I am unlikely to find any particular one, ignoring the smile and reminding myself of the promise I have made to myself hundreds of times to straighten all that mess out. Then the Cheshire grin catches my attention again. “It will be helpful if you explain my excellent theological positions to everyone, bringing them closer to a knowledge of the truth, though I daresay that they need Jesus more than they need my theology.”

“That’s a remarkable admission coming from you, my old friend and nemesis,” I replied to the shrinking grin. They never last very long, these late-night, early-morning Calvin visits/hallucinations; already the smile was disappearing into the ether.

“I never thought my own theology was more important than my Lord,” he said, and the the smile disappeared leaving nothing but the shelves of music media shambles. “You should think about cleaning all this mess up,” was the final thing I heard as once more I was alone, just me and this keyboard, and my recollections of all the things I was not going to write about.

I could write about my trip to California, but it would be a repeat of what I have written before, except that every year the crowds get larger, the existing relationships more personal and permanent, and my own amazement at the new ones that get established, recognizing the involvement of a Providence that others would find laughable. I invite them to laugh as I go about my business of enjoying the establishment of the remarkable relationships and the fruits they bear. I am humbled by them. I am overwhelmed by them. I have no words to describe them or their nature, other than they are influenced and presided over by Providence. Others can describe them in whatever manner they see fit. I will not argue, but will simply marvel.

Marveling is a good thing. Having something to marvel over is a good thing. Enough marveling and one soon realizes that one’s life is marvelous. I have come to that conclusion. I could tell you all about it, but it would take too long. Let it rest with this: I am grateful.

Gratefulness. There’s a subject worthy of words, a subject worthy of volumes of words, a subject that brings life into a perspective that cannot be accurately measured through any other facet without being skewed. I am simply grateful. If you read this far, I am grateful for having had your attention this long, particularly when I had nothing at all to say, from which it must follow that I had nothing worth saying, and consequently, nothing worth hearing. It took a lot of effort on your part to read a whole bunch of nothing this far, but blame it on Cicero. He is the instigator. He is the cause of this self-indulgent nothingness.

That Cicero. He was a joker.

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