You ain’t got jack and you know it.
by Stan Faryna
Ben E. King, Stand By Me
This post is an exercise in monkeying around. You can read about the whys and hows here:
Below: Johnny at his Seventh Birthday – trying to catch the hovering UFO and about to step off the sofa. Blur courtesy of iPhone.
I gave my seven year old son some parting gifts. A sword, a large religious icon, a 5 lb. bronze crucifix and a hefty Bible in English. Never mind that he does not speak or read English. Not yet.
The gifts were not appropriate for a seven year boy. At least – not in most circumstances. These are not medieval times and there is no holy quest by which he might aspire to stand among the blessed. But these are the things I want him to remember me by. In my absence, these are the things I want him to contemplate as he grows up: the True, the Good and the Beautiful. And courage!
These are totems by which I shall stand by him. In intention and prayer – if not in body.
“Succeed against evil,” I told him in my broken Romanian. My Romanian is limited, unfortunately, and that was all the wisdom I could offer him at that moment.
I struggled to hold the tears back. And so did Johnny. Just because.
I told Johnny that I loved him and I gave him a bear hug and kisses.
The next 30 minutes, Johnny barred the door with his small body, so I could not leave.
When I was standing on the other side of the door on the other side of the city, it hit me.
I ain’t got jack.
Standing in front of a painting as tall as me, I looked upon the end of the world framed in 24 kt. gold leaf and elaborate molding. A wild- and blue-eyed priest clutches three dead, white doves in his arms. A lion roars in anger and disgust at the corpses of mother and child. On horseback, Don Quixote holds the draping corpse of his lover. In the distant landscape, death, fire and smoke.
I am reminded of friends who are also contemplating how they don’t got jack either. My heart goes out to them. They just can’t get it off the ground. Not by themselves.
They can’t build their social reach or audience. Or a start up seems beyond them in every way. More than a few can’t start that novel. Or finish it. There’s billions of dreams out there. Most of them died, today – falling to their quiet, inconsequential death after but a few awkward wing beats.
And the world did not pause in sympathy. Not even for one. Not even for me.
How could the universe be so heartless?
Perhaps, it is because the universe will not offer condolences to the pitiable arrogance that defies all of those dreams-that-could-be. Dreams that must be, obviously, must be borne by many hands, shoulders, hearts and virtue.
“Two good hands ain’t never enough,” said Mother Washington.
I have to wonder again at why we are so blind and stubborn to insist on the pitiable, un-jacked me when the answer is always and forever, wonderful. It was, it is and it will always be, simply, we.
03 December 2012