Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6: Natural in His Lifetime, Alone by Himself, Car Trip

"If he wanted to keep 'em after he was dead, wicked old screw," pursued the woman, "why wasn't he natural in his lifetime?  If he had been he'd have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with Death, instead of lying gasping out his last there, alone by himself."

The charwoman passes pretty strong judgement here on Scrooge.  Of course, she has every right.  If Scrooge has treated her even half as poorly as he treats Bob Cratchit, the charwoman should be pissing on Scrooge's headstone.  This passage highlights the value of human connection.  Scrooge, who has spent his life pushing every person away from himself, dies alone, "gasping out his last."

It's a common fear for most people, I think.  No person wants to be isolated and abandoned.  I cultivate companions.  I'm one of those people who needs to be liked.  When I go through my course evaluations at the end of a semester, instead of focusing on the 29 great reviews, I focus on the one student who accuses me of being the Antichrist.  I made the mistake of checking myself out on yesterday.  I got a 4.5 rating out of 5.  That's really good.  However, I went through each review and found the two or three people who hated me.  Literally hated me.  It took me a half hour to recover.

I know I can't make everyone like me.  I know there are people in the world who probably think I'm a bigger asshole than Ebenezer Scrooge.  But I also know that I have friends, good friends, who care and worry about me.  I know I will not die alone. 

Tomorrow, I have to make a couple appearances on the U. P. Book Tour.  My wife can't accompany me, and I've been trying to get in touch with a poet friend to see if she wants to drive with me.  You see, aside from not wanting to die alone, I also am not very fond of travelling by myself.  This fear comes from my inability to read a map or follow directions.  If I have to go by myself tomorrow, I will get lost and end up somewhere in Saskatchewan, reading poems to a herd of elk.

Thus, I will be trying frantically to get in touch with my poet friend today.  She's appearing with me at the events, so I know she needs a ride.  I'm counting on that.  My poems are packed, and my gas tank is full.  If I'm travelling alone tomorrow, I will put in a supply of beef jerky, candles, matches, bottled water, and Hershey bars.

Saint Marty isn't going to be found on the side of the road, gasping out his last, being devoured by turkey vultures.

I do not want to end up like this...

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