Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18: Adventure with Death, Back-and-Forth in Time, Stimulation

One time on maneuvers, Billy was playing "A Might Fortress Is Our God," with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and words by Martin Luther.  It was Sunday morning.  Billy and his chaplain had gathered a congregation of about fifty soldiers on a Carolina hillside.  An umpire appeared.  There were umpires everywhere, men who said who was winning or losing the theoretical battle, who was alive and who was dead.

The umpire had comical news.  The congregation had been theoretically spotted from the air by a theoretical enemy.  They were all theoretically dead now.  The theoretical corpses laughed and ate a hearty noontime meal.

Remembering the incident years later, Billy was struck by what a Tralfamadorian adventure with death that had been, to be dead and to eat at the same time.

Toward the end of maneuvers, Billy was given an emergency furlough home because his father, a barber in Ilium, New York, was shot dead by a friend while they were out hunting deer.  So it goes.

A Tralfamadorian adventure in death.  Remember, death is not an ending on Tralfamadore.  It is simply another moment to experience.  So, you can be dead and eat a noontime meal at the same time.  That's all part of being unstuck in time.

I am currently writing this blog post and texting with two of my friends.  It sort of feels like I'm in three separate times, being pulled back and forth.  I'm not exactly a corpse, but I'm pretty doggone tired this evening.  I'm still adjusting to my new semester schedule of teaching and work.  It usually takes me a few weeks to feel human at the beginning of a new semester.  Think of it as being in between moments--my mind is still on Christmas break while my body is marching forward.  Eventually, my brain will catch up with my legs.

I'm not sure that multi-media is a healthy thing all the time.  Now that I have an iPhone, I feel obligated to be available constantly.  I can't simply ignore calls or texts or responses on Facebook.  So, hear I sit, typing these words, answering messages, and, like Billy, floating back-and-forth in time.

I am not complaining.  I sort of relish the stimulation.  It keeps my mind agile.  Don't have too much opportunity to slow down and brood.  Now, at night, however, I do unplug a little bit.  Once I publish my blog posts, put a few pictures on Facebook, I am ready to cocoon.  Recharge.

Pretty soon, I am going to have to pick up my daughter at her dance studio.  I'm just waiting for my phone to honk at me with her command:  "I'm ready.  Come get me."  That will be the beginning of the end of my day.  We will drive home.  I'll change into my pajamas.  Help my son with his shower.  Get him in bed.  Then, I will watch a couple episodes of American Horror Story with my daughter.  (We are currently working our way through the entire series.)

 My friends have stopped texting.  I'm almost at the end of this post.  My day is slowing down.

This Saint Tralfamadorian is ready to get stuck in time for a while.

Me as a Tralfamadorian

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