Random, Passing Thought: The Best Kind of Life
Been listening to William Shatner's Has Been, which is really pretty good. I'll admit right out loud that I'm a fan of Shatner, and not just because of the Capt. Kirk thang. No, he's always seemed to me to have both a fearlessness about his career, and an ability to realize who and what he is in relation to the culture. (His series of "Trek Memories" autobiographies are a hoot.) Yes, Has Been is funny, but intentionally so...or at least intentionally ironically so. Anyway, there's a song called "You'll Have Time" which offers a new twist on the old concept of "Carpe Diem" (which means "Seize the Dazed," as I've come to think of it). The refrain in the tune is, "Why did I waste it, why didn't I taste it?"
The implication, in both the tune and "Carpe Diem," is that you should be hang-gliding nekkid from atop the Opera House in Sydney, Australia while planning your next deep-sea voyage to spelunk in treacherous underwater caves that are home to exotic glowing jellyfish, which you'll photograph and put in your next best-selling coffee table book, which will inspire Pink Floyd to reform simply to produce an "inspired by" soundtrack, causing you to be credited with single-handedly saving the recording industry, meriting a Nobel Prize and a personally autographed picture from Britney Spears whereupon she has scrawled that "You Rock!"
This has always cramped my process because it values X-TREME! Mountain Dew adrenaline experiences over the quiet joys that most of us experience every day. If you have the desire or ability to leap from a snowy cliff with only a parachute, a snowboard, and a power drink clutched in your mutant little fist, somehow it's proffered that you're living a fuller life than the new mother who is taking her wobbly toddler around the block for her first time, or the man who is reading the blog of a kindred spirit, or the child who is watching an ant travel across the back yard.
I dunno. I think when we're lying there, ready to pass - assuming we get the rare experience of foreknowledge thereof, or a relatively painless passing - it might feel more full to have had the companionship of a loving spouse and good friends, happy children, the experience of a few great books, and yes maybe one experience jumping out of a perfectly good airplane just for the hell of it. But I think a chain of dim memories of vast travels, screaming adrenaline overdoses, a cascade of random fucks with nameless strangers just might seem a little thin and pale at the end of a life.
I still like the song, though.