Friday, December 27, 2013

The Rate At Which I Turn

Time itself is Long,
Even if the time of Man is Short.
- Pete Hamill

As we continue to march unabated towards the conclusion of the "Holiday Season - 2013 Edition", we unwrap the bow today on the final Friday of this year.  Having reached this milestone, one may feel free to wonder aloud whether we should greet this day with "Already?" or "Finally!", a combination of the two or something altogether different.  

If your day-to-day is anything at all like mine (and I neither suggest that it should be nor wish to resign you to my particular fate), then your reaction to this particular day's arrival is probably a combination of emotions.  You have - in all likelihood - experienced days thus far in 2013 that felt as if they lasted for a second and a half.  Days that were so great that they were indeed over before you knew it.  You turned to look and they were gone.  I was fortunate to have a few of those days myself this year - none greater than Suzanne and Ryan's wedding day.  As a father you think you know what your reaction will be on the day on which your little girl (who has of course long since ceased being just that) gets married.  And then you see her wearing her wedding gown and it occurs to you just how amazing an event in her life this is and just how lucky you are to be there for it.  If I live to be 1,000, then I shall not outlive the warm memory of that day.  

A lot of bad shit happens in the world - and it does not take a day off to observe niceties such as Christmas.  Two teenagers, one fifteen and the other just thirteen, were murdered in Newark, New Jersey on Christmas Day.  The thirteen-year-old, a girl, was shot while taking out her family's garbage.  A day earlier, a man refused entry into an Irvington, New Jersey go-go bar murdered three men inside of the bar, including the bouncer who refused him entry upon discovering the man's concealed weapon during a pat-down of him on his way into the establishment and the bar's manager - the son of the man who owns the joint.  On Tuesday morning in Brookline, New Hampshire a volunteer firefighter named Steve Whitcomb had the extreme misfortune of being among the first of the first responders to a multi-vehicle car accident in which one of the drivers was killed.  The driver who died was Mr. Whitcomb's daughter, Katie Hamilton.  Ms. Hamilton was the mother of three young daughters who earned her living as a plumber - working for her father.  

Years ago the great John Hiatt crooned, "Time is short and here's the damn thing about it.  You're gonna die, gonna die for sure.  You can learn to live with love or without it but there ain't no cure...."  We the people have a seemingly endless number of ways in which we measure time.  We do so perhaps to help us create the illusion of having any control over it, which we of course do not.  We can create as many categories as we deem necessary - be they seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years or be they periods, quarters, halves, innings, games, matches, series or seasons - in a vain attempt to harness it.  But we never do.  

The overwhelming majority of us will not know, until it is too late, that we have run out of it.  No operator shall be standing by to take our order for just a little bit more.   There shall be no expansion pack to purchase.  All sales are final.  

Time shall pass irrespective of the level of enthusiasm we have for our day-to-day.  Once consigned to the scrap heap of history, a day gone by remains forever so.  You have a choice.  You can live your life or you can simply be alive.  It is most assuredly not a distinction without a difference.  Rather, it is the most important decision you shall be given the opportunity to make regardless of how long you live.  And every day you will be presented the chance to make it.    

Just do it.  Life is not a spectator sport. 


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