Friday, December 23, 2016

The Ballad of the True Believer

We have arrived, finally, at the day before the night before Christmas.  I know not whether it is irony or coincidence that its arrival corresponds with what the calendar displays as the traditional end of the work week.  I know simply that inside the Firm's four walls, the number of people working and the volume of work being produced have both become more and more attenuated as we have navigated our way through this week from beginning to end.  

I have no idea now few fellow travelers will be at work today.  My secretary is off until after the first of the new year, having apparently embarked on the "Twelve Days of Christmas Vacation" program. Her final work day of 2016 was December 21.  With her or without her, work needs to be completed - and it shall be.  Once upon a lifetime ago, it felt as if the pace of the practice of law slowed a bit during "the holidays".  That is most assuredly not the case this year.  Merry Christmas to me, I reckon. 

Greg Lake died earlier this month.  He apparently had been battling cancer for quite some time and, as it does an infuriating percentage of the time, it ultimately prevailed, which it did on December 7, 2016.  He was sixty-nine years old.  

Full disclosure demands that I acknowledge that I have (at best) a rudimentary knowledge of his work in Emerson, Lake and Palmer and even less knowledge of the work he did in King Crimson. I enjoy very much however, Lake's contribution to the pop/rock music world's catalog of Christmas music, "I Believe in Father Christmas", which he wrote, he said, as a song in protest against the commercialization of Christmas

While I am not a huge fan of pop/rock Christmas music as a genre (Mariah Carey's voice sets me off on a quest to find a throat to punch), for as long as I can remember I have liked Lake's song. For me, as I suspect it is for most people who enjoy it, the payoff is found in the song's final lines... 

Hallelujah, Noel.  
Be it Heaven or Hell, 
The Christmas we get,
 We deserve.  

A truth, the provability of which, is not confined to a single day on the calendar or to this particular day.  A truth that is not, of course, absolute.  Frankly, I do not believe that Lake ever suggested that it was.  Exceptions that prove the rule, however, are far too easily found.

In August, Mark, a man who I had known since we attended the same high school three-plus decades ago died, tragically, in a house fire, which fire also killed his elderly/infirm father, who lived with him.  Mark's son, who is now halfway through his freshman year of high school, and Mark's daughter, who is still in elementary school, certainly did not deserve a Christmas without their dad and their grandpa.

And far closer to home, a family I love with all of my heart is dealing with a set of circumstances that has both broken my heart and reinforced my position regarding the absurdity of the belief in some all-powerful, benevolent deity.  The hell that they are presently enduring is wholly and absolutely undeserved.

So, if you are fortunate enough this year to be experiencing a Christmas that is "Heaven", work very hard to not fuck it up...

...whether you deserve it or not.  


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