.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tom Coburn is a Big Fat Jerk


Home of the Barking Moonbat


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Men, Death, Rat Races: Saturday Night Contemplative Blogging

A year or so ago, one of my favorite neighbors, an older fellow and a cowboy, was thrown from a horse he should not have been trying to get on. He broke his neck in the fall and ended up paralyzed from the neck down.

It was terribly sad. He died a horrible death, begging to be put to sleep, to be taken off life support, to be allowed to die.

He should never have gone anywhere near that horse. He must have been somewhere in his seventies, in good shape for an old codger --- always toddling over to my place to round up his son's horses, always building something at his place, always driving around with critters of some sort, big and small, scattering chickens and guineas all over, smoking cigars, raising hell of some kind or other.

But he did go near that horse, and not just go hear him, but he got on him. He paid with his life.

One of the thoughts that struck me today is I don't think my brother believed he could possibly die, or that he even grasped the entire significance of death. I remember he once told me about an adjunct who worked for him. She'd suffered the death of her husband or someone, and my brother just didn't believe in putting aside work for such nonsense.

I also find myself suspecting that that was all a front --- that he was actually a tender soul forced into --- or rather, choosing --- the go-go-go life of supposed success.

This suspicion came to mind as I spent part of the day trying to track down old friends of his --- guys he'd grown up with and saw every few years and checked on every so often and slapped their backs and drank beer with and all that. I knew some of these fellows were successful --- but jiminy! I didn't realize just how successful.

I couldn't bring myself to call any of them because I found myself thinking my brother might be embarrassed that he had actually shown weakness by dying. I always knew that about him, but I never really realized it.

As you can tell, I'm entering the contemplative bargaining guilt-wracked phase of mourning. I feel as if I'm negotiating a deal with my brother and the universe, weighing my own effects in this process.

It's some kind of strange man-thing, although women do it, too. But it seems to be a much worse problem with men. See, while hunting down some of his old friends, the one who also got to watch me grow up --- I was barely kneehigh to a grasshopper when my brother left home and his friends were my heroes --- huge, hulking, giant beings, always smiling. masters in the art of the hamster wheel: competition, the battle for supremacy, the rat race, whatever. Friends, yes, but still in competition with one another ...

... while looking for them, I found their parents, ancient fathers I still remember from when I was a mere pup.

The ones still surviving appear to have long ago accepted the possibility that they might die, and have traded in the frenzied jockeying for position for flower gardening, growing bonsai, bouncing grandkids and great-grandkids on their knees.

Yet another lesson.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

There are things that are worth it.

But there's so much more that isn't.

I don't believe in speaking unkindly of the dead, but my brother's death was for things which just aren't worth it.

He was found yesterday morning in bed, unresponsive, on the edge of death at his wife's mother's home. He didn't even make it til the ambulance arrived.

He'd had a minor illness which he hadn't attended to, and he was pushing himself just like he always had for that one more dollar, that one more feather in his cap, that one more bit of supposed shelter from ... whatever.

He was an academic. And I had told him, just as I had told everyone, that I abandoned my Ph.D and academia because it was me or it was it, and I chose me. I told him I did it because it was going to kill me.

But it wasn't me it killed. It was him.

His minor illness that he'd been walking around with for a few weeks and that he wouldn't take off teaching for and that he wouldn't spend his spring break resting up from and that he had to drive 400-500 miles to teach another course during that break at another university for the extra cash and that feather in his cap, his minor illness somehow flared into a deadly monster while he was asleep and killed him.

It is a lesson to all of us.

He was a good man. He leaves behind beautiful children and a thoroughly bewildered wife and hundreds of students who owe so much to him.

But he deserved to be here to grow old with his wife and to watch his children have children and to become the dottering old professor wandering aimlessly through the hallways visited every so often by students who years later still adore him.

But it isn't to be.

You were a good man, a pesky but kind brother and this isn't fair and I am so very angry at you that you were so stupid not to take care of yourself.

But he is beyond that now. I am sorry and so, so sad that he had to go.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

My oldest brother died

Sometime this morning.

They don't know why or how or what.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Time out ...

I'm really burnt out so I'm taking a few days off from blogging.

I'll be back in a few days ...

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Okay, I know I haven't been posting, but it's because I'm on break and a couple of days ago, fell asleep. Well, not literally, but I've run between 10-12 hours of sleep a night for several nights now.

I really needed it, too. I knew I was getting pretty exhausted, but I didn't realize just how badly.

Add to that, all the gardening and other chores --- like I've been trying to sneak-paint the floors in here --- someday I'll put down laminate but, for now, I'm trying to prime, paint, poly the subfloors. This has been going on for a year now. I want to get them painted and primed to protect them, which may sound excessive but what are you going to do? I have to do it in bits and pieces because I haven't had a clear stretch of time to finish them in forever --- I planned to last summer but we had a fire in that house I co-owned, and I ended up having to drive back and forth back and forth back and forth and put all my energy into cleaning up that fire.

So bit by bit, I'm doing it here.

It hasn't helped that whenever I've had a couple of minutes, blogger has refused to let me post. Grrrrrr.

So I've missed the opportunity to rant about a lot of stuff, including Maureen Dowd (again) (why is it that the same people who would NEVER advocate Rice demand that I MUST advocate Dowd Because She Is A Woman --- sorry, but NO WAY! My advocacy goes to women doing a killer job, and there's a mess of them, too --- but it doesn't go to women who do a lackluster job and do the very things they accuse everyone else of then hang the anvil of Womanhood over anyone who dares disagree with them).

Then of course there's the global warming thing and we're running out of oil and looks like I seriously need to get serious about going solar and getting my dysfunctional well going again and everything else.

Whatever, there's lots to talk about but blogger has refused to let me do it and I just haven't had time to sit and wait for blogger to let me in, what with the sleeping and everything else.

But I'm back now, kind of at least, and will surely find something to get my knickers in a knot over.