Landschlacht, The Ides of January 2016
“Ignorance is bliss.”
A commonly-used phrase which has its positive and its negative sides.
In the minus column, ignorance has led people to do violence against one´s fellow man or to commit acts of sheer stupidity.
In the plus column, not knowing sometimes can be a blessing.
For example, I wish I didn´t know that on New Year´s Eve as my wife and I were ringing in 2016 in Freiburg im Breisgau, in southwestern Germany´s Black Forest, singing legend Natalie Cole died, age 65.
Her rendition of “Unforgettable” with her father, Nat King Cole, was a musical gift to my soul.
But had I known I might not have felt celebratory that night.
This past week, two more legends surrendered their fights against that most relentless and heartless of ailments, cancer.
Musical genius David Bowie is dead.
He was a man who not only recreated himself but reinvented music.
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Is there life on Mars?
Acting star Alan Rickman is also gone.
On screen he portrayed his roles so convincingly that the man Alan was forgotten as he was Hans Gruber, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Severius Snape, to name only a few of his classic moments.
Eight months ago I turned 50.
Last month I was diagnosed with a non-fatal but life changing ailment of my own.
But my wife, the doctor, sees all the fatal potentialities to this condition and so has created for herself and, by involuntary extension, for me worries about my own demise.
I don´t like to think about death.
I selfishly want to be one of the uncommon folks who live 100 years, hopefully retaining enough of my mind and body to be somewhat self-sufficient.
But the odds are against me.
Living past my 70s, somehow avoiding both disease and accident, is unlikely if statistics regarding life expectancy are to be believed.
So what´s next?
Continue on with the status quo, living as I usually do, pretending that somehow I am immortal?
Live life in fear and paranoia, carefully avoiding anything that might harm my chances?
Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow it may be too late?
Like many folks I too have my own private “bucket list” of things I wish to do and places I wish to visit.
But responsibilites and commitments to others mean I can´t just pack my bags and walk the world, as much as the wild man inside might want to.
So, all I can do is to keep on keeping on.
But maybe the dark cloud of knowledge that even legends can die has a silver lining.
Take nothing and no one for granted.
Make each moment count.
And when my clock stops, maybe, in some small way, amongst those rare persons who have come to be very precious parts of my existence, I too might, for a moment in time, be unforgettable too.
So, good-bye, Ziggy.
Yippie ki yay, Herr Gruber.
Sleep well, Nat.
May someone somewhere someday think of me too and hear “Unforgettable” in their heart as well.
“That´s why, darling, it´s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am