A significant human experience
I am aware that I do not always read things properly the first time I see them.
For some time now I have been concerned about the opposition in this area to the idea of having Methodists as neighbors, a strange and incomprehensible phenomenon that was made only more difficult to understand when it was followed by news of the arrest of a Methodist at a laboratory in South Thomaston the other day.
But after some consultation with better informed sources, I am now advised that the abbreviation Meth does not refer to Methodists at all.
Naturally I am only too glad that I did not make an utter fool of myself by attempting to oppose the wave of anti-Methodist discrimination, which apparently never happened in the first place.
* * * * *
This week, after much thinking and worrying, I decided to open what they call a Facebook account, using this newfangled thing they call a computer.
The very first thing that happened is that I discovered that I still have two sons, both of whom are apparently very much alive out there and engaged in all sorts of interesting things. I must say I had no idea.
Next I discovered that the word friend has now become a verb, whereas the verb used to be “befriend.” One is now invited to friend other people by pressing a button rather than making friends with them the way we used to.
Among the many contradictions involved in this business of "friending" rather than "befriending" is that I have received a request for electronic friendship from someone who once made a quite effective effort not to be my friend in real life.
To request electronic friendship after declining the human variety seems to suggest that while the regular habits of meeting for company, gossip, coffee, strong drink, and so forth are not available, nevertheless this person wants some sort of second-class friendship built around not meeting for company, gossip, coffee, strong drink, and so forth.
Just what that sort of befriending this would be, what it would actually consist of, I have no idea. It has a hollow ring to it.
Of course the delights of discovering that I still have two sons, not to mention several nieces and nephews in various corners of western civilization, more than outweighs the confusion and concern stirred up by this strange attempt at befriending.
Finally, I should mention that it did not take long for me to receive befriending requests from three of the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse. Matthew, Mark and Arthur Gull have each sent a friend request. Naturally I have ignored them, too.
* * * * *
As the recent snow melts and the mud begins to rise, we are beginning to see evidence of the wretchedness and brokenness that has been hidden beneath it for weeks.
Last week I saw a man at the corner of Union and Park who was carrying a cardboard sign: “Destitute: Any Help?”
Nobody was stopping.
* * * * *
This next item was mentioned to me by a friend (a person I was having breakfast with in actual space-time) on Sunday. He saw it written somewhere, to the effect that if you make a typo then the errorists have won.
* * * * *
I am told that basketball is some sort of competitive exercise in which volunteers try to throw a ball into a net, an event that when it happens is treated as having enormous meaning for large numbers of people. There is great leaping, weeping, embracing, and rending of clothes, for example.
Unfortunately the meaning of it all quite escapes me, and I feel a bit left out of what appears to be a significant human experience which I just cannot begin to fathom.
I am reminded that there is perhaps more than one reason why it makes sense for me to live up here in these concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street. The regular solitude helps me avoid having to try to understand things like basketball, knowing I will fail.
* * * * *
The other day a few of us (I suppose we are friends) gathered to celebrate a birthday. As is the case more and more these days, any birthday among us raises the question of how it is we have made it this far.
In the end, the best we could come up with is that we have made it this far by not dying yet.
It is the sort of answer that is 100 percent true even though it doesn’t explain a single thing. It is the sort of answer you might get by reading something written by Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.
* * * * *
One way to know you are getting on in years is when people your own age mention casually that they went to school with the Wicked Good Band, or Joe Bornstein.
David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply by pretending to be an electronic friend.
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