Category: Life

Thankful

On Thanksgiving Day most of us will eat too much. Many will watch football games. Some will retrieve playing cards from the closet, or a worn mah jong table. If we’re lucky we’ll be among friends and family, basking in the comforting warmth of people who know us well and love us anyway. Few of...

The Magic Formula

AxD – P = M (C+F) Where “A” represents apathy, “D” represents dismay, and “P” represents powerlessness. And “M” represents misery, “C” represents contentment, and “F” represents fulfillment. Thus, our formula expresses the ability of one force — the dismayed and apathetic individual with a perceived lack of power — to inflict misery upon another...

The Bad Thing About Dying

Except for suicidal people, those desperate souls who wish for nothing more than oblivion, none of us wants to die. Why? Many religions teach us that there is a “better place” awaiting us when we depart this earthly plane. Whether it’s heaven, nirvana, or some parallel universe where Louis Armstrong provides the soundtrack and ice...

The Most Toys

The other day an older friend of ours was describing a trend he had noticed among his acquaintances nearing the age of 60. “They all seem to be increasingly obsessed with things,” our pal noticed. “The older they get, the more money they have, the more stuff they want.” He went on to recount a rather...

Eugene Konik, 1936-2004

My father Eugene Konik died yesterday, August 25th at 3PM, of congestive heart failure. Family surrounded him at his hospital bed, and we held his hands and cradled his head as he passed on. If any death can be said to be beautiful, my dad’s was. His heart gradually stopped beating and his breath slowed gracefully;...

Giving to the World

With very few exceptions, all of us must work. Our jobs, those five-days-a-week responsibilities that earn us the money for food, shelter, clothing, and recreational drugs, allow us to both survive and feel like we’re actually doing something with our brief lives. Some jobs pay more than others. Some are dirtier than others. Some are fun...

Young at Heart

Back when they used to write songs the way they no longer do today, the composer Johnny Richards penned these words: “Fairy tales can come true/ It can happen to you/ If you’re young at heart” and the penultimate stanza, “If you should survive/To a hundred-and-five/Think of all you’ve derived/ Out of being alive.” In...

Accepting Suicide

To we the living — those of us who rejoice and suffer, work and play, ruminate and act, love and hate, laugh and cry — willfully bringing about a premature end to this absurdly wonderful experience of being alive seems unfathomable. Anyone who would commit suicide, whether because of despair, political conviction, or religious brainwashing,...

Specializing in Everything

Ours is the age of specialists. To be better than average at anything requires a mono-maniacal dedication to that one thing. Should you wish to be a successful professional golfer, you need to devote most of your waking hours to hitting dimpled orbs. Should you wish to be a successful oboist, you need to devote...

The Voracious Appetite

Recently we spent two weeks away in Central and South America, including a visit to the country of Ecuador, which, among other tourist attractions, offers visitors an opportunity to visit the “Mital del Mundo” — the middle of the world. It’s an obelisk with a painted orange line on the ground bisecting the northern and southern...