Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I love those ad spots for Hulu, the ones starring Alec Baldwin and Dennis Leary claiming to be aliens providing us with mindless entertainment so they can suck our mushy brains dry. "Because we're aliens, and that's how we roll." This never fails to crack me up. My mushy brain responds to humor, and the truth of the jest.

The very cool image above is of a postcard collage created by my very talented pal Robbie, and which she sent me for my birthday. Very clearly on the surface is the message, "Honor Time," while invisibly, beneath several layers, are buried the words, "Life is Messy."

I've been thinking a lot about time lately; about
how I've spent it, how much of it is lost, how much I might have left. That it was once my friend, and now very clearly is no longer. And I am forced to acknowledge that I have not always honored time, thinking, as one does, it to be in endless supply. I know, of course, that it is not. It is precious, finite in unpredictable ways and I have not been giving it it's due, spending far too much of it, in the words of my favorite aliens, in my bliggity blogs and facey spaces, cyber worlds and tweety places. I revel in a lot of pointless nonsense.

That life is messy is true as well, although I cannot in truth say mine has been. As lives go, mine has been a lucky one ~ full of love and affection, comfort and ease, often in spite of my best efforts to the contrary. This fact surprises me still, and I am grateful for it. But life is sorrow as well, and the passage of time highlights this inevitability.

I was looking for something in some old journals the other day and came across an unattributed quote (for I am not scrupulous in private diaries) "Accept sadness as a condition of life, not a transitory effect to be obliterated in a fourth act blizzard of good feelings, but something that can only be kept at bay..."

I've no idea where the passage came from, but I have always known the sentiment to be true. The older I get, the more I feel the wisdom of it. Perhaps that's what all the mindless, noisy, candy-coated entertainment is about ~ keeping the sadness at bay. This too has it's place.

I've just been listening to Brooke Shields speaking at the memorial for Michael Jackson, whose early death is a testament to the importance of honoring time if ever there was one. In memorializing her friend Brooke introduced the song Smile, written in 1936 by Charlie Chaplin with lyrics added later by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. I've always loved the song ~ it is happiness steeped in melancholy, given depth when sung with the wisdom of one who knows.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile