Thursday, August 6, 2009

Staying Alive

It is not so bad being 51. Half a century done. Some morning are sweet. Waking up with a confidence that survival is possible. I think that may be the leftover of the era in which I came of age. Surviving is the key to all things. Surviving what life throws at you. According to Henry Allen's What it Felt Like: Living in the American Century, the theme of the 70's (my teen years) was "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees from Saturday Night Fever. I guess I picked up on that theme and never let lose of it. Silly me.

Funny thing, for me, the era was defined by Star Wars not Saturday Night Fever. Never saw the John Travolta iconic 70's expression until 2001. I was not impressed.

I think it was Thoreau who sited the venture of living "deliberately" (Actually I know; I Googled the phrase and used Firefox's spellchecker to make sure it was right). Not sure what it means to live deliberately. One would think that at my age I would, or should. I guess it means that one picks one's goals and goes after them with the tenacity of a bulldog (the admired breed before the Pit Bull became so popular as a form of protest against liberal do-gooders -- funny how we raise animals as symbols and later destroy them on the capricious whim of social stigma ... or is that strata?).

I met my old friend again today: Pain. Or was it Shock from a minor assault to the system. Dentist lanced the infected pocket along the gum line. As he made the incision the whole body tensed so tight that I felt like I had been in a nasty street fight. Nothing a shot of rum in a hot cup of coffee did not clear up later. Sweet, sweet, maturity. Rum as medicine. Guess I am old enough now to drink; I know it is not for fun, and it is not in protest to the status quo. Mike Royko would say I am old enough to drink now.

Speaking of friends. I meet a man on Saturday who use to go to the Yshive outside Azle. I did not recall his name. His voice did sound familiar. Did not recognise his face. But he knew me. He asked me if I was still following the way.

I told him I had moved on from his cosmic view. God's old law was not for me. He asked me why. Arguing religion at a Taco Bell when you are there for a quick bite with your second daughter is not idea fun. I gave him a polite answer. I simple said Galatians.

You know me, I have written about this before. As far as I am concerned Galatians is authentic. Paul wrote it himself because it was written in Gallic. Paul knew the language because his home of Tarsus borders Galatia. Paul knew the traditions of the Galatians. He also knew the troubles caused by those who wanted the Galatians, the quintessential Heathens, to convert to Judaism before becoming Christians. Paul said the Codifiers simply wanted bragging rights in the synagogues. It was Paul's assertion that the Galatians were not under the Jewish Torah. Pretty much that simple. And in one form or another, today's preachers want to replace the liberty of the Christian with the enslavement to an equally obsolete legal code. Truth is, as far as I am concerned, it is all based on the whim of man anyway.

Some of this I shared with him. Most of it I did not. He said he would call. I graciously gave him my phone number. Probably will not hear from him again. If there is any liberty in Christianity it is in the letter to the Galatians ... that is, or course, if one wants to argue such things. I don't really want to bother any longer. Whatever expression you find that works for you and describes your relation to your God, if any, is just fine with me. If you hurt others, you will be treated as a criminal ... eventually.

This absesed tooth borough home just how precarious it is to "Stay Alive." I paid off a purchase I had made to replace a needed tool of the trade. That left me with enough for Gas for the week. I tanked up on Saturday. On Sunday the tooth blew up. Monday cost me $33.00 in antibiotics. Thursday cost me $20.00 of a $53.00 co-pay. There went the rest of the week's gas alliance. It runs me five tanks of gas every two weeks to work where I do. I can't afford to live closer. It averages between $100.00 and $120.00 a week. That is a day's pay every week just to get to work. Cost of living is what it is. As much as I like the job, it is expensive to work there.

As I said, I am still just "Staying Alive."

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