Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

I maintain: a good sense of humor; a belief in hard work; and eclectic tastes in food, art, and politics.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Musings on Life's Events

The variety of phrases used to describe the human condition is quite remarkable. They range from earthy ("life's a bitch") to ephemeral ("life is fleeting") . Many colorful expressions abound to express the frailty or shortness of life in galactic time, e. g., "too soon old, too late smart." Of course, the one eternal problem of aging is to elevate one's understanding of life and events that occur based on one's experiences and studying, while avoiding the tendency to becoming a cynic.
Apropos of nothing in particular, the Ken Burns special on Jack Johnson was pretty much what might have been expected, with one glaring difference. By including quotations from Jack Johnson himself, one could see a man who was facing the world that was mostly arrayed against him, but Johnson seemed determined to resist the attempts to completely characterize him as any other person. In one part of the program, Johnson is responding to either a question or a comment about his lifestyle and wild ways of behaving. His justification was quite touching in noting that life is not certain and playing it safe might not be safe. He says (more or less): " may is shot in the leg and dies, while another man is shot in the head and survives!" What an amazing perspective from a man who was soon to become a nonperson as soon as he lost the title of heavyweight champion.
Golf is something like the above comment. Some golfers can have great shots and end up missing putts and losing either holes or strikes. Other golfers can have bad drives or second shots, but with a lucky putt or two can win the hole or save strikes and win tournaments. Golf is said to teach humility--if it does not teach it, it clearly will illustrate the effects of fate or luck in life and golf. Last weekend, Charles Howell III hit a shot at the last hole that hit the cup and could have stayed in for an eagle, possibly winning or tying for the lead. The golf fates saw that the ball flicked back out and went into the water, giving a penalty stroke. Howell made a nice recovery, but was only a gracious loser in the process (he was very humble and gracious!). Perhaps that is why the French (if I may quote them here) have the saying, "c'est la vie." Or in Spanish, there is a similar saying, viz, "asi es la vida."


Blogger jim said...

Interesting post-- BTW how as the latest from Ken Burns?

12:22 AM  

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