1. This title, of course, comes from T.S. Eliot. That is, it originated with Eliot, but for me, it comes from the old National Lampoon parody The Love Song Of J. Edgar Hoover, which served as my dramatic reading in a freshman speech class. After I finished, the teacher asked me if I'd even heard of Eliot. Since all I really knew were the few lines from The Hollow Men referenced in Apocalypse Now--sadly, I had no idea what the Lampoon piece was parodying--I said no. My teacher was disappointed.
It was at that moment that I came to believe, as I still believe to this day, that I'm not nearly as smart as I want to be.
2. The two paragraphs above repeatedly featured the words "I" or "me"--twelve, counting variations. One of the reasons posting around here has become less frequent is because I'm trying to make this space less relentlessly self-centered. Many posts in the past were devoted to painfully detailed retellings of awful (and, far less often, joyous) occurrences in my life. All well and good when there is some larger point to be drawn, some fondly-recalled universal moment we've all shared, or even when there's some catharsis to be had by exorcising old demons. Sometimes, though, I resorted to just offering tediously detailed descriptions of bad dates, things that weren't even interesting as I experienced them.
So, you know, sorry about that.
3. All well and good, but hey, today's my birthday, so I get to be a little self-indulgent, right? Problem is, I've got nothing to say. I'm forty-six today, well past the halfway mark--presumably, at least; yeah, you never know how long you'll live, but neither of my parents lived to see eighty, so the odds aren't exactly in my favor--and past the point of taking stock but not to the point of looking back.
My life is still unfolding, in other words. I was in my forties when I decided to become a homeowner, and in the last year alone I've acquired an actual, permanent girlfriend and a small flock of critters. I still have no idea how to do basic things around the house--thank God Janie knows how to set a mousetrap!--but there's time to learn.
But not all the time in the world. There is a definite sense that, even as it unfolds, life is still winding down. I'm aware that my body can no longer do certain things I used to take for granted, and I'm more aware than ever that everything I see and know could be gone tomorrow. These aren't bad things, really--they just make me appreciate what I've got.
4. Obligatory Moment Of Delmar: I love all my cats very much, and will go to my grave insisting the late and much-missed Scotchie was the best cat ever, but there's no question that my beloved little ball of rage Del is my favorite cat in this world or any other. He's been by to rub against me repeatedly as I've been writing, and at one point reared up on his hind legs to begin chewing on my elbow. Sure, he has dozens of psychoses, but more than anything else, he's fiercely devoted to me. Plus, he's adorable!
Though not, it must be said, as adorable as the beagle, who has also been over to say hi repeatedly as I've been writing. Four-legged creatures love me!
5. The first time I wrote a birthday post it was a fairly dismal day, spent buying tires or some such. The pattern repeated from then on, assuming I took note of the day at all. This year...I dunno. Why bother complaining? I'm alive, I'm happy. Life is good.