There is something good to be said about a man who, instead of doling out his country’s riches to the already rich, gave them to the poor. That has to be commendable. But there is something harsh to be said about the man who, rather than harness his country’s human talents, quite happily scattered them to the diaspora. There is something paralyzing about a paranoid mind that saw “enemies” behind life’s chance events, even the blowing of the wind. For those whose properties were seized indiscriminately or were ruined for no good cause by the Comandante Eternal then there is something gratifying that he was, after all, merely a mortal. His macroeconomic policies were, as far as was reported in the West, woeful and such policies, despite the fantasies of revolutionaries, have never been a success for any country ever. They won’t be for Venezuela either since she is no more special than any nation that has gone before.
Yet, there is something sad about the passing of the man that Venezuela has lost. Even though like all mad men he stood for the accumulation of power, he unlike our capitalist fat cats (think Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal who wants the world to KNOW just how rich he is, what a pimp!) did not promote the concentration of wealth like is occurring say in America. He stood up to bullying from the United States while being a bully of considerable merit himself; yes he was a despicable hypocrite. Venezuela shall see no man like him again and she should pray there is no Stalin in the wings after the loss of this Lenin. That would be a tragedy but then tragedy is what humans excel at.
It’ not unusual for the religiously minded at a funeral to proclaim that God works in mysterious ways. This is supposed to be their way of dealing with the loss of the loved one. The question is: if the death is God’s work (or at least by His not preventing it) then why are they all crying?
I killed a spider tonight. It was crawling over the wall trying to get in the house. I think it was trying to get in the house though it may have been trying to get across the doorway. Anyway I brushed it, forcefully, off the wall. About a fortnight ago I saw a large spider flit across my living room but I had been too slow to catch it or see where it went. That flashback was playing in my head when I flicked tonight’s spider. Even as I saw it writhing on the floor, probably terrified to death, I determined to kick it further away from my door. So I did. I think I killed it but you never know. These things are tougher than they look. As I turned to put the key in the front door I felt a pang boom in my chest. Guilt. I had just extinguished a life. That spider had done me no wrong. Even if it had gotten into the house it’s not like it’s going to lay in my warm bed enjoying my soft pillows or eat my eggs or drink my bottled water. It’s not going to hijack my computer and steal my passwords or throw a wild party when I’m out of the flat. In fact it would, probably, have stayed well out of my way. Not even probably but almost certainly. So why did I kill it. I don’t know. I do actually, it was fear that made me do it. Fear of a little and quite pretty looking brownish green arachnid just one inch in diameter. The creepy crawly nasty. I know its nastiness to be so because I was brought up to believe that to be true. And as much as I try not to believe things I’m told without proof or a reasonable probability of being true, tonight I succumbed to my primal instinct. It may have been poisonous, you know. I wake up and, very like the guests in August Winnig’s short story Das Romerzimmer, I’m dead in my bed. That’s silly I know, no one wakes up dead but you know what I mean. The thought has occurred to me that I’m probably nasty looking to every spider. How would I like it if something, anything, that considered me nasty just snuffed me, squashed me in an instant. I wouldn’t like it at all.
:why we say Yes when we mean No
:why we defer to ideas and people that are plain silly
:why we acquiesce when we should stand our ground
:what makes us define who we are by the work we do
:what compels us to tread the road most traveled
:what becomes the great regret when life comes to a stop
:necessary or desirable
We are what we have come to be and not the life we dream. When we have lived and have lived life vigorously, then and only then would we deserve our place in the epic story of humankind.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool that I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away … leaving only what is truly important.”
– Steve Jobs, 2005 speech at Stanford
Death is an obligation which we all must pay
There is not one man living who can truly say
if he will be alive or dead on the next day.
Fortune is dark; she moves, but we cannot see the way
nor can we pin her down by science and study her.
There … Go on,
Enjoy yourself, drink, call the life you live today
your own, but only that, the rest belongs to chance.
– Heracles in Euripdes’ play, Alcestis
Published by Univ of Chicago Press
Translated by Richard Lattimore
I looked up at the sky today and I knew I would miss you, the sky, when I’m dead and kaput.
I looked at my flat today and it dawned, someone else young and gay or middle-aged and gray lived here once.
A hundred years from now who will remember my hard work and input?
That I lived chasing gremlins. America spends Medicare keeping Granny from Hades.
Granny is going to die. Granny go. Let her go. Go she must.
I have come to the gates of Delphi. Seek and Know. I know. I am going to die.
Not Now. Not Yet. But in time.