MY NAME IS SUE, HOW DO YOU DO? NOW YOU GONNA DIE.
Heard a great quote from the late economist John Maynard Keynes this morning.
“In the long term,” he said, “we’re all dead.”
Sounds pessimistic, no?
No. I take it to mean, Get the hell going and do something now.
And, in fact, that’s what Keynes was was advocating. He was a crisis economist. His idea was that during periods of financial collapse, worrying too much about the long, long range repercussions of rescue efforts gives short shrift to people who are suffering now.
Yeah, Keynes was being a smart ass when he uttered the line. That’s probably the main reason I like it. The above-mentioned reason, though, ranks a very close second.
We’re all the walking dead. Throughout my entire adult life, my guiding principle has been, What am I gonna think about when I’m laying on my deathbed?
Am I going to think, Man, that was quick; and watching all those episodes of “Two and a Half Men” really made it fly by?
This Is How You Want To Spend Your Life?
So, early on, I decided to do what I love and hopefully, in my infinitesimally miniscule way, give this crazy, mixed-up world something good. I became a writer.
My idea was I could introduce readers to people they’d never be able to meet, describe places they’d never be able to see, and explain things they’d never have an opportunity to think about.
I’ve been rewarded with a rich life of fascinating characters, broadened horizons, and occasional crushing poverty. You can’t win them all.
A pal of mine — let’s call her Thalia — just quit her job. She wants to start her own online business. The going has been slow and stress-inducing. But she’s plugging away almost to the point of jeopardizing her health and whatever sanity she has left.
Thalia visited me at The Book Corner the other day. She danced around my questions about how things were going until, finally, she could no longer evade them. “I’m scared,” she said. “Plus, there’s that voice in my head that says Are you nuts? Whaddya doing? You’ve got no business starting your own business.”
If she was smart, if she was prudent, if she was thinking about the “long term,” she’d have stayed in her job. And died a long death.
She’ll live now. She’ll continue to eat — albeit in smaller portions. But she wants to trade in a product she loves and has been trained in. And she wants to do something that just might do this crazy, mixed-up world some good.
Yep, Thalia will really live now — that is, until she dies.
Does the previous entry’s headline ring a bell? It’s a line from a very famous song, the biggest hit Johnny Cash ever had, called, “A Boy Named Sue.”
I used to listen to it constantly on the transistor radio I had surgically attached to my ear during the summer of 1969, much to the annoyance of all adults in my general vicinity.
The best line I could think of that referred to death was the one about the boy, Sue. You know who wrote that song? Shel Silverstein.
Yup, That Shel Silverstein
POUNDING THE KEYBOARD
Not every local writer or author is as wildly celebrated as our own Joy Shayne Laughter.
Passing motorists point at her and shout, “Hey, there’s the chick in the fedora!”
She lives a life that’s the envy of South Central Indiana. In fact, she was seen the other day at Kleindorfer’s, shelling out big bucks for the most expensive snow shovel in the place.
Some scribes, though, toil away in anonymity.
He was holding a copy of a brand new book in his hand when he came in yesterday morning. He held it up and said, “Just to let you know, I brought this in. I’m not shoplifting.”
So I put the phone down before the 911 operator could pick up.
“You’re lucky, pal,” I said, watching him through narrowed lids.
Turns out the book in his hand was, indeed, his. As in, he wrote it.
It’s his second book. Ironically, I’d just sold his first book last week to an Ivy Tech student who’d expressed an interest in works on socialism vs. capitalism. That book was called “The Case against Capital.” Larry’s new book is called “Why Marx Was Wrong.”
The copy he had in his hand was an uncorrected galley edition. It’ll be published by AuthorHouse.
Larry and I likely would disagree about everything up to and including whether the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning. He’s penned articles for, among others, the website WorldNetDaily, a gang whose very existence makes me break out in hives.
But what of it? That’s one of the reasons I became a writer — to get to know people who I wouldn’t normally pal around with. To broaden, as I mentioned earlier, my horizons.
Larry Eubank is still as friendly as can be. And he’s living his dream. I like that.