I’m not talking about Trump. To tolerate already two more excruciating years will be a challenge for us during the remainder of his first – hopefully his last – term. No, for once (?) I am talking about myself. People my age (81) spend most of their time looking backwards, and bore to tears others whom they imagine are passionately interested in their life history. Some of us prefer to look forward. My 85th birthday, four years from now, will mark my entry into old age (this according to my cardio). It may not be the beginning of the end, but the clock is ticking and pretty soon my heart won’t be. I have no spectacular projects in mind for my limited future – except the welfare of my children and grandchildren, and, of course, this Blog. But for senior citizens like me, it is not unusual (I don’t get no satisfaction from most of the new songs, but some of the golden oldies will never be forgotten) to look back and marvel at the gift we were given seven or more decades ago – and not simply to reminisce and even less to brag or to lament, but to wonder why we … happened.
Whatever we became, we began as a fluke and survived in spite of the slings and other projectiles life threw at us. We were, most of us, just one of a crowd, probably like me an anonymous, unknown entity whose life will never make the history books. But those of us who take the time to think are struck by the fact that we were, we are, SINGULAR, one-of-a-kind individuals with a mind literally of our own. Some of us share our thoughts with others – as I am doing right now – but we all have also had thoughts we keep to ourselves, thinking thoughts no one else would ever know we had, experiencing feelings, sensations, impressions, ideas, fears and hopes no doubt similar to those others may have had but which lacked the fingerprints of our singularity. Banknotes, postage stamps, bottles of Coke, grains of wheat are fungibles, indistinguishable from each other. We are unique. Even “identical” twins are unique. Never before, or after, us has there been or will there ever be any – body (or, at least, any mind) quite like ours. We were, the sage said, all born originals but unfortunately most of us end up as copies.
I do not claim to be the most eloquent (and obviously not the most profound) atheist on the planet. The vast majority of things I say and write, most often without my realizing it, I received from others, and found worth repeating or rephrasing. If there is anything truly original in my work – an idea, an insight, an anecdote, a turn of phrase – notably in this Blog, I hope it will interest my readers. If it inspires them to share their own intimate thoughts with others, we may both find satisfaction in having enriched, to some infinititesimal degree, the capital of mankind. The trouble, of course, is that we tend to think that what we have to say is worth listening to, that I tend to think that what I write is worth reading. It’s for you, dear reader, to judge whether this post was.