Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Only Hoop-dee-doo Songs

All of the events in this piece appeared in Hell on Earth, a love story but showed up only as contributing parts of the ongoing story. This piece looks back on that story and one event in particular that was casually mentioned in passing. At the time this event only served to move the story forward—it was an important piece but not the most important piece because in Hell on Earth, a renegade angel is portrayed as the big mover and shaker. That was then. Looking back at the events in the novel from today’s vantage point I am able to recognize some of the more key situations—situations about which one could say… 

From That Moment On…

Girl Singer, Rosemary Clooney once sang:

“From this moment on, you for me, dear, only two for tea, dear… from this happy day, no more blue songs, only hoop-dee-doo songs...”

She was expressing the historically long running sentiment that not only can things change on a dime but that we’ll know it when it happens.

Confucius, or Lao Tzu, or possibly Mao Tse Tung said that, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with one step,” which seems to also imply that the one step in question will be the next one and you will know it when you take it.

I overheard my father once pass on to a golfing buddy that old adage, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” which also sounds very Chinese but is generally attributed to Synanon founder Charles Dederich. I thought it sort of strange because my father was a strong believer in routine and not a proponent of the sweeping changes in one’s life that this saying might imply.

But whether it is a popular song lyric, an old Chinese saying or an alcoholic’s recovery program slogan I have strong doubts that anyone can ever precisely and with accuracy predict that a single event will be the event that changes everything. We’re just not that good at fortune telling and we’re not nearly as objective as we’d like to think.

Oh we’d like to be able to say if I do this or that, or move to here or there, or acquire some or choose none that the decision will be a significant one—a life changing one but to quote another song lyric, it ain’t necessarily so.