Remember the good old days?
Neither do I, but from what Billy Joel once wrote, they weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems. It’s the kind of perspective we need now more than ever, if only to keep our boots on solid ground while the stars tease us with promises we know they’ll never be able to keep.
The Millennium just turned twenty one, which means it can get its drink on. And I know what you’re probably thinking. Do we really want to meet another calendar year that’s low on inhibitions and high on unpredictability? I mean, doesn’t Tinder provide enough of that shit as it is? But I’d like to think the new year will have a better sense of humor as a result.
For a year that was supposed to be spot on when it came to vision and hindsight, 2020 was more Carter Hayes than Isaac Hayes; as in . . more fool than cool; a delinquent tenant whose ass has finally been evicted by Father Time. But not before it unleashed a voracious predator whose genomic weaponry put humankind in its place.
Within this prosaic mosaic of a tormented tapestry, humanity coped by baking bread and singing windowsill songs with neighbors. Our everlasting will became testament to that truth Aldous Huxley once wrote about in A Brave New World when he said that pain was a fascinating horror. To our credit, we prevailed when civilization became uncivil to our senses. Sometimes in spite of ourselves, but hey, it still counts.
We learned yet again that the world is forged in laws that are graceless and thieving. It fumbles the ball on mercy because it’s too busy swimming through the dredge that delivers us from ashes to ashes and dust to dust. As temporary acquaintances, we might not like to believe that the world is just doing its job the best it can, but it’s true. The details may seem extraordinarily brutal, but that’s only because we believed in the lies of poetry and wine when they told us we could live forever.
Thing is, Huxley ain’t walking through that door. And if he was, he would damn us for ever having been happy in the first place. Because he knew that happiness possessed the fleeting quality of that leftover penny in your pocket. That it’s only here to be gone, it only lives to disappear. And beneath that deceptive surface lies the truth. We make tomorrow happen not with sugary propositions but on the salt of our steps.
So, in the now, maybe happiness is not worth striving for when peace of mind will keep us steady inside the worst of storms. And maybe we have a tougher chin than we ever dreamt possible. And maybe we stop looking for the light to guide us through this dark echo chamber of tumbling madness, because maybe . . just maybe, we possess that light our damn selves. No, check that.
I know we do.