The Great Joke

God is definitely a Joker. Peter Duggan's Artoon: Michelangelo from The Guardian
God is definitely a Joker. Peter Duggan’s Artoon: Michelangelo from The Guardian

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own. … And as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker.”
Moby Dick, Chapt. 49, by Herman Melville (1859)

I know that Melville here was talking about the effect that those people risking life and limb come to experience in the height of danger; the “free and easy sort of genial, desperado philosophy” that life-threatening experiences engender. But even without physical danger there have been times — often in the midst of psychological or emotional tribulations but sometime even when all is well with the world — that I have had that feeling that the Universe is some Great Joke… And that the joke is on me.

It’s not necessarily a bad feeling. After all, I don’t mind being the butt of a joke… As long as it’s a good one.

But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe those times where you feel that everything is a joke is a faint understanding of how infinitesimally small everything you experience, think, feel and perceive actually matters in the grand scheme of things. That’s not to say that we are unimportant. But when you put our individual lives beside the Universe as a whole, how laughable and ludicrous it is to think that whatever is going on in our lives is the be all, end all of… of anything.

It really is quite funny when you think about it. No, really. Let’s think about it for a moment. Consider the three images I have included in this post’s header image… Continue reading The Great Joke

A Song for World War III and Philosophical Thoughts

I stumbled on this interesting article on a singer / song-writer / comedian / satirist by the name of Tom Lehrer who was active in the 1950’s and ’60’s. He long preceded the likes of “Weird Al” Yankovic but his music, despite it’s age, was right at home on the Dr. Demento radio show of the ’70’s to ’90’s. Besides the pure “cool” factor of the man and his work, his career spurred thoughts in me bordering on the philosophical.

One of the many songs of his that grabbed me is, “So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III)”. Continue reading A Song for World War III and Philosophical Thoughts

Goodbye, Pathfinder…

My old Pathfinder sits on the side of Rampart Range Road on a scenic drive I took on my birthday last year. Pikes Peak can just be seen through the fog and mist of an autumn storm that rolled in near the end of the drive between Sedalia and Woodland Park.
My old Pathfinder sits on the side of Rampart Range Road on a scenic drive I took on my birthday last year. Pikes Peak can just be seen through the fog and mist of an autumn storm that rolled in near the end of the drive between Sedalia and Woodland Park.

Well a guy came to get my old Nissan Pathfinder today. I know it’s just a car, an inanimate object… But it was a little like saying goodbye to an old friend. I had that car for 18 years…

I got the car just after I got my last dog, Buddy. I remember when I took Buddy for his first drive in it as a puppy. It started to rain, and when I turned on the windshield wipers, he started to bark at them as they went back and forth. 🙂

I bought the Pathfinder new, shortly after I got out of the Navy. I was working as a photo copier repair guy, my car was my office, and I had to carry a bunch of parts & tools around with me. I had a small Saturn sports coupe and had just spent a winter driving it to clients’ business all over downtown Denver and the Denver Tech Center. I decided I needed something with more carrying space and that could handle winter driving better. Continue reading Goodbye, Pathfinder…

‘Non Vi Sed Arte’ – What does it mean to me?

Beaty Coat of Arms
The Beaty Coat of Arms

“Non vi Sed Arte” is Latin for “Not by Strength, by Guile”. It is the motto on the “coat of arms” of Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, the first Earl Beatty (1884-1927). It was also used by a couple of different military units. For example it was the unofficial motto of the Long Range Desert Group, a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army during WWII.

I always liked the saying. But my take on the slogan has changed as I have gotten older. When I was younger, not being the strongest of guys and having perhaps an excessive opinion of my intellect, I liked the idea of success due to mind over body. But as I grew older this “take” on the slogan not only grew to lose its appeal, but I began to feel a negative reaction to the slogan. Why be proud of a lack of strength or determination? And most dictionaries define guile as a treacherous cunning or skillful deceit. Did I really want to use that as some kind of guide or brag about my character? Continue reading ‘Non Vi Sed Arte’ – What does it mean to me?

Pull the Shade on the Night

Winter Moon
Winter Moon

poem © Jeffrey Beaty
written Dec. 31, 2015
24 lines

Times change, and so must I. Appropriate for the beginning of a new year.

This poem began like many of my poems, as a bit of negative maudlin dribble. And then it took a turn for the better. That positive spin was a little bit a conscious choice, but also kind of where I’m at… Trying to break the habits my brain likes to get into and drive outside the “ruts” my grey matter likes to follow. But this turn was also a little what actually occurred, and shows that nothing always stays the same. And if you look hard you can find something to enjoy, be happy or thankful for even in the worst of times. Read the Poem