All Is Vanity

"All is vanity," says the Preacher. Is he right?

"Travel is so broadening," says the Satirist. Of course he doesn't mean a word of it.

And the Humorist tells of "Innocents Abroad," a bunch of smug American mumblers and bumblers who misinterpret almost everything they see.

"All is vanity?" The Preacher is probably right.

A trip to Shanghai and an overpriced drink looking over a polluted river. What's the lesson here, class?

A cruise on the Seine River and a "pulled" wallet, either literally or figuratively. Who's the dummy, dummy?

And self deception: "Life is good!"

Then home to roam the dark allies of your mind—gum on soles, soul-gum slime.

"Life is good," you say expansively—if you had one!

But friends, nevertheless, are impressed by your great escape from what they call "reality," what you call Hell, not knowing what you went through to get there—the anxiety of being lost half the time, the misunderstandings that occur when speaking a foreign tongue, the misplaced keys or forgotten door codes, the card-consuming machines of greed that nearly eat yours, the "smart" phone that knew who you were at home but now hasn't the faintest idea who you are, ...

Her hair in the breeze, suppressing a summer sneeze, and that "maybe you take me with you next time" tease, followed by your on-top-of-it-all lie: "Life is good." What a crock!

And tallk about hyperbole: "Life is a postcard; life is a double gin and tonic, no, a triple; life is a breeze, no, a wind on fire." Life is a life is a life; life is ... a lie!

Then another day, another May, the birds now singing to you, buds bursting, sap seeping, the grass more green than you have ever seen. Was the Preacher wrong? Or did he lie to you just to make a point? Is life really good and all things meaningful? Are you learning how to sing a new song in a new key, H-sharp major, I-flat minor? At least the question provokes wonder and chance. Does her smile mean maybe, just maybe? And does her laugh confirm the possibility of a chance? Expanding consciousness leads to a feeling of innocence and a new day gives birth to forms unborn.

Let us test the waters of the uncharted seas. Let us stir them up and see what the seas see.
By Louis Martin