Death in Life

Assuming the role of the cynical Preacher, I feel the need to make a few comments on travelers. They follow below:

"Youths venture out to 'see the world,' forgoing observation of the world within. I did this for many years myself, until I realized that I knew not who I was. That youths are dazzled by what they see is no great surprise. They are viewing the somethingness of the world from the point of view of their own nothingness.

Older individuals often venture out to 'get away from it all' but are soon back in their mind-dulling routines. The insecurity of not knowing what is going to happen next becomes unbearable.

Lovers of all ages venture out to find the proper setting, a "nest," if you will, in which to express their new-found feelings for each other; i.e., their lusty passions. This is awkward and embarrassing to describe, even for a zookeeper, and I won't comment further.

Oldsters venture out to rekindle wonder as the light fades out of misspent, disappointing lives. The travel industry is only too glad to paint the pictures, supply inspiring words, and take their money.

And fools of all kinds venture out to escape meaningless lives, replacing one bad life for another.

But few escape life's chains, a truly Promethean struggle, by going somewhere else.

While the scenes change when traveling, mind does not. It is the same old rock standing in the lovely meadow but failing to see its loveliness. It is the same old bolder risking a heart attack while climbing a mountain with a fabulous view to a liberated mind but not to a bolder; it is the same ol' same ol' that will soon be viewing a report in an office presided over by a tyrant and perhaps a sexual predator as well. It is death facing the abyss while trying to deny it. It is I AM the liar and the coward refusing to face the enemy of stagnation in a swamp of alligators which it calls its colleagues and associates. It is I AM DEATH in life coddling the disease that is killing it. It is the coffin nail putting on airs while the bees buzz and the little birds chatter as the body of a man who was once a person is lowered into a grave about which no one grieves. It is Sisyphus refusing to admit failure and praising the rock: 'Good old rock so hard, so firm. I love you, rock!'

Only the lovers can lay some claim to temporary life as blood roils, passion boils over and the male sperm dam bursts its levee, flooding the female flower. For just a moment the pain of separation subsides. But all is vanity mimicking insanity as the sun sets over Lover's Cove and a new kind of sadness descends. It is as though life is a tongue twister and Betty Botter forgot to buy some better butter and the batter turned out bitter.

I won't even mention what happens when lovers venture out to see the world together. It is too complex a mixture of elements to describe—something like a vodka martini stirred into crème brulee and steak tartare and consumed all at once."

"But Preacher," I hear the voice of the Humorist say, "you are too cynical! Youth will have time to turn inward and mind will grow. And even those out to escape dull lives may find solace in their travels. Preacher, paint us a more cheerful picture of the contemporary traveler."

Only the Satirist said he found my description both accurate and apt. "You nailed it!" he said with a sardonic grin.
By Louis Martin