Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I believe in this

I may be coming down with a cold or something akin to that.  I have felt really tired and my body aches. But then I have been crawling around on the boat and doing a lot of varnish work on it for the last few days.  I will just ride it out and see if the fatigue is just that or if it is something else.

Today, I am staying home.  Yesterday, I was interviewed for a program on ETV.  I enjoyed the producer and the cameraman. They were interesting, asked good questions, got great footage, and made the interview fun.  I have done a lot of interviews over my career.  One of the facts about me is that I was once featured on CBS National News with Dan Rather.  But the interesting part was the research and the interesting critters that I was studying.  I didn't care much about any focus on me.  And the same thing yesterday--we spent over three hours talking about some extremely interesting critters in the salt marsh whose behavior in many ways is more civilized than ours.

I received some sad news about a friend yesterday.  He has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and is undergoing intense chemo therapy.  He was a colleague of mine and one of my running buddies.  We did some research projects together.  I told him that I would be willing to come to where he is and help out in any way.  He said that he knew that, but that it was now up to God and the doctors.  I get that, but that part of me still wants to reach out and make things okay for others.

He was kind to me when I first came to work at the institute.  He put us up in his house while we were looking for a house to buy. And he came to visit my wife when she had her heart attack.  He has done countless other things over the years that are too numerous to mention.   Suffice to say that he is not an alcoholic nor one who has been affected by alcohol or drugs.  He is just a good-hearted, genuine person.  And that is a rare commodity in many ways.

It is odd how one day the world gets turned upside down by something that you didn't expect.  That is when we not only rely on our inner strength but on our friends and on a power greater than ourselves.  What amazing opportunities I have been given and what an amazing life this is.

And finally this:

"I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not.

I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen - I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.

I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state.

I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste.

I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like martians in War of the Worlds.

I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman.

I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself.

I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.

I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too.

I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system.

I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it." ~Neil Gaiman


  1. I believe in Neil Gaimen and his story-telling abilities and all that other stuff- which is great! and ESPECIALLY that jade is petrified dragon sperm.
    I am so very sorry about your friend. Life can change on a dime. It can make your head spin. That's why we need to pay attention.

  2. Sorry to hear about your dear friend Syd.

    As for Neil Gaiman's sentiment, "I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

    I couldn't agree more. Life is full of unexpected twist and if we worry which way it turns, we forget to live. There is a motto I whisper to myself daily - "Within each day" It's a reminder that all else falters in light of the day ahead. I don't know what it holds until I have lived each minute, each hour of the day. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. It is hard to know what to do when a friend is sick. Maybe a visit down the road will come at the right time.

    I believe that we can convince ourselves on just about anything no matter what the facts say. Is it because we can't face the truth or is it because we don't want to be wrong?

  4. I LOVED the Neil Galmen piece! Thanks for sharing!!!

    The other part of your post that stood out to me (isn't it weird that each person so uniquely hones in on what speaks to them?): You said about your friend that "he is not an alcoholic nor one who has been affected by alcohol or drugs. He is just a good-hearted, genuine person. And that is a rare commodity in many ways".
    I tripped out because I thought, "You know what?... I think it is a rare commodity that he is not a person who has been affected by alcohol or drugs!" In my little family alone, Mr. M's alcoholism has 'affected' AT LEAST 10 people deeply.
    One person with one disease the ripples through so many lives. So if your friend really has not been affected by it, that might be a borderline miracle :)

  5. i believe that was the best quote I have ever read, and I believe I will pray for your friend.

  6. Belief can take you in some wild directions.

  7. An excellent post as usual Syd. It is hard to find out when you find out about someone we care about is so ill. I hope he is receiving excellent care as he sounds like a good soul. Try and fight that cold off. There are so many people getting sick lately.

  8. I resonate with so many of your beliefs, and am intrigued with this share. I will be coming back to it for it is rich.

    Thank you, Syd!

  9. it is easy for those unexpecting things to knock us hard, but i am glad you are surrounded by those that can walk it with you...HP included...gaimen is awesome...

  10. I believe life happens while you are alive, too. Sorry for your friend's diagnosis. Such a tough one. Stay well, Syd. Hey, my boss tells his story of pulling Ted Koppel out of the St. Mary's River and, no, his hat didn't fall off, so I can't tell you anything about the hair. :)

  11. Darlin', I am right on board with the sex and universe beliefs. Lol.

  12. Oh,Syd - - - This is such a poignant and deep sharing, including the "I believe" essay you posted afterwards.

    As for your friend, I was reminded of something my hubby requested of me when he was in the final throes of asbestosis-lung cancer: "Honey, please, let anyone visit me at any time they wish; we had many many friends, neighbors, and fellowship family who have asked to come by. Let them in; I want to tell them goodbye." These words are not exactly what he said, but the intent was accurate, and I let all who wanted to visit into our home. It was a wonderful experience - - - like having an open house. And, there were many tears, but also much laughter at sharing past experiences and memories.

    I do not think I could have gone through this without the support of both fellowships.

    Love and Hugs,
    Anonymous #1

  13. Sorry to hear about your friend. Spending some time with him is probably the best gift. Take that puppy that I hope you are going to get, along with you to make the visit happier for both of you.

    Please let your friends online know if you are going to be on TV again so we can watch you.

  14. Sounds like Mr Gaiman likes to cover all the bases..LOL

    I don't watch TV, but I would tune in to see you!

  15. Love Neil Gaiman. And I'd also be fascinated by critters in salt marshes -- in fact I might even find them more interesting than you, Syd, but that is my closet biologist emerging!

  16. So sorry to hear about your friend, as long as there is life there is hope.

  17. I believe...everything works out the way it's suppose to, whether we fight it or not.

  18. Hi Syd....I hope you get to feeling better soon. I'm sorry to hear about your friend's diagnosis.

  19. I'm intrigued about the critters in the salt marsh & their behaviors...

    Your friend sounds like a wonderful friend. Will keep you both in my prayers.

    The Neil Gaiman quote was great! Very well rounded for sure.


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