Friday, August 16, 2019

Clean windshield and a full tank of gas...

Many years ago a young friend of mine - whom in retrospect I now adjudge to have been uncommonly prescient - said "All you need in life is a clean windshield and a full tank of gas!" He clearly derived a measure of poetic inspiration from the retail motor vehicle dealership where he worked. His foresight not only captured his boyish vigour but was on balance insightful - especially since he tragically died in a car accident one winter's eve on the edge of town at 19 years of age.  He further qualified the narrowness of his foreknowing by also having said, "The first thing you do with a new car is beat it with a baseball bat then drive it through a barbed wire fence!"  Today as I drove along the ribbon of highway through the countryside in my recently cleaned and fully-maintained automobile I awoke to the genius of what my late friend had said.  The combination of hopeful prospective (a clean windshield),  the energy to go forward (a full tank of gas) and a battered carcass (the damaged automobile) said it all, not only as a digestible reality but also as a reminder that the status of the present has little truck with the dynamic of the future.  If one were so inclined the paradigm also urges the insignificance of materialism (a theoretical manifestation to which I confess I have yet fully to ascend).

As appears to be increasingly prevalent an unexpected though highly relevant comment subsequently arose following our late-morning breakfast at the golf club. It was a sentiment which strangely echoed what I had earlier cultivated about the here and now.  Specifically the woman to whom we were speaking quipped, "There's a reason you don't see a hearse pulling a safe!"  She was of course alluding to the wisdom of spending your money before it's too late.  While the direct subject of our confab had nothing whatever to do with either automobiles or money, the theme of getting on with living while there is yet time persisted.

If all this were not enough - the free spirit, the absorption of the capital - I then sealed the combined fortuity by ambling to the Auld Kirk Cemetery to see whether the monument we had ordered had yet arrived. It had. I motored along the channeled pathway from the main road into the cemetery and searched with squinted eye over the dashboard of the car for the burial site. I imagined there was nothing to be seen.  But as I sought to recover the exact location of the prospective internment  I suddenly caught site of what was obviously a new addition to the neighbourhood.  The shiny granite face shone in the afternoon sunshine. Its critical visage did not perturb me. Rather it excited my earthly vanity! We had deliberately chosen to forgo the surplusage of dates of birth or death, details which we reasoned were quite without moment. No beginning. No end.


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