Well here I am, writing another column on 11-28-21—the first night of Hanukkah—while contemplating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Or something like that. Not that Hanukkah is …
Well here I am, writing another column on 11-28-21—the first night of Hanukkah—while contemplating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Or something like that. Not that Hanukkah is a particularly contemplative Jewish holiday. Quite the opposite in fact; it’s practically insignificant.
If you don’t believe me, use the Google. Or better yet, you can read one of the dozens of much-ballyhooed Hanukkah articles I’ve written over the years. At this point, I’ve run out of ways to describe what’s often referred to as the Festival of Lights, and frankly my dear… let’s just say that I’m in no mood.
Suffice it to say that a bunch of bad guys attempted to storm a temple a really long time ago and a bunch of good guys held them at bay for eight long possibly magical nights by the light of a single flame. Fill in the blanks with blah, blah, blah oil and blah, blah, blah miracle and blah blah blah menorah. The end.
What I am doing on this first night is thinking about the ghost of Hanukkah past and what he would have to say, if he (she?) showed up with a new pencil case, or maybe a pair of socks, to commemorate the occasion. That’s right: It’s traditional to give underwear for Hanukkah. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, in my humble opinion.
Honestly, I’m not one to dwell on the past, nor obsess on an unknown future, but at present I’m experiencing a bit of both because I’m not entirely one hundred percent well. In fact, I’m kinda sick, but I have been before and somehow survived catastrophic illness, so in a sense it’s “déjà vu all over again” as Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra once famously said.
I have been seeing doctors and specialists for a few years now, and heeded the advice of some, while eschewing that of others, making choices that felt right at the time. That said, I have an appointment with yet another physician tomorrow and based on the way that I feel, I’m a little nervous.
There’s no need to go into great detail here and I’m not trying to be coy or cagey, but suffice it to say that there’s something wrong with Johnny. Wrong enough for me to be looking at life through the rearview mirror and taking stock of what has been, just in case, well—you know. Not that anyone has looked me in the eye and suggested that I “make arrangements,” but I can imagine it happening, even if that’s just the drama queen in me dying to come out.
Moments like this make one wonder, and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. If I had to bow out now, would that be so terrible? Yes, when it comes to all things Dharma the Wonder Dog, but as for the rest of it? Not so much. I’ve had a quasi-rich life, full of adventure, full of friendship, and (at the risk of sounding downright sappy) full of love. No, it hasn’t been one long bed of roses, and I’m no “Little Mary Sunshine” (look it up), but still… a life (somewhat) well-led.
If I chose tonight to “shuffle off this mortal coil” as William Shakespeare’s Hamlet once famously said, would I have left too much undone? Probably, but not for lack of trying. Maybe it’s healthy to get the stuffing knocked out of us once in a while, causing us to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask the tough questions. “Regrets? I’ve had a few” as Frank Sinatra once famously sang, “but then again, too few to mention.”
“That sounds about right,” I rasped in the general direction of the dog. Still, it would be (mostly) OK if this wasn’t the end of the road. I’m pretty sure that I still have something to write about. Tune in next week to find out if Johnny gets to come marching home. The end.
Fun Fact: According to Wikipedia, “Houston, we have a problem,” is a popular but erroneous quotation from the radio communications between Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert and NASA Mission Control Center in 1970. The words actually spoken were “OK, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Since then, the phrase has become popular to account for an unforeseen problem, often with a sense of ironic understatement.
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