CHICAGONOW has this wonderfully popular blog site called ‘Baby Sideburns’ about the life and times of a baby and its mother. Of course, both baby and mother will in time grow older. As they do, this graying octogenarian has a few thoughts to share with them….
Little one — right now the biggest triumvirate in your life is Mommy, Daddy and Pediatrician. When you eventually stagger into your 80s, you too will find many different sets of heroes. For instance, my current triumvirate is Anton Chekhov, Cher, and George Carlin. I’m not at all sure these three will be big when you hit YOUR 80’s, but let me tell you why they are in MINE:
* Chekhov, the heralded Russian playwright, once said something I have come to stoutly but sadly believe: “Life is a tragedy, filled with many joys.” OK, at first it sounds like just another gloomy Russian artist, but think of it again. You and I are born against all kinds of medical odds… into a world where our little beings are assaulted by all kinds of dangers from weather disasters to human disasters…doomed to love and lose many times….then at the end to ourselves face a possible infinity of diseaseS and deaths. Seen this way it’s a pretty tragic tale with only one tragic ending. Chekhov delirously delights in the many intoxicating joys along the way, but just can’t help reminding his fellow travelers that the road we’re all on leads only and permanently to the grave
* Cher, on the other hand, personifies what she preached: “Life is a cabaret.” Loud, glitzy, crowded with family and foes alike, but always more to dance to than to ponder over. Cabarets make you giddy promises that rarely remain after the lights come up and the party is over. But while it’s still a party, why not go with the flow and damn the sunrise
* Carlin’s humor saw life as a joke in which we each tend to make fools of ourselves time and time again. Making us either lovable losers or maybe just plain losers. One of his favorite jokes was how we tend to accumulate stuff in our lives. Cloths, cars, jewelry, men, women, fame, and all the closets, display cases and safety deposit boxes we hope to hold our stuff forever. But as Carlin’s stand-up routines would remind us, we are more than our stuff. The real joke is it takes dying to finally figure that out.
So, sweet Baby Sideburns, enjoy your baby time with Mommy, Daddy and Pediatrician. It could be the safest time you’ll ever know. Anyway, that’s how some of us remember it….
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