Today is the 74th day in the Roman calendar, notable as the Roman deadline for settling debts and the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar. The Ides, in the Roman calendar, was one of three fixed points (the other two being the Nones and the Kalends) of a month, from which the days of the month were counted backwards. I do not quite understand the scheme; but I have no reason to believe the internet would lie to me about something so obviously momentous. If William Shakespeare found the Ides of March an important date, who am I to dismiss the gravity of the moment? And, falling one day after what we have come to call Pi Day of late, there must be some depth to the meaning associated with the 15th day of the month of March. Superstitions arise from some truly odd ideas. Come to think of it, superstitions, themselves, are manifestations of truly odd ideas. Yet we continue to put stock in some of them, in spite of our protestations that “it’s all in fun…we don’t really believe in that superstitious mumbo-jumbo.” Right. Just don’t do laundry on New Year’s Day…because if you do, you’ll be washing for a corpse. And don’t forget to eat your black-eyed peas before that day disappears into the second day of the year…or suffer the potentially impoverished consequences.
I make light of the silliness surrounding me, but silliness is insufficient to conceal the tragedies of living and dying. Life and its antithesis are brutal experiences, punctuated by fantasy. Only by permitting fantasies to interrupt reality are we able to get through the painful struggles of experience. Reflecting on and anticipating actual experiences are harsh reminders that we humans are programmed for pain and regret. Fantasies, if allowed to take hold deeply enough, can temporarily extinguish the flames of anguish. But the embers remain. And they will ignite again whenever the slightest breeze fans them. We can fool ourselves into believing “everything will be all right,” but we know the reprieves will only last a short while before being inundated by another excruciating acid bath.
Be of better cheer. Ignore reality. Swallow happy pills. Do whatever is necessary to overcome the drabness that accompanies the recognition that hope, on the road far ahead, is faster than one’s pursuit of it. Sing. Pay no heed to the screeches pouring forth from the lips; assume the noise is just a brief interruption of that usually beautiful voice.
Time is passing by; the clock claims it is after 7. I believe it. The sea can be beautiful, but it can twist itself into inescapable currents. Do not drown. Take only a brief dip.