Live? Just Live for Today? Really? Shut the Fuck Up!

Sometimes it takes me a while to wake up. There’s just no way around it. Nobody else can wake up for me. It’s something I have to do for myself.

Living in the material world can be a chore.

There’s a wonderful play by a Spanish playwright and poet, Alejandro Casona, a contemporary of Federico Garcia Lorca. The play, Suicide Prohibited in Springtime (Prohibido suicidarse en primavera) written in 1937, is about a sanatorium, the House of Suicides. The object, of course, is to use reverse psychology to get candidates to want to live. One patient, the still young Unhappy Woman, says that her body has only given her pain, and that she wants to get rid of it. “My flesh does not exist,” she asserts. “Only my soul has lived.” She recites what she’s done in her sweet, short life thus far. In what she probably thinks of as a conversational pivot, she’s asked what she usually eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“It comes out that in order to take three short tips to Florence, Paris, London,” she’s told, “learn to play the piano, read the complete works of Victor Hugo and kiss a Navy lieutenant (and fall in love)…you’ve had to consume eighteen hundred gallons of milk, three carloads of fruit, two and a half acres of peas, and seventeen calves. The body, madam, is an incontrovertible reality.”

“How embarrassing!” she says.

Somebody’s got to do the work, and even the body is not exempt. Who’s going to cook the meals and sweeten the coffee, wash and fold the clothes, do the grocery shopping, pick up things from the dry cleaners, buy replacement batteries, make that appointment with Super Cuts, do the necessary banking (even if it’s online), get the grungy dirt-laden trash-inside-it car to the car wash, wipe my ass and change my underwear?

You know, even if you have money, it will most often be you. And me.

In early adolescence, I fell in love with a Jack Jones song, Live for Life, written by Norman Gimbel & Francis Lai

Come with me my love and seize the day and live it

Live it fully live it fast

Never thinking once about tomorrow

Til Tomorrow’s been and gone and past

We’ll pour the wine and fill the cup of joy and drink it

Drink as if it were the last

Live, just live for life

Nice work, if you can get it.

And yes, there are such idyllic days that can be had. And even when you have it pretty good — during the first 13 years of government-required schooling, goof-balling at university — you still gotta do homework. And sooner rather than later, you’re just gonna have to get around to wiping that ass.

I have dreams of being single again — I think all married people do, especially if they have children. Fantasies of winning the lottery or making a bundle at something I’m not really good at in real life. I want to be Henry Miller being a bohemian in France. I want to write the Dune series of novels. I want to wander the world, be kept by rich patrons and have wild experiences like Truman Capote in Answered Prayers.

Yeah. I want to live. Live for life.

If you let me I will lead you

Through the mystery and wonder

Of a world you’ve never known before

Share the splendors to be shared

Life is all of this and more

This and more

Yesterday’s a mem’ry (gone for good, forever)

And tomorrow is a guess

What is real is what is here

And now, the “here and now” is all that we possess

So take my hand and we will take the moment

If for just the moment’s happiness

Live, just live for life

Yeah. “If for just the moment’s happiness,” sounds about right.

I don’t want to seem dark and a candidate for Casona’s House of Suicides. But I do get tired of hearing about this paradise that I can’t quite enter, be a part of. I feel like Moses, the land of Canaan in view but still too far away. A three-million-dollar discount on a trip to the moon, but which I still can’t afford.

Henry Miller abandoned a wife and child in New York to “live for life” in Paris.  Frank Herbert had to marry and have a wife to take care of all the things he had no time to do, since he was busy living for life, writing the most popular science fiction series of all time. And Truman Capote? I suppose his bargain with the Devil to “live for life” exacted a steep toll. Even so, I imagine the road to Hell must have been quite a bit of fun.

They say that behind every successful man there is a good woman. A good woman to pick up the clothes from the floor, to scramble those eggs and crisp that bacon, to pick up the living room for visitors, to scour those Gourmet magazines for recipes when the critics come over to throw a feed. And there’s that 9 to 5 job to pay the bills until Papi Chulo (or Mami Chula) hits it big, at which time you can just drop dead while famous significant other can get re-signified.

I understand why and how Gen Z and Gen Alpha pine to be Influencers working the margins of the hard realities of quotidian life and avoid the 9 to 5.

Nice work, if you can get it.

I suppose that creatives and intellectuals, bohemians and n’er-do-wells and libertines, do require the time and space to do the Macarena and the Twist and the Jitterbug and to “live for life.” It requires lots o’ time and plenty o’ space to intellectualate. (Yes, homey, not the best neologism, but it’s mine, inspired by the bodacious word conversate, for, yeah, converse) and oscillate (for…well, you know).

Come with me to where the hills are green

And still and filled with flowers to adore

Come with me to where the laughter rings

And drowns the pounding sounds of guns of war

Yes, come with me my love and live for life

And life will live for you forevermore

Live, just live for life

There’s more I want to say, but I just heard the alarm on the dryer. Gotta go and fold some clothes, then make a stew for dinner and make sure the cornbread don’t burn.

Gotta go and live, just live for life.

In Paree today, in Amsterdam tomorrow

Sixty minutes through the skies

Fly with me to see the setting summer sun

And stay with me to see it rise

And say to those who say to live this way is mad

That mad we’d rather be, than wise

Live, just live for life

Comments are Disabled