“Death Walks Behind You” (well me anyway)

My title was an actual song by Atomic Rooster, a 1970’s British progressive rock group (whose drummer, Carl Palmer, helped form Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and who is still drumming up a storm). But it’s also a literal statement of my relationship with death. This is part two of my battles with Merkel Cell Carcinoma, which I wrote about a few days ago. I wrote at the time, that I would update once I knew more about my treatment options. At the time, I had prepared mentally for death, and you can read about why death holds no fear for me…..I have relegated the grim reaper to the rear.

Briefly, allow me to explain the previous sentence. I have gotten immense pleasure from the music of The Peterson family band in these days, yet the music in heaven will put even their music to shame. I see Instagram pictures of gorgeous places which I cannot any longer travel to, but the sights of heaven will render all those scenes as if they are barren wastes. I see videos of fantastic athletes performing feats that I can never aspire to, but heaven will clothe me in an immortal body that never tires or knows pain. Most of all, I will see my savior and the greatest object of my affection (even more than my three daughters) face to face.

Curmudgeons out in public.

Curmudgeon: a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man. Crusty: giving an effect of surly incivility in address or disposition. I call myself The Curmudgeon, like a title, and I often write like one, but in public, with other people, I am unusually tactful, affable and easygoing. That doesn’t mean that I enjoy crowds, parties, or groups. I don’t. “Small talk”, the glue of networking, is alien to me, usually banal, bland, boring and a waste of the kinetic energy of moving vocal cords.

Speaking of vocal cords, I am the polar opposite of President Trump in verbal pronouncements. I filter everything I say, weighing possible consequences with possible benefits, and often decide not to speak when I don’t like the equation. He seems not to filter anything. A big advantage of my habit is that I don’t have to pretend that I remember exactly what I said, or didn’t say, years ago. I was in love with a woman in 1973, but we were just friends because she was dating her future husband, but I don’t have to wonder if I was inappropriate with her. I wasn’t, and this isn’t bragging, it’s a decision I made a long time ago. There are simply some things that never pass from my mind through my mouth; mostly unsolicited advice and gratuitous criticism. Just because you think it, do you need to say it? Trump ain’t alone in saying yes, it’s a disease of post modern America.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my proverbial chest, I want to comment on the photo above. Is this a prejudice, or am I right? Someone who dresses and is “groomed” like that, even without the noodle crown, is probably a true curmudgeon. His expression and general presentation says to me, “keep away“. I imagine the crown is meant to illustrate social distancing in a metaphorical way, but it falls short, literally. Three feet isn’t six feet (the guideline). I would hope he’s trying, consciously, to provide comic relief, but the grooming and facial expression does not exactly project, “laugh at me”. Go ahead, try, it.