Friday, November 26, 2021

It Is What It Is

This looks like a job for Grandfather Man!

Image by Nina Garman from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.   

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional meltdown. 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"Always remember the last words of my grandfather who said: 'A truck!'"
                                                                                   -Emo Philips

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

A given it is what it is, is as obvious as, the fact that life is one thing after another...

{And you sir, have a keen eye for the obvious. Wouldn't this be a good place to insert that Edna St. Vincent Millay quote? "It's not true that life is one damn thing after another — it's one damn thing over and over — there's the rub — first you get sick — then you get sicker...}

No, too depressing.

Anyways, what I find interesting is that although both phrases are literally true  for example, life is one thing after another for creatures that experience life linearly — both can simultaneously be literally and poetically true.   

For example, according to (and The New York Times) the phrase it is what it is can be traced back to an article by J.E. Lawrence published in the Nebraska State Journal in 1949, and was deployed thusly. 

“New land is harsh, and vigorous, and sturdy. It scorns evidence of weakness. There is nothing of sham or hypocrisy in it. It is what it is, without apology.”

{Huh. Fascinating stuff there Cranky.}

A sturdy column, not unlike a sturdy house, must be "founded upon a rock" and not "upon the sand" lest the rains descend, the floods come, and the winds blow.

{Or somebody huffs, and puffs, and blows your column down?}

Begone, infidel, I'm teaching life lessons here!

Recently, one of the Stickies witnessed someone nearly dying from an opioid overdose as he/she/they (far be it from me to assign a pronoun) was about to tuck into a stack of pancakes at a Denny's restaurant. 

Short story short, his head suddenly slumped forward, 911 was dialed, NARCAN® was administered, our protagonist was carted out. 

{When his head slumped forward did it land...}

No, Dana, it didn't land in his/her/their pancakes... stop laughing! 

Now, one of my bright, comely, and empathetic young grandpersons was the Sticky that witnessed this drama and she (her pronoun choice) was understandably horrified/mildly traumatized. 

When she recounted this misadventure to me, unable to help myself, I dashed into the nearest phone booth and emerged — hands-on-hips, a large G on my chest, my cape gently swaying in the non-existent breeze  as Grandfather Man!

[Insert brief, heroic fanfare]

"Did he/she/they survive as far as you know?" I asked. 
"Yes," she replied. 

Seeking to comfort her, I immediately invoked three of my superpowers. 

My Mr. Spock-like tendency to revert to logic/reason (or at least try to) in the face of crisis. My Groucho Marx-like tendency (or at least try to) to look for the smile in the face of same. And, of course, my keen eye for the obvious.

I pointed out that while the situation certainly sucked sweaty socks, at least he/she/they left the restaurant alive. 

I pointed out that it's not what happens to you in life, it's how you react to it (once you catch your breath), what you do about it, and deciding if there is anything you can do about it. 

(I refrained from pointing out this is Stoicism 101, hoping she'd think I'm smarter than I look.) 

I pointed out that if he/she/they had died the last thought thought/emotion experienced would have been something like, "Ooooh, pancakes!" 

{Thought thought?}

Thought thunk?    

I pointed out that the obvious lesson to be learned was that although I was worldly-wise enough to understand that she might consider experimenting with alcohol and weed when she reached her mid-twenties (although 30 would be better), that all other recreational pharmaceuticals should always and forever be avoided. 

{Well, at least you have a realistic perspective.}   

She then threw her arms around me, kissed me gently on the cheek, and said, "I love you, Poppa, I hope that I can be there for you when you're in your dotage so that I can care for you and repay you for all that you have done for me!"

{Not even close, Sparky, I think you're already sliding into dotafication.}

Well, I'm certain that she thought about it. But being a gentle, shy, naturally modest and reserved gentleperson by nature, she successfully resisted her immediate impulse.

{I'm impressed. How ever did you manage to deduce that from the dubious expression on her face?}  

It was obvious.   

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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