Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'd Have Taken a Lot Better Care of Myself

I've long been a fan of Ernest Hemingway. I like a lot of his work, the terse prose, the tense emotions, the depth of characters sketched concisely in precise words some of which are nicely left unsaid. That's what made him a great writer.

But what I really embrace was a discovery in his work about a perspective on life. Maybe it was a rereading of "Death in the Afternoon"--a non-fiction work that explains to the world what the bullfight is really all about. Those were the days when the picadors rode horses without protective padding and routinely while six bulls died in a corrida, ten or more horses dropped as well from gorings. Yet, there was something going on there which Hemingway explains clearly.

How could a fighter pilot not indentify with a chapter about "The Art of Killing Well"?

The essence of Hemingway is that a man cannot experience life to the fullest without coming face to face with his own mortality. If you don't risk your very existance your life is a mere time filler without true joy. Papa writes of wars and rebels, of bull-fighters and boxers, of hunters and lone fisherman far out at sea. These are men who challenge life. They take risks and revel in the process.

So, what do we make of the emerging nanny-state?

Fish, Feet and Female Anatomy

I really don't want government dealing with outlawing pubic hair removal. Ditto for toenail maintenance. There has to be a limit and I think those are places clearly beyond any rational limit.

I know that a ladder needs to be leaned against something and that shouldn't be an electrical wire. I know that coffee should be hot when it is served. I know that I should look over my shoulder before backing up and that "objects in mirror are closer than they appear." I instinctively know all of the things that federal warning labels remind me of...and if I don't know, I will soon learn for myself. I don't need to be told. I want some risk.

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