Some — OK, many — of my friends describe me as something of a curmudgeon. I don’t think I am — quite. What I am is someone with a tragic view of humanity and a certainty that we live in a postlapsarian world. I am further convinced that given those circumstances, we can’t get to the Big Rock Candy Mountain absent Divine Intervention, no matter how good our intentions or who is in charge. (Now, as a religious person, I know that intervention will happen at some point, but that’s a gift of faith I’ve received, not something I’ve developed or earned.)
But given all that, I try to approach life with a certain degree of pleasure. Food tastes good. There’s music I love. There are good books out there that I will discover and read. Most importantly, there are Mrs. M and the Spawn, who joy my days, even when (as now) I am separated from them by duties I must endure.
There’s a Harlan Ellison story — I forget the title — about a man who suffers on a level that would elicit pity from Job. Finally, he is driven to suicide, only to discover upon “awaking” that what he perceived as a life of torment was in fact a vacation from his “real, ordinary” life in a different form, on a different planet — a life worse still, and one that is only barely made tolerable by memories of the garden spot of the Universe: life on Earth.
I’m thinking of all this because of an article at (of all places) Cracked.com, where novelist David Wong writes about the blessings too many of us fail to recognize. Go read it.