Unsolicited Advice for Living in the End Times, Vol. 21

It doesn’t always help to be intelligible

I have a dream of all people living out the end times squeezing every little bit of joy out of every last moment. But I may not get there with you. I worry sometimes as I give this advice that it won’t be used as I intended—that rather than being helpful it might wind up being hurtful.

This worries me, not my own impending doom. Someone has to go first, and if there is a heaven (which I doubt), the first responders will get a good seat. No, it’s for all of you that I fear. What if I haven’t been clear enough in my counseling? All my pointers could turn out to be pointless, my directions a distraction.

I’m starting to think I might have made my suggestions too understandable. It doesn’t always help to be intelligible. Sometimes a healthy lack of lucidity, with just a soupçon of incoherence, can help one achieve the proper mindset to get where we want to be.

I might explicitly tell you how important it is to respect the past if you want the most out of your limited future, but I wouldn’t want you to end up like the Lunardelli clan in Italy. They are winemakers, and to show their respect for those that have come before them, they have released a series of Nazi-related wines for the past 20 years. They say they are not anti-Semitic, explaining that it’s all about history. They believe their sense of history is broad, as they have also produced some tasty Stalin and MussolinI vintages, and of course for the ladies, a spunky Eva Braun zinfandel.

I say too much history. No offense, Clio, but history is history. We have been tethered to the truth for far too long. We ache to get back and we need to get back to that gray area, that womb for wayfarers of peace and peace of mind.

I suggest now that we have to abandon history for it’s more user-friendly neighbor, ­gistory. In point of fact, we need to stop paying such fealty to factuality: There is no one truth, and memory is a sieve. We need the truth that soothes and the remembrances that move us along. Often right beside the reality we have come to accept lives a slightly altered version that wants you to be happy. You just have to trust it. Gistory is and always will be there for you; it has your back. It’s your wingman and your fair witness. It can turn madness into genius and sadness into glee.

Think of it like the history of art: Art begins literal but then when it needs to, it advances into more creative ways of approaching life. I’m not asking you to go all abstract expressionist in your rearranging of reality, but certainly a little impressionism can go a long way. Any idiot can see what’s going on right in front of their eyes, but it takes a visionary with that necessary sense of ambiguity to distinguish what they see from what they think they’ve seen. You get the gist … well I hope you do.

If you’ve been reading this column for a while, I have hopefully rope-a-doped you into the proper state of muddled thinking you’re going to need to come along with me and to continue on after I’m gone. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that no matter how much you learn about life or how great an attitude you have, you might still be eating your breakfast in a sinkhole.