First I need to say this is not about Peggy.
(Secondly I’m remembering something I heard during a poetry seminar in 1979 from the mouth of Stanley Kunitz, who twice served as Poet Laureate and is also a most eloquent literary writer. It has to do with moving from the general to the personal…or was it expanding from the personal to the general. I forgot which.)
In the summer of 2016 all of us (the enlightened) were rooting avidly for Donald Trump to trounce his rivals for the Republican nomination. Like most Liberals I feared Jeb Bush or John Kasich. After all, only a congenital moron or a member of the Koch Bros. / Ebenezer Scrooge fraternity of the privileged would vote for the fraud. Trump was so beatable, so inept (why would anyone vote for a guy with no ept?), such an abomination his candidacy was the ultimate Good news that has turned into the Baddest news in my lifetime. There are still those misguided fools among us who regard him as the Louis XVI who will trigger the revolution. I think not. Civilization will be guillotined first. The lesson to be learned is never to underestimate the stupidity of the American voter.
When I was in high school I had high grades in science and math. It was probably those good marks which led me into Brooklyn College of Pharmacy. Bad career move … which sentenced me to fifty-three years of penal servitude confined behind the counter. And to think, my hand-writing was so illegible I could have become a doctor. In fact I had peaked by age seventeen and have been in steep decline ever since. Now I am much happier filling a page like this than I ever was filling a prescription.
Josh Rosen was the UCLA quarterback who will be drafted today by some professional football team. I read in the newspaper that he is regarded as too intelligent to be a top pick. He is cursed for thinking too much, for having good DNA above the neck. It could cost him many millions. Football is actually a game of strategy, deception and out-thinking one’s opponent yet it is also instinctual and they don’t like guys who are too intellectual. Go figure. If he were really that smart he would have chosen chess anyway.
I lied. This could be about Peggy….and all of us. Way back when I was eighty years old my doctor said he had good news for me………..no more colonoscopies. The hidden message in his announcement was: colon cancers are usually slow-growing and you’re going to die anyway. Maybe he was looking at my life expectancy for the year I was born. In 1933 I was expected to live for sixty-one years. In other words I was already nineteen years ahead of the game at age eighty. Even today the male allotment is just under seventy-nine. Who knows what nefarious plots are being hatched in our octogenarian entrails? Peggy’s cancer may have been growing over the past dozen years or more. Tell your gastroenterologist to take a peek. Early detection is the good news that comes after the bad news of the cleaning out.