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  • robertfarago1

When Your Number's Up...

It's up. As my mother used to say.

No doubt Daphne Farago's fatalism reflected her childhood. Her mother committed suicide when she was a teen. Her father shuffled off this mortal coil soon thereafter, from what [she claimed] were natural causes.

Despite or because of childhood trauma, Mother never entertained the idea of a deterministic deity – no doubt informing her decision to become a member of the Communist Party (on the DL). Nor did she provide religious instruction to her children.

But don't mistake Daphne Farago's better-red-than-dead atheism for a simple Jewish shrug. Her casual dismissal of death contained an implied admonition: Stop standing around! Do something important before you die!

Her philosophy – for lack of a better word – came to mind when I read about the tornados that devastated communities in Texas and Arkansas.

Twister? I Just Met Her!

Too soon? Obviously, considering reports of obliterated homes, twenty fatalities and hundreds injured.

In my defense, Daphne Farago taught me not to flinch from the fact that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are out there, somewhere, flying around. My father taught me it's better to laugh at the possibility of getting hit than cower in terror.

Still, it's scary shit. If those motorists hadn't taken shelter at that truck stop... If that child had stayed at school... Small unrelated decisions put some people in harm's way and saved others. As Demi Lovato's alter ego would say, that's so random.

Dark Humor

The tragedy up north is only random if you don't believe in an interventionist God. A God who'd direct tornados and humans on the ground this way or that as part of His/Her/Their plan.

If you’re an atheist, death is often, well, ridiculous. Funny. Funny peculiar, leading to funny ha-ha.

An important point. I'm not laughing at the victims of random indeed any fatality, or the pain suffered by their loved ones and community. I'm laughing at life's bizarre and unpredictable vicissitudes.

I'm the guy who uses the tagline for Jaws 2 – "just when you thought it was safe to go in the water" – to comment on accidental death from seemingly safe activities. Or, ironically, from extreme ones.

It's not the same as the more common expression "shit happens." It's more of an acknowledgement that I too, could be struck down by the fickle finger of fate. I mean random chance.

A thought that's moved to the front of my mind as I embark on my Ridiculously Random Motorcycle Tour...

What's Mahatma With You?

Anyone who doesn't contemplate the risk of being KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) when riding a motorcycle is an idiot. To the point where many if not most people consider anyone riding a motorcycle an idiot.

Not without reason. In 2021, 6,084 motorcyclists died in crashes. Alcohol was a big factor, as was excessive speed and the lack of a full-face helmet. But some significant percentage of these riders were just unlucky.

I like to think of myself as a biker who doesn't take unnecessary risks. Make that a biker who only takes calculated risks. Like riding a motorcycle. Regardless, I'm well aware that wrong place, wrong time shit happens.

I'm signing my updated will tomorrow. And then I'm ready to put Mahatma Gandhi's sage advice into practice: live like there's no tomorrow.

Because there isn't. The past and the future don't exist. They're just ideas. Mental constructs.

We live our lives in the moment, flowing through time like a piece of flotsam on a river through what Psalm 23:4 calls "the valley of the shadow of death."

Too dark?

My mate Monica AI says yes.

Despite repeated instructions not to use an Oxford comma, she calls the phrase "a metaphorical expression often used to describe a situation or experience filled with darkness, danger, or uncertainty."

As my mother's child, as my Holocaust survivor father's son, I gotta say life is full of darkness, danger and uncertainty. Death, too.

To think otherwise is dangerously naive – especially if you're traveling solo on a motorcycle for months at a time to God knows where [sic].

Yin-Yang Thang

As Tower of Power proclaims, life's a yin-yang thang.

The shadow of death gives meaning to the warmth and clarity of light. Laughter, fun, excitement, camaraderie, adventure, growth and more. All the things that make life worth living.

I leave you with Jewish comedienne Gilda Radner's thoughts as she faced the final curtain, recorded in her book It's Always Something.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Watch this space.

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Chrisopher Bove
Chrisopher Bove
Jun 05

From a fellow "idiot", life is full of danger, choices, and Oxford commas. Live your life, enjoy what you can, and when Death comes to take you, fight like the third monkey getting on Noah's ark when it started to sprinkle.


May 29

When I feel I can no longer ride safely, I'm planning to give up motorcycling. But until that day, I want to get as much enjoyment out of it as I can. If I do perish on the road, it will be while doing something I love.

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