On the Cutting Room Floor
“Will you still need me; will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”
When “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” hit the record stands on June 1st of 1967, I was fourteen years old and just finishing up my freshman year in high school. I was three months away from beginning my illustrious career at Sunrize (sic) Market, and working as a bottle-boy for Handy Liquors, a job which paid one dollar an hour.
|"Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? "|
I was enchanted by Sgt. Pepper’s, particularly by the mellow “When I’m 64” ditty, which always seemed so uncomplicated. To begin 64 always seemed so ancient, so distant and far away, it could never have anything to do with me. I would never make it to 64-that was a given.
In my thought process, I am never clear as to specifically why I never thought I would be around that long. I forget. Is that a good thing? Life was so miserable that I checked out early?
Or is it bad? As in, Oh dang, wrong place-wrong time? Didn’t even see that bus.
As I approach my 64th, I look back on this song and reflect on the inexorable march of time. That’s the one parade that never varies from the established route. There are no blisters on the march of time, nor are there any pit stops, at either Bob’s Big Boy or In N Out.
Time does not tarry, nor does it trip. A manmade concept, it defies death and keeps on ticking, long after the Energizer Bunny has come to a screeching halt. Time serves no master and yields nothing, and will still be here long after the last Swiss watch has ticked its last tock.
I won’t make it quite that long, and that’s OK with me.
Life is one ride that can’t be repeated; that’s what makes it so precious. No matter who you are or how much wealth you accumulate, eventually you are going to end up on the cutting room floor, edited out by the process of natural selection.
That’s one reason why the Giants only win the world series every other year: They know that if they won the whole enchilada every season, it would get boring. I mean, wouldn’t it?
No, I am not having a party to celebrate my 64 years; I have never had a party for my birthday that was planned any earlier than the day of. Actually, I may have while overseas but fortunately, can’t remember. I’m just not a person who likes to be the center of attention.
I prefer left field to catcher; I would rather be the linebacker than the quarterback. I would opt for bass guitar over lead; others can head the parade while I follow. I like attending Sunday Services under the oaks, while taking photos of wild mushrooms.
I am past caring what others think of me because I am OK with myself. Therefore, I do not worry about the contents of the bucket, as I kick it one final time.
I do not have a bucket list because I never set out to do anything other than fulfill my commitment to Annie, and raise three sons who are community contributors. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a return trip to Ireland but would settle for a three-day weekend in Eureka, where we would stay at the No-Tell Motel.
I do not adhere to any organized religion because I am not a religious person. I sprinted away from Catholicism at nineteen years of age, coincidentally the same time I got my first car, and have never had the urge to return.
|My "Bucket List"|
If I do something to help someone, it is not because I am trying to please a Supreme Being up above. I am simply trying to do my best to ensure that at the end of every day, I can look back on it and say I was part of the solution and not part of the problem.
I have great respect for others who do choose to acknowledge a power which exceeds our own.
To each his own, I have always said. Live and let live. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash. One woman’s floor is another woman’s ceiling. Pick your poison. Pay to play. Better safe than sorry. Better not hedge your bets. Cover all the bases.
Choose whichever cliche works for you-I’m good with it. Each of us has to decide how to view this fragile commodity called life. We’re all in it together-no one gets out alive. I happen to believe that just because we can conceive of the existence of a heaven and a hell, doesn’t mean they actually exist.
So when I have checked out, I will not have to worry about standing up in front of a higher power and being judged, and coming up short. If that sounds arrogant, it’s not my intention; I simply mean that were I to be evaluated, and found short, all I could ever say is that I did my best.
There is something to be said for going through life, not to please a higher power, so much, as holding yourself to high standards because it’s the right thing to do.
That way, if you can’t please everyone, you can at least please yourself.