The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Survival

Hanging in there.

Someone sent me this image of downtown Amherst as it was in 1965.



Here is the exact same view as it was around noon today, forty-three years later.



Nearby, some peacers were venting against the president.



A little late in his term to be talking impeachment, don't ya think?

I saw this line of poetry from T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland on the chalkboard in the Amherst Starbucks.



The full stanza goes like this:

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.


April was certainly a cruel month for UMass student Liam O'Donnelly.
Last week he committed suicide by hurling himself from this skyscraper dorm that is named in honor of President John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts.



Where his body landed is this makeshift shrine his friends erected in his honor.



It's not clear why O'Donnelly killed himself, but it is not unheard of as the academic year nears the end for someone on campus to turn up dead by their own hand. I remember when I was at UMass that in McNamara, the dorm next door to mine, a girl committed suicide. She liked to party too much and was flunking all her courses and was afraid to tell her parents that she had wasted all their tuition money so she killed herself in her room. It really freaked everybody out.

It is wrong to judge people who commit suicide. You can't know enough about what their lives are really like to do that. But I think, in hard times, it is useful to remember that we are dead a long time, so why rush to the end? Plus as someone who has seen a lot of bad shit go down over the years, let me say it is my experience that it is surprising how often good things lie just around the corner. As they say in Narcotics Anonymous:

Don't quit five minutes before the miracle happens!

Wish ya coulda thought of that, Liam.

The weather is so nice that a few of the Northampton restaurants are serving food with their windows open, such as The Teapot.



Also offering semi-outdoor dining is the restaurant called simply Zen.



Here I am sitting at a table on the sidewalk yesterday enjoying a lazy cafe lifestyle.



My pal Zak got himself a new tatoo yesterday. It took three hours to embed it in his skin.



Years ago I considered getting a tattoo. I probably would have gotten something Grateful Dead themed, such as the contemplative jester icon.



I once had a boyfriend who tried to get me to have his name tattooed on my ass. Blinded by love I almost agreed but fortunately ultimately refused, as our relationship ended up lasting less than a year. Now I don't think I would get a tattoo under any circumstances, because it has become too trendy. Years ago a tattoo had a stigma attached to it, only people who genuinely lived on the edge of society had them. Now that it's become some kind of mainstream fashion statement, I'm not interested anymore.

Dig this hot car in Hamp.



Another tasteless local joke:

Question: Why did so many Polish end up in Chicopee?

Answer: They thought the sign said Chicago.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom, that last Polish "joke" really isn't a joke.

It's actually true. The story was published a few years ago in the Union News.

VanDog said...

Heavily modified Porsche 914 or 914-6 depending on what's under the hood.

teller said...

Tommy, I have heard a similar tasteless joke... " Why did so many Black people end up in
Newark (NJ)? When the conductor announced "Newaaarrk" in his northern accent, they thought he said New York." I used to hear this joke as a child to show you how old some of these
jokes are. Now they are being resurrected over the internet.