|Photograph: J.W. Taylor|
Expressions like “sounds like a plan,” “I can’t complain” and “being on the same page” are the stuff of which small talk conventions are made of. But the expression “it’s not a rehearsal,” it being life, though falling into the same category of taunting mediocrity seems, like cream, to rise to the top. We all have had our comeuppances with idiots who have used this against us, but it turns out to express a truth. One day you’ll come home, pay your bills and die. Now that’s the awareness that Heidegger was referring to when he talked about living an authentic existence. Even the most hopeless individual holds within him or her the faint dream of being discovered. Maybe he’ll become the subject of a reality TV series called “The Most Uninteresting Person Who Ever Lived.” Reality TV of course opens many possibilities to the extent that it functions like abstract painting does for people who say “my kid could do that" when they see a Pollock. At the very least he might make history by winning a big Powerball. Perhaps this is the Heart of Darkness Kurtz found--that there was no great come and get it day and that what you are is what you will be. If you’re disappointed then you might go against the advice of some recovery programs and give up before the miracle. Fitzgerald was being sociological in his over quoted “there are no second acts in American lives.” “One door closes and another opens,” is the popular homily that is used to console those who have been fired from a job or rejected by a lover. But to quote the artist Hallie Cohen, isn’t it more accurate to say, “one door closes and another closes”?