Tuesday, May 7, 2024


If you've ever viewed an embalmed body at a wake you've undoubtedly noticed how life-like a cadaver can be. It's almost as if you were turning back the hands of time to converse with the dead--and have the last word so to speak. Which brings up the question of seances and ghosts (isn't it ironic that "ghosting" means cutting off communication when the very word exists to invoke a specter like the ghost of Hamlet's father). These supernatural devices which have little scientific credibility express hope in the face of impossibility. An apparition may be unreal but a pill which is even harder to swallow is the idea that you cannot somehow get through, that you cannot renegotiate  your contract or relationship. Most people feel sadness when a parent dies, but for some it's a time of rebirth. Through no fault of their own, the parent may have held back the child. Subliminal signals by their very nature are hard to fathom. Wouldn't it be fun to be able to tell mom and dad that you finally made it. Making It was the title of Norman Podhiretz's autobiography. Who knows if it was a letter to the immortals--just one final message or addenda to uncloud those muddy waters and finally say, as The Impressions crooned, "It's all right, have a good time."

listen to Joan Baum's NPR review of The Kafka Studies Department

and listen to "It's All Right" by The Impressions

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