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Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back: 2012

Sometimes, in that gray twilight between sleeping and waking, you think of the bad things that happen in the world, and have gone on happening since the first recorded history, and will keep on happening no matter what anybody says or does: the madhouse of human existence.

And you think of all the grief and sorrow that people have had to bear, and the anguish and the unanswered prayers, and the pain and the hurt and the injustice that haunts mankind's existence everywhere, and always has.

And then you think of those who seem to live a charmed life, with all they need and want, and every wish fulfilled. It's not the fat cats and the millionaires you think of, whom you never see except in reports from faraway places. It's the people you pass on the street, or down the block, or distant relations, not one whit smarter or prettier or wiser or more moral than you - in many cases, quite a bit less so - and yet, they ease through life as if they have a genie in their pocket to grant all their desires.

But your lips do not move to form a protest - no one would listen. Nor can you even ask why - because you know there is no answer. Not even prayer helps, because the last answer is that now we darkly know, but then we shall see clearly, in another life where all will be made right.  You hope so.

But it is cold comfort on this gray and drizzly morning, 36 degrees outside. And yet you do find some scant cheer in making yourself remember the happy moments interspersed with all that has gone wrong. You think of carnivals, and roller coasters, and catherine wheels, and understand that all is in perpetual flux, now happy, now sad, now merry, now pained. For no particular reason that you can ever fathom, nor anyone else. Life is what it is, a fun house, a madhouse, a charnel house, by turns. All you can do is enjoy the good times when they come, and not wish for more when they end.

Because the world is going to keep rolling on along in its usual helter-skelter way, no matter what you think about it. So there's no point complaining. It does no good, and nobody wants to hear it.

This past year has been one of good news for the gays, one might even say an annus mirabilis in some ways. It's good to look back now on how far we've come in the last twelve months - and in the forty years or so since I first put together the words "gay" and "me."

First, a review of progress on marriage equality in these United States:

The Washington Blade has compiled a collection of articles on the top national stories of 2012.

And from Towleroad, a list of the fifty most notable "coming-outs" of the year. Most of them, your Head Trucker doesn't recognize, but the more out, the better.

So that's the way it goes, up and down and round and round. And the clock keeps ticking all the time, with a fine indifference.  Hope all you guys have a good New Year. Enjoy what you have while you have it, and savor the sweetness while it lasts. What more can anyone do?

Pieter Claesz, Vanitas with Violin and Glass Ball, ca. 1628


Anonymous said...

Right on! As I have always said: "there is no such thing as happiness, only happy moments and if you are smart enough or rich enough, you can program them to happen more often.

Upton King said...

How funny. I had many of the same thoughts re: how fortunate others are just yesterday morning. I don't know if it's luck or having been born under a bad moon, or what... but I try to remain grateful for what has worked out in my life and for what little I do have. It keeps you humble and just a bit hopeful. Wishing you the best in the New Year - Uptonking from Wonderland Burlesque

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lovely post, Russ. Happy New Year!

Tim said...

Wishing you a healthly and peaceful New Year my friend, keep up the good work! ;)

Frank said...

Things are not always what they seem. Those we envy may envy us. I'm not sure anyone's life is charmed, although it may look so at first glance. I know when I am not feeling physically or emotionally well, all that usually gives me joy seems dull and joyless. When I feel well, I feel very blessed. I think everyone's rose has a few thorns. Be that as it may, I wish you peace and joy and contentment in the New Year. That 36 degrees will not last forever. Now, I've got to go google "St Catherine's Wheel" because the nun's never told us she had a wheel....

Frank said...

Just got back from Google...now I was thinking this wheel was some sort of amusement park ride in Texas, based on the picture at the top of the post..but I must have missed religion/history class when they talked about St Catherine...Russs, that's just gruesome...

Russ Manley said...

A very happy new year to all of y'all, and thanks for riding along in the Blue Truck with me.

Frank - In my mind, I conflated St. Catherine's wheel with Fortune's wheel, and I do think that some famous writer from way back, like Chaucer or Shakespeare, did the same thing - but the quote doesn't come to hand just now. So I've changed my reference to simply "catherine wheel," the fireworks, which in the context works just as well - a mad pinwheel of dizzying sparks.

BTW, If the good sisters never told you about St. Catherine's attribute, I'll bet they never mentioned the even more gruesome one of St. Agatha, either.

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