I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

July 08, 2017 - 2:39 p.m.

For Whom the Bell Tolled

Sorry I didn't write yesterday; I had to leave early for a funeral and then had mental health appointments. By the time I got home I decided to wait to write until tomorrow. It's now tomorrow.

My friend Larry died, he was young, not yet fifty. I've known him for a little more than half his life. His wife, Diana, called me Wednesday morning, she asked me if I wanted to say something at the funeral and I did. I love Larry and he's someone that is easy to talk about because I know why I love him, Larry loved life. He didn't merely exist, he lived. The remarkable thing is that most of the other speakers spoke of the same things that I did, the passions we shared. Like me, the starting place for others was bridge. I didn't write my eulogy, I just wrote bullet points.

  • Bridge Guru
  • Baseball
  • Season Tickets for the Mets
  • Hall of Fame
  • Basketball (Knicks)
  • Barbecue

  • Passions
  • Gaming
  • Happy in Pictures
  • Loved Life
  • Mensch
The first group is things we shared, the second is general points about Larry. If you know me you know that the greatest praise I can give someone is "mensch."

I wrote the eulogy the way I often write Wise Madness I spent the day thinking about it and making mental notes. As often happens in Wise Madness Some were forgotten before I wrote things down. The two bullet points I forgot were,

  • Trivia
  • Diana
Larry, Diana, and I competed in the Drunken Smart-Ass Olympics. We did not do that nearly as often as we should have. We won only once. We had fun every time.

Diana deserved her own mention as one of Larry's mitzvahs was bringing Diana into my life. I did mention that the two of them came through for me twice and put a roof over my head. That's included under mensch.

As so often happens at funerals I saw many people dear to me that I have not seen in ages. Larry brought me into his bridge world and I brought him into my fantasy baseball and spectator baseball and basketball worlds. Let me see how many friends I can remember who there:

  • Bridge World
    • Warren & Tina, and their kids
    • Marco
    • Andrew
    • Paul
    • JJ
    • Jared
    • Blair
    • Bruce
  • Fantasy Baseball World
    • Chris
    • Marc
  • Spectator Baseball and Basketball
    • Alan & Melissa
Alan spoke also. He was so Alan. He went through the sporting events they went to together and knew the exact dates of all of them. He didn't look them up, he knew them off the top of his head. Larry would have loved that. One of Larry's coworkers, who had formerly been an actor did a spot-on imitation of Larry. Larry had distinctive mannerisms and with his actor's eye he replicated them so we all instantly recognized them.

It might sound wrong to say this but it shouldn't be; this was one of the best funerals I've been to. The speakers all knew and loved Larry and it showed. There were many smiles and a few laughs. It was a celebration of Larry's life. That is in keeping with Jewish tradition. Many branches of other religions focus on the afterlife, not Judaism. It centers on how we live our lives on earth. Do Jews believe that good people get rewarded by going to heaven? It's not clear. Eschatology is not what the religion is about.

I know that people are sometimes taken aback by my open praise for them but I'll keep on giving it. I want to tell people how I feel when they are alive, not wait till they can no longer hear it.

The funeral service started at 11:30 in Forest Hills, Queens. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist in Harrison, up in Westchester. I thought I might have to cancel and I didn't want to do that. I asked on a group email if anyone could give me a ride. Andrew said he could, he lives north of Harrison so I was on his way. As Judaism centers on life not death, funeral services are not long. I got to the hospital 45 minutes early. I had missed last month's psychiatrist appointment, I didn't want to miss this one.

I saw my psychiatrist and then my therapist. I talked about the funeral to both the psychiatrist and therapist. The sessions were fruitful. The psychiatrist prescribed me a new med to help with the depression.

Both sessions ran long. I had to stop and pick up the new med at the pharmacy after the therapist. That meant I missed the bus and had to walk to the train. Good thing the rain had stopped. I neglected to mention that it poured on the way to the funeral. The rain peaked as I had to walk three blocks going from the to the . My problem walking to the train was that it was hot and sunny. If I weren't dressed for a funeral I'd have been fine.

I stayed home last night. I wanted to go to the New Bedford Folk Festival but I couldn't make it work. This is sad. Next year I'm going no matter what. I can always take a bus up and stay with Joe and Emily. Not having money does make it difficult.

The new med is making me sleepy. I had this before with a different med. I don't think I can continue on it. I'm fighting to stay awake to write this. I woke up at my usual time, went to the bathroom, got on my computer to start my morning routine, and slept the next two hours. I woke up, had breakfast and two cups of coffee and it's still a struggle to stay awake. It's amazing how a little tiny pill can take over my body and mind. I had this happen with a previous med and stopped taking it. It's not vital that I take it so I'm going to stop. The hope was that it would help some with depression and anxiety but this is not worth it. I'll call the doctor and Monday and discuss it with her. This is the first thing, not the last that I wrote but leading with it is not good writing; it's not my purpose in writing. It's far better suited as a coda than an introduction.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile July 08, 2017
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