Under pressure from the city's health department, which declined to renew its licenses, a funeral home here coughed up its tax arrears last Thursday. The payment made page one today.
Who can fail to see the economic logic? What is $43,000+ compared to expected revenues? It's piss in a snow bank. Death is a bullet-proof business. An endless cash flow -- what businessman could ask for more?
It made me think of the human longing, whether little or large, to find the activity or state of mind that was similarly bullet-proof ... that provided without any particular effort the peace and stability and ease that can seem to be missing. Love, God, money, location, profession, philosophy ... somewhere, somehow, perhaps there is a magical key that will bring meaning and peace and protection to this life...and keep on bringing it ... endlessly.
Bullet-proof. A place in which no harm or uncertainty can enter. A situation that is immune and never ends. Heaven, Nirvana, enlightenment, immortality, an American Express Gold Card, a swimming pool in the back yard or a table heaped with food.
Bullet-proof. Safe. Secure. Happy. Or perhaps just not sad, confused and uncertain.
I don't want to run one of those honey-tongued bad-news-good-news shticks. It takes too long and falls into the same bullet-proof trap. What I do think is worth the price of admission is just to take a look at the longing itself. No scoffing, no adulation -- just look. What bullet-proof answer are you looking for? And, as the political gadfly and airhead Sarah Palin might say, "How's that workin' out for you?"
The search for the bullet-proof does not need either criticism or praise. Sometimes good things evolve from the effort. Sometimes bad. Sometimes happy. Sometimes sad. But the willingness to acknowledge -- to own up to -- the search for the bullet-proof does lighten the load, I think. And let's not imagine that those who smugly dismiss the bullet-proof are any better off than those who long for it. That's just more bullet-proofing. Maybe searching for the bullet-proof is OK. Maybe searching for the bullet-proof is foolish. But ...
Either way, whose tears are these?
And either way, who is it who can't stop laughing?