Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I don't understand Woody Allen

I don't mean that in a negative nor a judgmental way, like, "I don't understand people who leave dogs in a hot car on a summer day."

I mean I just don't understand him and what he feels about life. I never took calculus and it's more like that. If you began jabbering to me about derivatives and intervals, I would look at you blankly.

I'm reading a little interview with him in Newsweek. He talks, matter-of-factly, about the existential horror of being alive. And how he has enjoyable moments, but then goes back to realizing how life is such a meaningless flicker.

I try to not be a total cornball, try to not repeat shallow, trite things that attempt to explain it all. But at heart, I am a cornball. I think that life, just living, is an extraordinary gift. The pleasure of breathing can overwhelm me.

But I don't pat myself on the back for this. Quite possibly, just like that happiness quotient they reported on a year or so ago, it was just something screwed into my DNA.

On one hand, I feel lucky, because I enjoy feeling happy, enjoy feeling gratitude. But I'm completely amenable to the concept that I'm equally unlucky. I mean, compare my body of work with Allen's. In terms of lasting accomplishment, he wins hands-down. Contentment may hold me back from greatness. (shrugs) 'S okay by me.

What makes one person one way and another, another. A question for the ages. When Little Warrior's hair began coming out in handfuls, we went outside and scattered it for the birds to make their nests. What makes one person do that, and believe in it, and another see that as treacle?

I can't speak for Mr. Allen, but for me, I can't claim to be all one way. On childhood cancer, I am as much of a black and white realist as they come. I don't think this is a trip to Holland, I don't think that God will keep her alive because she has great things to do nor take her because she's too good for this world. I don't think she agreed to this before she was born, I don't think she got this to teach us all lessons. I certainly don't think that I was chosen for this because she needed someone special. I don't believe it happened for a reason. Period.

But still, that inner whatever is there. And I find joy in being together with her, I find beauty in all the people I meet on this leg of our journey. And even when she was first diagnosed, at 7 months old, I realized that even if she didn't live much past that, it was worth it. Even at 7 months, it was a gift for her to be born. For us, and for her.

Woody Allen says he "agrees with Sophocles' suggestion that to never have been born may be the greatest boon."

No judgment. No criticism. But man, I can't understand that at all. And unlike calculus, I don't think study would change that.


ms. kitty said...

Me either, LE. Does not compute.

goodwolve said...

I totally get him... that whole idea of having to cut the banana a certain way because a little part of him believes in fate/faith while the rest of him is completely in the humanist/atheist world. I get that... I am that way too!

Anonymous said...

Tangentially - did you ever talk before about the thing with the hair and the birds? That's beautiful.

Lizard Eater said...

Thanks, Anon. Here's Little Warrior talking about it: